by Rev. James Wong
There are distinctive characteristics for church leadership. Last week we look at three fundamental principles of church leadership:
1. A leader must first of all be a follower of Jesus Christ.
2. A leader’s motive is to serve and give like Jesus did.
3. A leader must have a submissive spirit.
This week we look at the following additional characteristics for church leadership.
4. A leader must be obedient to God. This is how Hebrews 5:8 speaks about the obedience of Jesus Christ, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” The ultimate purpose of Christian leadership is to serve God, therefore the leader must be obedient to the call and directives given by God. Christ was obedient to God’s will. However, it is so easy to claim that one is obedient to God but has no accommodation for the institutionalized structure of the church. Obedience to God is just one side of the coin.
5. A leader must also learn to be obedient to those in higher authority. Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” A leader must be obedient to God and those above him before he expects the obedience of those who work under him.
6. A leader must be an example to others in his lifestyle. Paul talked about the way he lived his life in Acts 20:33-35, “I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" The words of a leader must be supported by his life. Leadership by example is more effective than mere speeches. He must not only preach his sermon but live his sermon.
For example, in many instances in the Bible Jesus taught about forgiveness and he died praying for the forgiveness of his persecutor (Luke 23:34). He did not only teach the truth of forgiveness but lived it. He set a clear example of what it means to forgive.