There are many barriers that exist for ministries and leaders around the world. Some of the more well-known barriers are what we can see: persecution, lack of access to the Bible, lack of theological training, not enough resources. Then, there are barriers that we don’t see on the surface. Barriers like relationships within the family and within church. The ability to present sound doctrine, or the understanding of how to build up others in the church to become a multiplier of the Word. These are all essential in our mission of helping ministry leaders nurture Gospel transformation in their communities—by addressing barriers that we can see, and ones that we cannot.
When we work with ministry leaders, our first priority is on the heart of the leader. Often, this is the first obstacle to overcome when nurturing Gospel transformation. Through educational trainings, we are able to work alongside these leaders and offer relevant coaching, and technological tools and other resources to help them advance in their relationship with Christ—so that they may be more effective in their ministry.
These indicators are not only ones that we look for in those that we work with, but also pointed directly at our own hearts. As a ministry, we seek to address these areas of our lives as much as we desire to help the body of Christ do the same. We believe that in building up these areas, God is using leaders in a powerful way to bring about transformation within communities.
Eight Indicators of Biblical Leadership:
1. Spirituality: While observing the life of the leader, we ask—what does their devotional life look like? Do they incorporate daily spiritual disciplines (such as frequent prayer, reading of the word, worship)? Has there been pure and evident dependence on the Lord during difficult situations? The answers to these questions tell us about the depth and maturity of the spiritual life of the leader. (Galatians 5: 22-23, 1 Corinthians 13, John 14:27, Philippians 4: 7, John 17:21).
2. Character: To bring consistency into all aspects of life—not just in the areas that seem like upfront ministry. This involves observing the actions and posture of the leader in their emotional, spiritual, physical, sexual, social, family, economic, work, and ministerial life. Do the actions and words of the leader submit to the Creator in all areas of their life? Are they a servant of Christ in whom they draw strength as a leader? (Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 40:31, 2 Corinthians 3: 2, Romans 12:3).
3. Formation: For all Christians this is an ongoing process of being (who we are) and becoming (who Christ is forming us to be). This is God transforming our lives, and how we respond and seek out His purposes. This active part of ministry looks different for every individual, but is similar in that it produces fruit. Some activities might include: being involved in an accountability group, taking theological trainings, hosting a Bible study, or equipping others with training and resources. (1 Timothy 3:6, Luke 6:43-45, John 15:8, James 3:1).
4. Multiplication: Encouraging and building up of other leaders to become stewards of Christ. It is important for leaders to have a solid following of disciples whom they are mentoring, and who are in turn, mentoring others. Through effective mentoring and discipleship of others we desire to see a spirit-led transformation in the lives of those being taught, in the lives of those they teach (the multiplication effect). (1 Corinthians 3: 9; 15:10, 2 Timothy 2: 2, Rev. 7: 9).
5. Relationships: The importance of relationships is a clear indicator of Gospel transformation in the life of a leader. There are several elements within the Bible that show us what healthy relationships look like from being faithful in marriage, to balancing family, ministry, and work. A leader should show that he or she recognizes the will of the Lord to be faithful, to bring about reconciliation, to be a servant to others, to have a good testimony of character, to speak the truth, to express love, etc. (Romans 12: 3, John 13:35, Galatians 5: 14-15, Matthew 5: 9, Romans 13: 1).
6. Purpose and Call: Ability to give an account for the calling God has placed on the heart. Paul reminds us to always be ready to give an account of our faith (1 Peter 3:15) and when this is practiced, we are able to recognize the motivations of the heart. We can also recognize the different gifts and abilities God has given to every leader. (Hebrews 12: 1-2, Proverbs 16: 9, Ephesians 4: 11-14).
7. Service: Modeling after Jesus himself, we are called to serve others. Leadership should never be mistook for power—but that of humble service to God’s people. Service also means the willingness to collaborate with others to enforce the body of Christ. Servant-lead leadership is placed before self and expects nothing in return. (Luke 22:27, Philippians 2:4).
8. Stewardship: Indications that the leader is shepherding the resources that God has entrusted to them to the best of their ability. What accountability do they have within their personal lives, and the lives of those in the organization? Is the leader transparent in their use of resources? (1 Peter 2:13-14, Proverbs 1:19).
While this is certainly not an extensive list, we have found that these are fundamental areas in life that need Gospel transformation as a leader develops. By reflecting on the ultimate and greatest leader of all, Jesus, we have the guidance that we need to transform the way we live, work, disciple, and proclaim the love of Christ.