The ability to lead is a characteristic that is missing in many churches today. When asked what is a leader, most people will give answers like; someone in authority, someone that sets the course, or makes the decisions. While all of these should help describe a leader, they are not the core qualities the Bible uses to define Godly leaders.
You may think that the Bible does not have much to say on this topic, but if the Bible is understood correctly, it is easy to see that the whole book is a manual on leadership written by the best leader of them all; God the father. All throughout scripture we are given examples of both good and bad leaders, along with the consequences for each. If you are thinking, ďWell I am just a follower, not a leaderĒ Think again! If you are a Christian you are called to be a leader. The great commission tells us to go unto all the world making disciples. This is a call to leadership. Ask yourself; How many people am I leading to Christ? I donít mean just saying the sinnerís prayer, but how many are you actually showing how to be like Christ through your own action?
Websterís dictionary defines a leader as one of authority or influence. One of the best examples of good and bad leadership in the Bible is King Saul and David. Saul was all about the authority, but failed to see the importance of the influence. Because of this, Saul exalted himself too high and God stripped him of his leadership role. On the other hand, David knew what it meant to serve. He was not afraid to extend himself just to help others. A look at Davidís life brings out one of the most important characteristics of a good leader; Leaders develop other leaders.
The examples David lived out illustrated to his son Solomon how to be a good leader. You see this when Solomon asked God for wisdom. It was not for wisdom just to know everything. It was wisdom to lead the people of Israel. This shows that true leadership starts with a servantís heart. Solomon wanted to serve the people of God to the best of his ability. However, as you follow Solomonís life you see that he did not remember one very important thing about leadership; responsibility.
When you are a leader you have an increased responsibility for those you influence. True Godly leaders understand that the importance of influence and responsibility for that influence far outweighs any authority that comes from leadership. Those that seek leadership roles for the authority are setting themselves up for a hard fall.
In the New Testament we get a glimpse at a perfect leader in Jesus Christ. He understood the importance of developing disciples. His whole ministry was put on display for them so that they could learn to be leaders themselves. Jesus also illustrated the importance of servant hood in leadership. He washed the feet of his disciples as a way of demonstrating his commitment to them, and told them to do the same. As followers of Christ we are called to become leaders that develop other leaders all the while leading them to Christ.