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About Church Leadership - Good Leaders

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Good Leaders

Throughout the history of God's people, there have been thousands and thousands of leaders. Some however, have set themselves apart as particularly good leaders. What qualities made them so? When we look at the lives of good leaders, what stands out about their abilities which make them the kinds of leaders who are helpful to the cause of God?

If we look at the great leaders of the Bible, sooner or later we will come to rest at the story of David, for among God's leaders, he has few equals. That a lowly shepherd boy could become not only king of God's people, but one of the greatest kings in all of history speaks to the fact that the characteristics of God's leaders may be somewhat different from what man looks for in a leader. In fact, God says as much in his instruction to Samuel. When David's older brother Eliab appears before Samuel, he thinks, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him" (1 Sam. 16:6). But the Lord tells him, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (v. 7). An examination of David's life will reveal what God saw in his heart that made him a good leader.

Good leaders are concerned about what God says. Early on in his leadership of a band of fighting men, David prepares to go into battle against the Philistines by "inquiring of the Lord" (1 Sam. 23:2). In fact, when God tells him to attack, his men are afraid, but David "inquired of the Lord once more" (v. 4). David did not want to be found fighting against the wishes of God, so he sought God's word. Again and again, the scriptures tell us that David "inquired of the Lord" (1 Sam. 30:8; 2 Sam. 2:1; 5:19, 23; 21:1). The point is that David wanted to do God's will, so he took care to discover that will before he acted. A good leader will be characterized by careful study of God's word, in order to determine what His will should be.

Good leaders admit and correct their mistakes. David, in his actions with Bathsheba and against Uriah, made a horrible mistake. His sin is one of the most heinous in all of scripture, involving adultery, treachery and murder. David is made to see this through the parable of Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 12:1-4), and he responds with fury. When Nathan tells David, "You are the man!" (v. 7), David's grief is heavy. He responds with a heartfelt confession: "I have sinned against the Lord" (v. 13). Further, he writes the 51st Psalm, with its beautiful words of repentance and petition for a clean heart and deliverance. Good leaders, do not deny their mistakes, nor do they shift blame to others, but they accept them and work to correct them. Only a man like this is fit to lead God's people.

Good leaders do what is right even when it goes against their wishes. Shortly after David became king, he determined that he would build a house for the Lord (2 Sam. 7). The prophet Nathan comes with word from God that David should not build. Instead, God tells David that his descendant will build the temple. David was king, and kings are not accustomed to being told, "No!" He could have reacted with anger and set about building the temple anyway. He could have pouted and turned away from God. Instead, David recognizes that God's way is best, and he begins to collect materials for his son to build the house of God. How many times have otherwise good leaders fallen because of their inability to put God's wishes ahead of their own. Too many digressions have been "justified" by saying, "It's a good work." Certainly, building the house of God was a "good work," but God insisted that it was not a good work for David. David accepted God's word ahead of his own wishes.

Good leaders are not easy to find, but if we look at a man's life and examine his willingness to obey God and not himself, we make a good start toward finding good leaders. When a man is humble enough to admit his errors, accept God's plan for doing things, and put his personal desires aside, he will be the kind of leader who can capably lead God's people.

Last Updated ( Friday, 21 January 2011 09:12 )