As a leader, our behavior is important. Recently I was reading 1 Timothy 4:12 for my morning devotion material, and I was amazed by the direct but necessary advice given to young leaders. It says, “let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” As I was reading this scripture I was thinking about a modern show on television called The Preachers of LA. In this show several “pastors” and “ministers” are on television talking about their life, and different beliefs. It was really sad when I heard how they were speaking to one another. One preacher even got a woman pregnant before they were married, and when he was confronted by another minister about it, he got angry and stormed away. These “preachers” are privileged to pastor sometimes thousands of people in mega churches, and yet their conduct, behavior, speech, faith, and purity may often not line up with scripture. They profess one type of lifestyle, and yet live another. We are all human, and have failures, but if you are called to be a leader in the church there are some qualifications and standards you must abide by.
As I think about leadership, and some of the qualities I want to possess as a leader, here is a list I came up with for myself.
- I want to be a person of my word. I always want to speak the truth in love.
- I refuse to gossip and be a part of conversation which will tear other people down and hurt them. I want to build rather than destroy.
- I want to connect people to God, and show them I care for both their physical and spiritual needs.
- I want to give and help a person when I can in their time of need.
- I will not allow pride to grow inside my spirit and heart. I will strive to be humble before the Lord. I will go daily to the fountain of prayer, and ask for the help and direction of God.
- I will live a life of consistency. I will live by what I teach and preach. I do not want to fall into the temptations I preach against. Help me Lord, I need your strength!
- I will not allow myself to be put on a pedestal by myself or anyone else. I am a human. I am not a hero. Jesus Christ is the hero. I am a servant. I am not in ministry for recognition or praise. I am in ministry, because God has called me to serve.
- I will believe in people. I will encourage people to grow at their pace, and will not force anyone to believe what I believe.
- I will try my best to be a good leader who cares for people, and wants to see others succeed.
- I will be available for pastoral care for people when they need God’s strength, encouragement, love, and hope. I will live incarnational ministry, and strive to have those around me see the love of Jesus Christ in my life.
It is easy to become arrogant and sassy. It is easy to believe you are “all that and a bag of chips,” but the truth is we are all servants of Jesus Christ and should live our lives according to that calling. If all you want to do is stand up in pulpits and become famous, do it somewhere else, because that is not what ministry is about. If you want to wear glittery clothes and spend all your time looking the best instead of worrying about your inside heart and being, then become a fashion designer instead. Ministry is living with people in their hurts and failures, and helping them to see the love of Jesus Christ. Ministry and leadership are about serving others.
I often run into people who have been hurt by leaders. I find people who are bitter, angry, and believe church leaders are hypocrites. Some leaders have not lived what they have preached and taught. Christian leaders should not be perceived as hypocrites. We have a calling from God to first make our behavior right. Change always starts inwardly, and then grows outwardly. I will change myself before I look at someone else. Please, if you are a leader, think about your behavior. People are watching. People are learning. Please do not hurt people, because you are attempting to fill your own personal needs and wants. Pray for strength from God, and pray God will reveal the motives of your heart and spirit to you. Let our desires be God’s desires, and let our heart intentions be holy and acceptable unto God.
Copyright 2014 Crystal Schmalz Ministries