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Biblical Spiritual Leadership : Church Elders - Some Principles

taken from Sharpening the Focus of the Church by Gene Getz

What makes one a qualified spiritual leader?

  • Appoint qualified leaders : To assist the church in its spiritual growth it is necessary to appoint spiritually qualified people to lead & feed the church. They are selected on the basis of spiritual qualifications, not necessarily talents - 1 Tim. 3, Titus 1. Being a good speaker or successful businessman is not a requirement to be in spiritual leadership.
  • Spiritual leaders must function as managers/stewards and pastors and not merely as administrators and decision makers ( though there is administration & decision making of course ). This leader is a shepherd of God's flock. They must know the word of God & share it. They do not lord it over. 1 Pet 5:2,3; Acts 20:28
  • They ( spiritual leaders ) must maintain priorities & delegate to other qualified people. Acts 6:2,4
  • They must know the sheep & spend time with them. It is a good idea that elders meet with their assigned group at least every other month for sharing, fellowship, encouragement from the word, etc. - in a home setting - John 10, Acts 2
  • They should encourage input from the flock. Communication is very important - Acts 15

A good leader knows the way, goes the way, shows the way.

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MORE ON LEADERSHIP - ( author unknown ) Compare with the above.

The below is based on teachings in management classes in the university setting.

No organization USUALLY rises above the quality of its leadership. Because leadership is a position that must be earned day in and day out, there are important personal choices that both new and experienced leaders must make on a regular basis. Effective leaders are, first and foremost, effective people.

Personal ethics can't be separated from professional ethics. Therefore, the character of the leader is essential. The following list of ten characteristics is a valuable guide for leadership. In addition, it results in a quality life.

1. A high standard of personal ethics leads the list. Honest Abe Lincoln, who walked miles to return a customer's change, is a classic example of how personal ethics are reflected in professional conduct. Decisions made under pressure and/or temptation separate the great ones from the impostors.

2. High energy. Great leaders are not exhausted by dealing with petty issues. These people know right from wrong as well as the difference between what's truly important and what's merely interesting.

3. The ability to work priorities shares equal importance with setting priorities. Many brilliant priority lists end up in the landfill of life. The difference between setting priorities and working them through is the difference between a dreamer and a doer.

4. Courage. The willingness to take risks and accept responsibility for the outcome is a consistent quality among effective leaders. Either you or your fears will control everything you do. An organization will be no bolder than the leader.

5. Committed and dedicated hard working leaders will eventually develop dedicated and hard working organizations regardless of who they start with or the experience they bring to the job.

6. Unorthodox leaders have an urge to create and don't have the patience to wait for a phone to ring before acting. Effective leaders are innovators who bore easily and prefer shaping tomorrow to repeating yesterday.

7. Great leaders have the goal orientation to make tough decisions. Goal orientation produces a drive and energy that shield us from the pain of the task. Keeping an organization focused increases efficiency.

8. Inspired enthusiasm is like the pilot light on the oven. Genuine enthusiasm is contagious. People look to their leaders for enthusiasm. The inspiration level of the organization is directly proportionate to the enthusiasm of the leader--be it high or low.

9. Level-headed people make realistic leaders who respond to problems rather than simply react. A leader who can stay cool under pressure inspires confidence among those in the organization and empowers them to do the same.

10. The desire to help others succeed is the mark of a truly great leader. Synergy is created when a leader truly invests his or her efforts in the success of others. Zig Ziglar says it like this, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care about them." Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.
Whether you're trying to increase your own effectiveness as a leader or are trying to develop leadership talent within your organization, keep studying the characteristics of those you consider to be great leaders.

Remember that leadership is an art, not a science, and the difference between a genuinely effective leader and a short-term motivator can be found in the personal decisions an individual makes when choosing how to live his or her life. Long-term commitment to the principles described above will produce an effective leader and, over time, an inspired organization.

by Dave Smith, D.Min.
Spring, TX