The mission of spiritual leadership is the transformation of God’s people into the likeness of Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:7-16). It is not to construct buildings, create programs, attract crowds or to build an institution. Further, the transformation of human beings is a supernatural result, which cannot be achieved through mere human planning or power. It requires supernatural means, in the form of grace-gifts bestowed on every member of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:27-31). And the method of spiritual leadership is lowly service, performed in the meekness of Christ, in the power of God and to his glory (Mark 10:42-45; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
For all these reasons, we dare not focus on any human marker of worldly success — whether academic, business, professional or financial — when selecting leaders for the church of God. Such fleshly qualifications contribute nothing toward spiritual leadership. Indeed, they might get in the way, insofar as they tempt leaders and followers alike to lose sight of the divine mission, means and method of spiritual leadership as revealed in Scripture.
We do not create spiritual leaders by selecting people and ordaining them to leadership roles. Instead, we look among God’s people and recognize individuals whom God has gifted for this service. Such people have a heart set on the mission of facilitating transformed lives. They rely already on the means God provides for this task — grace-gifts to be exercised in his power and to his glory. They trust the divine method of spiritual leadership, which is humble service in the footprints of Jesus himself. The people whom God has gifted for spiritual leadership are clearly recognizable — not by worldly markers of success, but by traits that identify them as intimates of the Savior, filled with his Spirit, committed to his service and devoted to his glory.