“I want to serve God as the preacher or pastor of a local church,” someone asks. “Do you have any suggestions for my personal and professional goals?”
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Following are ten traits of successful Christian leaders — not necessarily “success” as the world measures it — which I have adapted from a “want list” I drafted for our congregation several years ago in a search for a preaching minister. The scripturally “successful” Christian leader is an individual who:
1. Evidences a warm personal commitment to Jesus Christ as living Savior and Lord.
2. Desires to follow the Holy Spirit, by submission to Scripture as authoritative canon and by prayerfully seeking ongoing divine guidance from the Holy Spirit with the leadership team and the whole church.
3. Strives to grow personally and to be receptive to others’ points of view.
4. (If a preacher or teacher:) Delivers consistently excellent sermons or lessons that relate biblical truth to contemporary life.
5. Devotes one’s self to building strong marriages and families, beginning with the one at home (if married).
6. Inspires and motivates others to daily, active discipleship and sharing the faith.
7. Demonstrates compassion and sensitivity to human needs, in counseling and in daily life.
8. (If a preacher or teacher:) Reflects reverent scholarship in speaking and writing, but remembers that the goal of study is a changed life.
9. Perceives one’s self and the congregation as belonging first to the universal Christian church, with an appropriate appreciation for one’s own particular heritage or tradition as a part (but only a part) of the larger body of Christ.
10. Combines strong administrative skills with an ability to work collegially with a leadership team, staff and volunteers.