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The greatest author on the subject of leadership is God. I appreciate and respect many authors who write on the subject of leadership, but the great truth and wisdom ultimately comes from God.

Here’s one of my favorite passages:
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.  

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:1-7)
6 Things God Said:
Lead because you are willing. (Vs. 2)
Local church leadership is a get to, not have to. God presents each of us with the privilege to lead and that leadership is an honor. It’s never forced.

The attitude of a good shepherd is one who cares for the flock, watching out for their best interests.

Serve because you are eager. (Vs. 2)
Not only are you willing, but you are filled with passion to serve. It’s good to be fired up because you are new in a position of leadership, but enthusiasm is the standard that God places on us who lead for the duration of our service. Servant leaders are enthusiastic to serve others and find joy in selfless giving.

Steward your authority well. (Vs. 3)
In more than one passage, the issue of “not lording it over” those you lead is made clear. God gives you authority. He first grants authority to His Son, and then Jesus transfers that authority to His disciples. Authority was never meant to make the leader great, the purpose is to make the Kingdom great.

Lead by example. (Vs. 3)
Godly character leads the way.
  • Poor leadership says “do what I say“.
  • Good leadership says “do as I do“.
  • Great leadership says “let’s do this together“!
People really do follow the leader, so the way we lead our lives matters. Perfection isn’t the goal, but genuinely patterning after the life of Jesus is our high calling and responsibility.

Embrace humility. (Vs. 5-6)
Jesus set the example for us. He humbled Himself by taking on the nature of a servant. He lowered himself to human form and in time God lifted Him up. If we are honest, it’s difficult to consistently put others first, to treat them as more important than ourselves, but this is the great challenge God gives us.

Leave your anxieties in your prayer room. (Vs. 7)
Church leadership carries with it significant challenges and problems. These things can cause you to worry or be anxious. As leaders we’re human, these pressures can wear us down. The good news is that we can take them to God and trust Him to carry them. We can leave them in the room where we pray!

This article is used by permission from Dr. Dan Reiland's free monthly e-newsletter
The Pastor's Coach available at

Author Biography

Dan Reiland
Web site: 12 Stone Church
Dan Reiland is Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY.

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