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Who Will Lead Us


The Easter Convention of Church Leadership of the Good News Bible Church Tamale area..


I have an interesting activity for you to do. Look at 1 Timothy 2 and Titus 1.


On a piece of paper, draw three columns.

The heading of the first is Knowledge.

Label the second column with the word Skills.

Now let’s call the third one Character.


Go through those two Bible passages and put leadership qualification into one of the columns. Really, if you have a couple of minutes, do it. Go ahead. I can wait. It is worth you doing to exercise to feel the full effect. I will give you three minutes.


On two, soon to be three continents, I have led pastors and church leaders in this exercise. In every instance, I am met with shock. Their shock surprises me. On my own placement, every single qualification is a character trait. This is because the phrase, “able to teach”, is, according to John MacArthur, the word “Teachable Teacher” in the Greek. The emphasis is on teach-ability, not ability to teach. Any way you categorized yours, I am sure the vast majority are in the character column.


Now, what do we look for in our churches and missionaries when it comes to leadership? We want knowledge. They need to have a Bible degree and in most cases an advanced degree in some Bible as well. A Master’s is acceptable but a PhD is divine. Give us someone who knows how to parse a verb! Take a minute and apply this to church planting in rural, Northern Ghana. How much knowledge can our new church pastor have? Have to have? What if no one in the village can read?


We also look to some skill set. What do they know? What can they do? How experienced are they in the pastorate or organizational leadership? Once again, break out of your North American bubble....how does this work in an effort to reach converts from animist villages and plant churches in areas where 98% of the population is not Christian?


The question we should ask is “Who are they and what are they like?” If they are people of character and Christ-likeness, then their teachable and humble attitude will let them learn what they do not know but need to, and develop any skillset they lack. A man can learn to preach, but how does he treat his children? That says more about him than any three point sermon. The man I disciple in the village might not have a degree from grade school, or any experience in church leadership since there has never been a church, but if he loves Jesus and will follow the Holy Spirit, he is the man for this time and place.


Leadership is about character. In the bottom line, it is because true character is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Wisdom, patience, kindness, generosity, goodness, righteousness, love, knowledge, faith, mercy and other such things are not taught. They are fruit the Holy Spirit bears in us as we abide in Christ. He gives us fruit. The Holy Spirit transforms us into the Image of the Son as we grow. Our church leaders do not need to be successful businessmen, although most of the time these are who we choose. They do not need to be able to teach systematic theology. They need to be like Jesus. They need to follow Him. We see this in their character.


Practically speaking, character is what defines a leader's integrity. Integrity is the foundation of trust, and trust is crucial for effective leadership. Leaders who have strong character are honest, ethical, and do the right thing, even when it's difficult. This earns the trust and respect of those we try to reach with God’s love.


Secondly, character helps missionaries and church leaders make better decisions. Leaders with strong character have a clear set of values that guide their decision-making. They make decisions based on what is right, fair, and ethical, rather than what is expedient or personally advantageous. Their hearts and lives prove they are in sync with the Holy Spirit and led by Him. This leads to better decision-making, and the ability to inspire and motivate the team with a clear vision of what is important.


Thirdly, character is crucial for building strong relationships. Great leaders recognize that leadership is about people, and building strong relationships is essential to effective leadership. Leaders with strong character are empathetic, respectful, and communicate clearly, which leads to trust, collaboration, and a positive work environment. People in our ministry field do not care how much we know until they know how much we care.


Finally, character inspires others to follow. People are drawn to leaders who are authentic, genuine, and consistent in their behavior. Leaders and missionaries with strong character inspire and motivate their team members to become better versions of themselves, and to strive for excellence in their work. I tell church leadership this.


A leader is a follower being followed.


Say that again. A leader is a follower being followed. I am to follow Christ and be led by the Holy Spirit. As I do that, I will grow into His likeness more and more. A benefit of this in church leadership is those following us, by default since we follow Christ, are also following Him. We go from being followed to stepping out of the way and let them be first in line behind Jesus as others follow them.


In conclusion, the importance of character in leadership cannot be overstated. Leaders who possess Christlike character are who we need. Give me a Spirit-filled and Spirit led person with no diploma over an arrogant PhD holding theologian any day of the week.


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