Looking for Leaders
Looking for Servant Leaders
by David Sexton
“I want to get involved. Where can
I serve? What can I do to help?”
These are words every pastor and church planter love to hear. One of the greatest needs of every church is to develop Christian leaders. John Piper defines spiritual leadership as “knowing where God wants people to be and taking the initiative to use God’s methods to get them there in reliance on God’s power.”
He went on to write, “Spiritual leadership is aimed, not so much at directing people as it is at changing people. If we would be the kind of leaders we ought to be, we must make it our aim to develop persons rather than dictate plans. You can get people to do what you want, but if they don’t change in their heart, you have not led them spiritually. You have not taken them to where God wants them to be.”
What kind of leaders do we need in our churches?
Visionary Leaders. It is important to build leaders who have a clear vision of what God wants to do. Vision is essential to leadership. How does a person develop vision? In 1 Samuel 17:29, David said, “What have I now done? Is there not a cause?” He understood that God’s command had become his cause.
Vision grows out of a strong passion for the cause that has captured heart and mind. The problem in many churches today is that people do not have a driving passion to do what God wants them to do—to bring others to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Nearly everything a leader does hinges on the type of vision he has. If his vision is small, so will be his results and his followers. Winston Churchill once said, “If you are doing big things, you attract big men. If you are doing little things, you attract little men. Little men usually cause trouble.” Too often people limit their own potential. They think small. They are afraid of taking a risk. Scottish scientist and evangelist Henry Drummond once said, “Unless a man undertakes more than he possibly can do, he will never do all he can do.”
Leaders With Character. Character is what you are in the dark when nobody is watching. Today, the Church needs leaders who are trustworthy, who are self-starters and not lazy. A self-starter gets things going in three ways:
Vision – He sees what needs to be done.
Enthusiasm – He wants to do it with passion and conviction.
Selflessness – He takes the first step to get it done.
Humble Leaders. We also need leaders with true humility that lead not only by example but also by service. The greatest example of servant leadership is the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 20:26-28). A true servant leader looks to give, not to get. Humble leadership is not “self-serving” but “selfless service.” Humble leaders are motivated by their love for people, not their desire to be great.
How do we build leaders in our churches?
Leaders are made, not born. When developing leaders, we cannot drive them; we must lead them. And we can only lead someone as far as we have gone ourselves.
We must be willing to pay the price of fatigue to build leaders. It takes time, energy, prayer, and hard work to build solid, spiritual leaders. A church can do many things to help build leaders, whether through teaching leadership classes or one-on-one mentorship.
At CrossPointe, we recently implemented the Lay Shepherd Program, which develops solid, spiritual leaders into “Lay Shepherds.” Each Lay Shepherd helps disciple and mentor several families or individuals. Everyone at CrossPointe, including visitors, is assigned to one of these leaders. The leaders are, in turn, responsible to make sure those families attend church faithfully by calling or visiting them if they miss two Sundays in a row. They keep up with their spiritual and physical needs and partner with them for prayer and accountability.
This ministry will help us to make sure that nobody “falls through the cracks” as long as these leaders fulfill their responsibilities. Remember, for every man or woman who has the ability to lead, there are a thousand men and women waiting to be led.
About the Writer: David Sexton is a home missionary planting a church in Suffolk, Virginia. Learn more at http://crosspointesuffolk.com.