Ten Things Great Church Leaders Possess

13 Nov

1. A heart renewed and empowered by the Spirit

Ministry flows out of who we are. God may choose to use a seriously flawed leader for a specific amount of time, but without a strong character foundation, the weight of ministry will crush that leader. Great leaders need to be renewed by the Leader within the leader, the Holy Spirit. This renewal includes emotional health and a balance between work and family.

2. A mind focused on the vision and values of the local church

Great leaders are able to work with the end in mind. They understand the unique purpose and identity of their church and are able to serve today with tomorrow in mind. Great leaders have the minds wrapped around the real vision and values of the church, not just the ones written down.

3. An eye for potential leaders who need mentoring

The number one job of ministry leaders is to raise up more leaders. Growth in a local church requires newness, new ministries, new venues, new strategies, and new methodology. Newness requires leadership. Jesus modeled this for us. He did not just conduct a ministry of preaching, teaching, healing, and community building; he worked to mentor leaders through whom he could accomplish his world-wide ministry.

4. An ear to listen to others on the team, to those whom the leader is in submission to, and to those the leader serves

Leaders who talk more and listen less run the risk of falling into the trap of ego-centric self-sufficiency. They also isolate themselves from those they are trying to serve. Leaders are communicators and the clearest communicators tend to become leaders. No doubt about it. But leaders need to be reminded that communication is about sending and receiving, speaking and listening.

5. A hand that can guide the process of implementation

Great ideas can inspire and motivate, but moving people towards the church’s vision and calling requires a plan that can be executed and implemented into the life of the local church. Great leaders do not do all the implementing; they guide the process. They see it through towards full implementation and they evaluate it periodically.

6. A love for God and people

Oh yeah, and by the way, great church leaders should have a real love for God and his people. Maybe this one should be higher up on the list? It is easy for leaders to love the spotlight and to love the thrill of success, all of which will choke the life of God out of soul of a church. Love for God and his people can be the one and only motivation for the service of leadership in the church. Any other motive leads to idolatry.

7. A humble desire to continue to learn and grow

Leaders who think they know it all need to come to this not-so-subtle revelation: They don’t! Great leaders recognized that the more they know about God and life in the church, the more they find that they don’t know. Great leaders learn from those around them include those from other Christian traditions…even “liberals.”

8. A self-awareness of one’s strengths and the willingness to delegate one’s weaknesses

Without become neurotic or self-obsessed, great leaders conduct regular (prayerful) personal inventories of their strengths and weaknesses. They continually review their heart, mind, conscience, motivations, attitudes, and actions. Great leaders understand their unique calling and pour their energies into that uniqueness while delegating their weaknesses to others more qualified.

9. A commitment to do less and empower others to do more within a team

A great leader emerges from a great team. A dynamic solo leader is rare and can too easily lead people into the cult of personality. Can somebody say “cult leader”? Great leaders work to empower, encourage, and equip the leaders around them by focusing more on the needs of the team rather than their individual needs.

10. A systematic approach to leadership accountability to ensure tasks are completed

Great leaders know their own fallibility and create specific systems of accountability to keep the team on task.


One day, by God’s grace, I really want to be a great leader.

What would you add to this list?


Posted by on November 13, 2009 in Ministry



2 responses to “Ten Things Great Church Leaders Possess

  1. Jerry Rathel

    November 16, 2009 at 5:39 am

    Great stuff Derek, Keep writing. Light always helps the path to be clearly found. The more our leaders find the clear path – the fewer fall in the ditch.

    • derekvreeland

      November 16, 2009 at 11:14 pm

      Thanks Jerry!


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