Biblical Guidelines for Leaders

Biblical Leadership Principles that you can use today

Biblical Leadership Principles that you can use today

photo by Extra Medium

I was reading timothy the other day and I noticed some great information Paul had written about church leaders and some of the guidelines for choosing them. So here I want to look over them, because I think they hold a powerful and convicting message for many today.

Let’s begin by looking at 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Here is the passage below:

1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”

Now, there is a lot being said in these verses, so let us go back and look for the key points. Paul begins in verse two by saying that an overseer or church leader must be above reproach. That alone is powerful. Are you, as a leader, living your life so that you are above reproach from those around you?

Paul continues in verse two by listing a few characteristics. Go back and reread them and then think about what your life looks like. I know I need to work on a few of these. Are there any characteristics of leaders listed here that God is impressing on you that need to be changed in your life?

In verse three Paul is basically saying that a church leader should not have any addictions, whether to money, alcohol, or anything in this world. Further along in verse four Paul also says that a leader should manage their family well first, because if they cannot even manage their family, how can they oversee a church? What does your family look like? Are your family affairs in order? When we have family problems, it distracts us and takes our attention away from other activities such as overseeing a church. So Paul is trying to say that to avoid a split attention, make sure your family is in good order before you start taking on leadership roles in a church.  Also as an example to others you should be leading your family well.  If you cannot lead a small group like a family it will be hard to lead a larger group like a church.

About a year ago Buddy preached a sermon on Father’s day where he created a family from the audience.  A father a wife and two kids.  He was referring to the fact that many men are comfortable leading a group of 10 or 20 or more people at work but these same men walk into their homes are intimidated to lead the family spiritually.  Without any preparation he had the father read a small devotional, ask some questions of his family regarding how the passage applied to their lives and pray.  Many people mentioned how it challenged them that leading your family spiritually can be easier than one might think if they have not been in the practice of doing it.

Finally, in verse seven, Paul says that a church overseer must have a good reputation with outsiders. Paul says this because the overseer is basically the figurehead, or at least one of them, for the entire church, so if they have a bad reputation with outsiders, then the outsiders will assume the rest of the church has a bad reputation.

These are some of the key points from verses 1-7 of 1 Timothy 3.  You might want to go and read the whole chapter because there is so much more there that God has for us as leaders.

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Effective Leaders Must First Learn to Follow Well

There are times to lead, but there are also times to Follow. Know when you need to follow someone else.

There are times to lead, but there are also times to Follow. Know when you need to follow someone else.

photo by mctheriot

To become a great leader you must first learn to follow well.  Even if the person that God has placed in leadership above you is a poor leader, you must honor them.  In every situation you go through it can be used to soften your heart and draw you closer to God or it can be used to harden your heart.  Each situation is a new test and many times it’s harder than the one before.

When you are led by someone else, and take the time to learn from them, you become a much wiser person and leader. All too many leaders today think that they have arrived and do not need to continue learning, but as I talked about in my video series in January, one of the greatest leadership assassins is plateauing.  (You can check out that series here:

http://leadernexus.com/2009/01/


To avoid this, make it a point to always learn, to always take advice, and to always be open to suggestions. As you grow in your leadership people are less likely to offer negative feedback to your unsolicated.  You need to be asking for it if you want to grow.  one of the things that set Ganges Khan apart as a leader was that he was one of the first to demand positive and negative updates from those under his command.  Though it seems to go without question that you can be a better leader with honest feedback in a field of battle we often do not ask for it in our organizations.

Also be sure to make observations of others as they lead.  What works well?  What encourages people to do their best?  What causes people to see the image of God within them?

We have all been in situations where we have had to serve under bad leaders.  While those times are difficult to be sure, God often uses those times to strengthen our character.  Think of David with Saul.  Hopefully your boss or leader that you have to follow hasn’t tried to murder you or sent an army after you to take your life.  Through that situation David grew in character as he learned more deeply to trust the Lord with his life.


David wasn’t a perfect leader to be sure.  In fact, he did not even finish strong.  Most leaders do not.  How can you follow today to help you lead well and finish strong tomorrow.

Take Action

Photo Credit Canale66

Everything that has been a success in my life has come from taking action. I have a friend who is a teacher that inherited a room with a bunch of motivational posters around the room one of which is Wayne Gretzky’s “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” While it’s definitely a little cheesy and over used (and I have just added to it’s over use J ) There is truth in that nugget.

All the successful people I have known take action.

If you want to be successful in relationship you:

Call up friends and invite them to dinner

You make amends or heal things as quickly as possible.

You are real.

You take action to grow the relationship.

If you want to be successful in parenting:

You learn all you can about being a great parent from other parents and books

You spend time leaning into your kids lives.

You structure your life so that you have time to be with your kids.

You spend more of your time doing the things that help grow your relationship

If you want to have a successful relationship with God:

You develop a loving relationship with him.

You take the message of Ecclesiastes to heart.

“Fear God and Keep his commandments for this is the whole of man.”

You put feet to your faith. In other words your faith works itself out in action.

If you want to be successful in business:

You take action towards your desired outcome.

You move forward doing things that will result in providing services to others.

You multiply your chances of success when you spend each day working on one project instead of working on many different projects at once.

Action + Focus is the key to freedom.

You will only experience the freedom you are looking for from business if you take action.

If you want to be successful in getting in shape.

You take action to change your diet.

You increase your physical activity.

You might have to make lifestyle changes so that you have the energy to exercise and put yourself in places where it is easy to eat right.

What are in your life do you want to grow more successful in today?

What is one step you can take that will move you closer to your goal?

Why are you still reading? Go do it. :-)

George Lowden

I took a trip to Ireland with a bunch of youth workers in February and it was a great time. I expected to be inspired by the life of faith that Patrick lived. Interestingly I think it was the life of faith lived by George Lowden that was equally as inspiring. He was going to go into missions with YWAM as a young man but his father and a WYAM missionary encouraged him not to. At the age of 23 he began making gutairs without books or the internet to tell him what to do. He would simply do what was within his power to do and pray to God to help him make great gutairs. His prayers were answered and he was able to make awesome gutairs. After just four years became world famous making accustic gutairs for some of the biggest names in the music industry. It was cool to see the heart of a missionary in a gutair maker. George Lowden was an inspiration to me of the passion that every Christ follower should have to do great work and honor their God.

So if you have an extra $5000 or $10,000 laying around and want to buy a gutair I know a great place to get one. They’ll even let you tour the factory. :-) You might even be inspired to more fully give your life to Christ in the process.