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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10 Leadership Principles from Bill Hybels

Little Ducks following their Leader

Little Ducks following their Leader

Photo by pedrosimoes7

10 Top Leadership Principles

Bill Hybels, in his book, Axiom, has collected a treasure of leadership principles he calls leadership proverbs. Here are the top ten leadership principles that can help you become a better leader.  As with all proverbs some of them may apply to your situation today and some tomorrow but it will help you to be familiar with them when you are in a leadership situation where you can call on them.

1. “The three C’s’ – Character, competency, and chemistry. When you, as a leader, are looking for team members to join your organization, you should follow the three C’s rule. First, look for and find people who have character. This is sometimes difficult to judge from one interview, so take some time to really get to know prospective team member’s character and values. Once you find people with great character, look at their competency. Can they do the tasks required? Be sure that you hire or recruit someone who can accomplish the tasks they need to do. Finally, ensure team dynamics by selecting someone who matches with the chemistry of your group. This is the most overlooked key to a good team and it is such a strong factor in good teamwork. If your new team member simply does not fit with the chemistry of your group, then you must look for someone else.

2. “First tested” – when you find someone new for a high leadership or staff position it is very important to test them in their new role. They might be a great person with all the knowledge but if you don’t test them you might be setting them up for failure with their new job. This ‘test’ is supposed to give both you and them an idea of whether or not they can complete the job successfully. If they don’t do very well, that might simply mean that they need a little training and guidance before you have them start working.

3. “DNA Carrier” – great leaders create and then pass on enthusiasm for their ideas and vision. A key role of a leader is to be the example for others to follow. So if you want people to share your values and enthusiasm, you must pass on your DNA, or core ideals. When a leader has a central focus and specific values, and then they share these with their team members and followers, it creates an entire organization that is dedicated to one objective and can achieve it that much faster.

4. “How are you doing…really?” – In our current American society it is easy to ask how someone is doing, and get the generic response of, “Fine, how are you?” You might spend an entire day with someone, asking that they be focused and turn out results, all the while not knowing they are going through some significant tragedy or event. How hard is it to build relationships with your team members by asking, ‘How are you doing, really?’ The results of developing a relationship can be wide ranging and extremely beneficial. It’s an amazing fact that when you start caring about people, they will start caring about you, what you want from them, and what they should be getting done for you.

5. “Know who’s Driving” – in any situation, any circumstance, or any event, there should always be one, and usually only one, person in charge. Hybels explains that when he starts a meeting, he always asks, “Who’s driving?” in order to assign one person the task of leading the meeting. That way, this person will keep the conversation on track, focus the group, and eliminate wasted time. This principle of ‘who’s driving’ can be applied generally so that there is always someone who is responsible for organizing and accomplishing the tasks or events at hand. Often, as a leader, you will be ‘driving’ and it might be good to clarify this occasionally. Other times, someone else will be put in charge and at that time they need to assert their leadership and position over everyone else, in order to carry out the mission.

6. “Deliver the bad news first” – many leaders will go into meetings and spend the whole time talking about the good points, and then at the very end they will blast their team members with some bad news. What happens when everyone leaves? They leave thinking about the bad news, feeling unsatisfied or guilty. Instead, always make it a point to give the bad news first. Give adequate time, address it clearly, and then move on. Then, when you share the best news last, people will leave feeling motivated and excited.

7. “Just say it” – often, people think that they must say things nicely, that they shouldn’t put things bluntly, or they will be judged for being rude or offensive. Instead they waste time by beating around the bush trying to avoid being impolite. Thus, you as a leader must allow people, and even force people, to speak their mind clearly so that everyone understands what they are trying to say. You also need to ensure that your team won’t judge each other, and that they can freely share their mind.

8. “Leaders call fouls” – with the last principle in mind, at times things do get out of hand. Someone says something that is a little offensive and someone else takes offense. As a leader, you must be able to step in and call ‘foul’ when things start to get out of hand. Recognize when a situation is becoming unproductive or even destructive and then stop it, and get things back on track.

9. “Give me an A, B, or C” – consider this situation; you are in charge of someone who has consistently been doing subpar work. After a month or so, you finally decide to call them into your office and fire them. Upon hearing your thoughts on their performance, the individual exclaims something like, “I had no idea what your expectations were, if you had told me how I was doing, I could have worked a little harder. I thought I was doing good work.” To avoid situations such as this it is important to give some sort of evaluation to let people know how they are doing. Maybe something as simple as giving them a letter grade. Whatever you do, be sure to take time to explain your thoughts, and share ways that they could improve if needed. Don’t simply give them a poor grade without and explanation.

10. “We got to do this together” – when you and your team face a tough task that eventually is accomplished, be sure that, in the same way that you shared the work to get the job done, you share the joy and praise for after the task is accomplished. This is one of the biggest things that could break down a team; only one person getting the glory from finishing tasks.

Now what can you do with these? Take them, use them, and start doing an even better job at leading. Maybe you don’t want to try using every one of these principles, maybe start with the top three that seem most important to you, and then once you are good at following them, select another three. However you want to do it, the key is to start taking steps towards leading more effectively and successfully.

The U.S. Army’s 11 Leadership Principles

The Statue of Liberty - Standing as a Leader

The Statue of Liberty - Standing as a Leader

photo by Torley

Leadership in the military is vital for completing the mission. The military has become known for its development of great leaders. Many presidents were also military men, and a large quantity of other influential people began by serving in the US Military. The US Army put together 11 principles for its leaders to follow. These are valuable principles that every leader, both military and civilian, can learn from. Here are the 11 US Army Leadership Principles and their application to civilian leadership.

1. Be tactically and technically proficient – In whatever business or profession you are in, aim to be the best, or at least have a good understanding of it. If that means doing a little studying, so be it, as long as you set an example of proficiency.

2. Know yourself and seek self-improvement – know your capabilities, but don’t stop there, try to improve on your skills and strengths. Learning is a lifelong task that you should continue no matter what you are doing.

3. Know your soldiers and look out for their welfare – this applies to anyone under you. Take time to get to know them and look out for their health and wellbeing. They will notice you genuinely care about them and probably perform better.

4. Keep your soldiers informed – tell those you follow you what your plans are, accept their insight and suggestions, make them apart of the planning. When someone has a role in planning, they take greater responsibility in its execution. Don’t keep people in the dark about things.

5. Set the example – in everything you do you must do it well and set a good example. You never know what kind of an effect you might have on those under you and one small poor decision might mean the loss of their respect and desire to follow you.

6. Ensure the task is understood, supervised and accomplished – make sure you give clear instructions, ask for feedback on what your followers think you said. Have patience if they don’t quite get what you are trying to communicate. And, of course, supervise to be sure a task is completed, but do it in such a way so that you aren’t hovering above people ready to jump on them when they make a mistake.

7. Train your soldiers as a team – create community and teamwork. Help everyone work together. Take time to do team building exercises. When a group of people work as a team, they work much more quickly, and effectively.

8. Make sound and timely decisions – this one is up to you. You need to make decisions and stick with them. Don’t shy away from making decisions, but look at the options and then make the best choice.

9. Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates – part of this is simply sharing responsibility with those under you. Delegate certain jobs and small tasks. Let others oversee certain activities. In this way, you will be training up new leaders.

10. Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities – don’t overstretch or overuse those who are following you. Everyone has limitations, find what the limitations of your followers are, and then try to avoid exceeding them.

11. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions – ultimately you are responsible. If something good happens, you are responsible, and if something bad happens, you are also responsible. Taking responsibility for things is a key trait of a leader, and fatal flaw if neglected. Be sure to always take responsibility for not only your actions, but also those of anyone under you.

These are powerful principles that could radically change the way you lead. Take some time to evaluate your own leadership and compare to see where you are doing well, and where you are lacking. The object of all of this is to be the best leader you can be. Now go and be a leader.

Ronald Reagan the Servant Leader


I think one of my favorite stories of President Ronald Reagan is the time shortly after he was hot and was still in the Hospital. He woke up in the middle of the night he woke up and went to the bathroom.

“He slapped water on his face, and water slopped out of the sink,” Noonan relates. “He got some paper towels and got down on the floor to clean it up. An aide came in and said: `Mr. President, what are you doing? We have people for that.’ And Reagan said, oh, no, he was just cleaning up his mess, he didn’t want a nurse to have to do it.” (From the Modest Giant, Jeff Jacoby, June 10, 2004).

I think one of the marks of a great man is caring for others. I run with my friend on occasion who had the opportunity to meet President George W. Bush in the oval office. This week he was telling me that President Bush, aside from having really long ear hair, was really engaging and interested and just talked to them like normal people. They didn’t feel ill at ease at all.

The President was cleaning up his own mess (The Own it All Principle from The Little Book of Big Leadership Principles) because he cared about the nurse who was taking care of him and didn’t want her to get in any trouble from her supervisor. We need more leaders today who are willing to humble themselves and serve those around them. A President who cares for the nurse. That’s a great man. This actually fits a bunch of the leadership principles. Other’s First, Be Humble, Kill Your Ego.