We are in the process of searching for a lead pastor for our church. It’s a daunting process as we are a young church and the outcome will have a huge bearing on the future vitality of our church community. We want to make sure we are in tune with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, as He knows what’s best for our church. As a result, myself and the other church leaders have been pondering what characteristics we are to look for in a potential candidate.
There are many noble characteristics one must look out for in someone and I would be very keen to hear what others’ views are. However I have observed two key ingredients that I feel are critical. Both of those ingredients can be merged into what I see as the main aim or responsibility of church leadership.
Firstly, the two ingredients I think are crucial:
1) A faithful, God-fearing, passionate expositor and teacher of the Word. In a world that is so confused and corrupted with political correctness and relativism, there needs to be solid, passionate teaching of God’s Word within the church by someone with clear and strong biblical convictions. This teaching and attitude to the Bible is to permeate throughout the sermons/church services each week and into the small group sessions. A church will only be able to develop a healthy, God-honouring culture if it is founded on prayer and being engrossed with learning what the Bible teaches with members applying this to their lives. This culture will permeate through to aiding our individual battle to fight sin and follow God, and affect how we treat and support those around us.
2) That leads me to the second ingredient – someone who is able to connect with, support and empower those around him. A leader is by definition someone who influences others; a person who people look to for guidance. One way to know if someone is a leader is to look behind and see who is following. People will follow those who they trust and believe want the best for them and the church; who’s leadership they feel is best for their spiritual growth, the growth of the church and the glory of God within the community. A church leader’s key role is to inspire and equip others to become more like Christ. There are many ways in which one may potentially do this, but I feel one effective method is by empowering and equipping other leaders. When a leader invests into other leaders, his influence is multiplied. This influence then permeates through the small/bible study groups, which I feel are the building blocks of the church and where the ‘rubber hits the road’. This cascade effect highlights how leadership will make or break the church and why we must be extremely discerning and diligent in who we allow into leadership roles, and why there must be a level of accountability and support within the leadership group.
But if I was to summarise those two key elements of a Christian leader into one key element I think it would be this: The Lead Pastor, by humbly submitting to the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, is to help equip and empower the church with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It’s through the Gospel that we realise how our human frailty and sinful depravity is torn down by the liberating and empowering work of Jesus Christ on the cross. It’s through Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection that we are born again spiritually and come into union with God forever. It’s through this gospel message that we break free from the sinful entanglements that hold us down and realise the joy of serving God in all that we do. Only by this message are we humbled before our holy God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to step up to the plate and live for Christ. What greater purpose is there for our church leaders to aspire others towards? We live to serve and marvel our God and all that He has does. Our church leaders are the key people to help facilitate that within the church.
That is some of my thoughts, but clearly there are other important ingredients. I would appreciate your thoughts on what you think makes a godly leader/leadership within the church.