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Many of us find ourselves in leadership positions, but we wonder sometimes if we’re really leading. And, frankly, sometimes there are folks around us who also wonder if we’re leading. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if you’re really leading as a Christian leader.
- If others knew my life intimately, would they want to follow me? This question, of course, covers the “Christian” part of Christian leadership. If you’re not living in such a way that you model Christ (1 Cor. 11:1), you’re not leading as a Christian should.
- Am I uncomfortable with the status quo? Even when things are going well, strong leaders are always praying about and seeking the next steps to accomplish God’s best. If you’re comfortable with where you and your church are, you might be in maintenance mode rather than leadership mode.
- Do I have a picture of a bright future? This question is the vision question. If you aren’t able to see what God might want to do through your ministry in the future – or if you’ve simply given up on the future – you’re probably reacting more than leading.
- Do I see people as God’s gift or as a means to an end? If people are just a means to an end, we will use them rather than lead them – and that’s unchristian. When we see them as God’s gift, we will lead them to walk with Him and experience His best. How do you see your congregation?
- Is anyone following me? John Maxwell and others have pointed out that a leader with no followers is only taking a walk. No leader gets everyone to follow (even Jesus didn’t), but somebody will get on board with a genuine Christian leader who captures and casts God’s vision. You’re probably not leading well if nobody’s following.
- Am I investing in anyone personally? It’s hard to read the New Testament and not see Jesus and Paul as leaders who intentionally mentored others. Based on their models, good Christian leadership includes pouring your life into a few people. To not do that is to miss one of the best opportunities for genuinely leading.
- If I leave, will the ministry carry on well? The true test of our leadership is not when we’re “on the ground”; it’s when God calls us away, and the church must go on without us. If your church’s ministry suffers when you’re gone, you’ve not been the best leader. In fact, it’s possible you’ve built your own kingdom rather than God’s.
- Am I continuing to learn? Leaders who already know it all will lead only so far. Inevitably, they will hit the ceiling of their training and knowledge. At that point, all they can do is live in maintenance mode unless they begin learning again. If you’re not continually reading, studying, listening, etc., you may have hit your leadership ceiling.
- Am I accountable to somebody for my godliness? This question takes us back to the first one. If you are a genuine Christian leader, you are guaranteed that Satan will attack you (1 Peter 5:8). The best Christian leaders put up accountability safeguards against the enemy’s attacks.
Take some time to reflect on your own abilities as a Christian leader in light of these questions. What might you need to work on?
This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on October 15, 2015. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and nine grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.