The Christian Leader

1. The Convictional Leader

We live in the information age, a world awash with data. Our culture believes that if we mine this data for the right solutions, we’ll solve all the world’s problems. But we don’t necessarily need more information. We need God’s revelation. Wisdom for leadership begins with the conviction that God speaks. He makes himself known through his world, Word, and works. Because the Father is sovereign over his world and the Son’s salvation is revealed in his Word, we have a grid for understanding reality—in all its complexity and particularity. Because the Holy Spirit still works today, the first step for leaders is listening for God’s voice. When a leader has heard from God, he can move beyond mere values to deep convictions felt in his heart and embodied in his life.

When a leader has heard from God, he can move beyond mere values to deep convictions felt in his heart and embodied in his life.

2. The Creative Leader

You can be a person of deep conviction but still have no direction. In order to move forward, leaders need imagination to see the connections between their unchanging convictions and life in an ever-changing world. Creative leaders imagine the way forward. That’s why we need God. God is the Creator. He has the best imagination. He created everything out of nothing at all. He sees the way forward through chaos and disorder like no one else. With God on our side, we see a brighter future for the communities where we lead, and we inspire others to join us as we pursue that God-given vision.

3. The Courageous Leader

Courageous leaders expose themselves to uncertainty and risk. Courage is for the broken, vulnerable, and weak. It comes from the invulnerable God who made himself vulnerable for us. God’s mission teaches us courage. The Father loved the world and sent the Son. The Father and Son send the Spirit. The Spirit forms the church and calls her to participate in his mission to the world. Courageous Christians join God’s mission with a threefold motivation: God commands us; the gospel compels us; and the Spirit moves us. God fills us with his Spirit, and he empowers us to move forward with courageous love. God wants us to join his mission to the hard places. He calls us to leave behind what hinders and follow our Lord where he leads.

4. The Collaborative Leader

God’s story of redemption is rooted in community. It begins with the Trinity—the perfect covenant community. Within the Godhead, collaboration is conducted in perfect unity, diversity, and harmony. But human collaboration is marked by flesh and sin. To lead together, people must grow in unity and ever-increasing maturity. Collaborative leadership requires organizational clarity—authority, responsibility, and accountability. To thrive, it also requires a personal vision—adaptability, autonomy, and ambiguity.

5. The Contemplative Leader

The American church settles for a subhuman life, because it refuses to rest. Compulsive leaders all eventually crash, but God is different. God lives in eternal rest and perpetual joy, and we’re invited to share in it. Our union with Christ gives us access into the intra-Trinitarian life. We experience the Father’s love through the work of the Son and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Because they’ve experienced communion, contemplative leaders are able to give their transformed presence to others. To have communion with others, we first must commune with God. We must abide in God in order to encourage those we lead.

This is article is adapted from Leadership Mosaic: 5 Leadership Principles for Ministry and Everyday Life by Daniel Montgomery.

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