2 Things Successful Christian Leaders Understand

Would you like to be a better leader?

Let me help.

There are two main practices that Christian leaders need to understand to be successful. But first, let me give you a quick word on how to properly define success.

Success for anyone in Christ must be defined as maintaining a right relationship with God and developing your God-given potential.

Read that definition again and let it settle. Notice that it doesn’t mention anything about noses or nickels. Christ does not measure your success by the number of people or the size of the purse over which you have influence.

Let me share these two understandings that will help you reach that definition.

1. Successful Christian leaders understand the power of their presence.

You cannot lead others by avoiding their presence. For leadership to be its most effective, it cannot be phoned in. The people I serve need me to be present. I mean present with enthusiasm at meetings, with compassion during times of crisis, and present with some available office hours.

For example, in my previous role as a denominational executive, it was important for me to be wherever large groups of pastors and church leaders were gathering. Being absent would mean missed opportunities to encourage and edify them. When a new church was planted, it was necessary to be present in that church planter’s life and build a healthy coaching relationship.

In my current role as Lead Pastor, I must be present to effectively lead my staff, Servant’s Council, and Servant’s Committee. I must be present to help them navigate the best plans and decisions for God’s Kingdom work. If I have called a meeting, I cannot simply leave an agenda for them to work through and hang out at the beach.

Being present does not always mean face-to-face. Quite often, today’s believers appreciate the presence of Christian leadership in their social media space. My wife and I have learned that our wise interaction provides regular opportunities to lead the people we serve and the entire world-wide-web community.

The best leadership comes from being present. However, this does not mean I can never take vacations or Sabbatical times of rest. My physical presence is not always required for every function. Thankfully, the wisdom of God’s presence guides me.

2. Successful Christian leaders understand the power of God’s presence.

You cannot be successful as a servant-leader if you avoid the presence of God. The power of proximity to His counsel through prayer and Scripture must guide you into the everyday right living and the right leading of the people you are called to serve.

This given shouldn’t require much explanation, but humor me anyway as I emphasize this point.

Christian leaders can only set the example of right living by staying close to God’s presence. Don’t mentally leave me and go into the omnipresence of our Sovereign God. I’m talking about the thought life of your inner person, which must be apprehended by the Holy Scriptures so God’s Holy Spirit can dialogue with you. I’m talking about devotional times, prayer walks, and quiet times where you only interact with God.

This will often involve more listening than talking. Make no mistake about it. This presence requires you to be deliberate and disciplined.

If you need an example, look no further than Jesus Christ. During His earthly life, He practiced what I’m describing. This supernaturally leads to the right leading of God’s people.

Which of these two do you find the most difficult? Weren’t these two practices so obvious that you instinctively knew them?

The best Christian leadership comes from being present in His presence before being present with His people.

As a fellow Christian leader, how can I pray for you this week?

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