Godly leadership is explained for us in the Bible. Sadly, many churches today are not led with godly leadership. Godly leadership is defined by following Jesus’ example and His teachings.
All Christians need to cultivate godly leadership, whether you are a pastor, a teacher, a parent, or an individual. All Christians will benefit from learning, studying, and cultivating godly leadership.
What Does Godly Leadership Look Like?
The first major characteristic of godly leadership is taking the attitude of a servant. When Jesus walked on this earth, He took the very nature of a servant.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death--even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).
Even though Jesus is God, He did not take the attitude of being superior to others.
He took the nature of a servant, which is the same attitude godly leaders must cultivate in order to truly have godly leadership. Godly leadership means you serve others and help in any way you can.
This means godly leaders are to have humility. Likewise, godly leadership means you do not see others as being inferior to you. Rather, a godly leader views each person equally and treats them the same.
In addition to Jesus, the Apostle Paul was a godly leader, who took the attitude of a servant. In fact, Paul describes himself as a servant of Christ on numerous occasions in the New Testament (Galatians 1:10; Colossians 1:7; Romans 1:1; Titus 1:1).
Paul was a great example of godly leadership, and we would be wise to follow his example. Godly leadership is taking the attitude and nature of a servant toward God and others. Looking to your own interest first or being selfish is not part of godly leadership.
A second aspect of godly leadership is integrity. All godly leadership needs to be marked with integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing even if nobody is watching. The person you are at church or at a group gathering should be the same person you are at home.
There are no “double lives” in godly leadership nor are there separate compartments of your life of the “sacred” and the “secular.” Godly leaders are always faithful, kind, honest, hardworking, and have integrity in their lives--whether they are at home, church, or work.
2. Fruits of the Spirit
Godly leadership includes cultivating the fruits of the Spirit, which will result in godly character. The fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Godly leaders will grow and produce the fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are vitally important for biblical godly leadership.
The opposite of the fruit of the Spirit is hatred, anger, war, impatience, meanness, evilness, disloyalty, harshness, and disorder. Godly leaders will not possess these negative qualities as these characteristics go against God and His Word.
Godly leaders who possess the fruit of the Spirit will be able to pour out biblical truths into other people’s lives and help them grow in their relationship with Christ.
3. Sound Doctrine
Godly leadership should also be paired with correct doctrine. Correct doctrine includes believing and teaching the truth in accordance with God's Word. The Bible is the complete, infallible Word of God.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
In order to have godly leadership, the individual must be orthodox in their teachings. This means they must believe that salvation is only by faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that God consists of Three distinct People--One God, but Three unique Persons of the Trinity--the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
They must only teach in accordance with what the true Bible says--not what is convenient to their own personal life or the standards of society. The Bible will offend as it is the living, breathing Word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
If a person teaches or leads without sound doctrine, they are a false teacher. Godly leaders need to be wise in what they teach as well as how they teach. The Bible tells us that teachers will be judged more harshly than others (James 3:1).
This should not cause you to shy away from being a leader or a teacher, but it should instill the respect that all godly leaders need to teach in accordance with God’s Word. It is wise for leaders to be knowledgeable about false religions, cults, and political uprisings in order to not teach unsound theology.
Going Against the Grain
Becoming a godly leader can be extremely difficult for the believer as it is hard to follow Jesus’ example and teachings all the time. However, with God’s help and prayerful meditation on the Bible, God will help you become a godly leader.
Godly leaders must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Christ (Luke 9:23). Out of default, we tend to turn to sin, but we have to actively go against the grain to become godly leaders. Godly leadership is self-sacrificing, humble, and strong.
It takes a great deal of spiritual strength to be a godly leader, which is only possible because of Jesus. It is vital for godly leaders not to become puffed up or prideful in their position and knowledge (1 Corinthians 8:1).
It is wise for us not to forget the fallen state of our own mortal bodies and the depth we have fallen (Revelation 2:5). Godly leaders will not make others feel bad or condemn them over sins.
Rather, godly leaders will help point out sin in helpful ways that are not aggressive or hurtful. By providing transparent, honest help and advice, godly leaders can help others repent and turn away from sins in their life.
Thus, godly leadership should always be marked with a servant attitude, love, kindness, peace, purity, truth, integrity, faithfulness, modesty, bravery, respect, and humility. All believers will have to be in the role of leadership at some point in their life and it is vital for all believers to cultivate godly leadership.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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