What Is the Spiritual Gift of Leadership?

Believers are endowed with a variety of gifts from God. Leaders are people who are gifted in assisting others in collaborating to achieve a greater effect for the glory of God.

Glory Dy
People working together through a course

In Romans 12:8, the spiritual gift of leadership is highlighted, “The one who leads, with zeal.” A spiritual leader is a Christian who is gifted in leadership. They are someone who leads and organizes and can be in any capacity of church leadership.

It can also apply to believers who are given the tasks to lead in a variety of situations. A spiritual leader has to be more than a person who leads and regulates. Instead, they should have the following characteristics.

1. Inspirational

A leader is someone who has been given the ability by God to inspire and coordinate the actions of others. They have to inspire others to do God’s work through the way they speak and the way they do their duties. Jesus is the best example of an inspiring leader.

This is stated in the verse written in Jeremiah 32:40, “I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me so that they will never turn away from me.”

Additionally, the spiritual leader has to inspire others to be leaders in the future. They have to encourage and empower other members to be leaders as well.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:3, it is written, “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And in Luke 22:26, “But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”

2. Godly

Another characteristic of a spiritual leader is that they are godly. As godly leaders, spiritual leaders know that their role is to serve the Lord. One example of such a leader is Paul.

Paul introduced himself as a “servant of Christ Jesus” in the first letter he wrote as written in 1 Corinthians 1, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes.”

Additionally, the first church in Jerusalem was led by James, Jesus’ half-brother, who announced himself as “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,” as it is written, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:” (James 1:1).

Based on these two opening verses, the spiritual leader acknowledges that even if they are leading a flock, they are leading the flock of God and they are merely servants of God.

Additionally, a godly leader will encourage individuals to collaborate in order to achieve godly goals that glorify God and benefit others.

Believers are endowed with a variety of gifts. Leaders are people who are gifted in assisting others in collaborating to achieve a greater effect.

3. Christ-like

Another characteristic of a spiritual leader is that they are nourishing. This means that they are like a shepherd of a flock just like Christ. The shepherd analogy is frequently used in the Bible to emphasize the link between a leader and his or her followers.

A good shepherd shepherds their flock to safety and provides them with nourishment and security. The shepherd’s purpose is to serve and enhance the situation of their sheep, not to elevate themselves. A shepherd’s role is articulated in Psalm 23, as it is written,

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

In 1 Peter 5:2-4, Peter echoes Jesus’ command to “take care of my sheep” (John 21:16),

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Leaders are expected to shepherd, direct, joyfully serve, and set an example for people under their care.

4. Promotes Unity and Love

Unity and love are other values that a spiritual leader promotes. Their objective is to guide people toward godly goals and behaviors, rather than focusing on personal pride or position.

The early church’s leadership positions were created to promote maturity, unity, and love, as it is written in Ephesians 4:11-13,

And he gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all come to a oneness of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the full stature of Christ.

Why Does This Matter?

The spiritual gifts of leadership are composed of many characteristics that a spiritual leader should have. These are that they should be inspiring, nourishing, godly, and should promote unity and love.

Spiritual gifts are given to us by God through the Holy Spirit. But we have different spiritual gifts that are detailed in 1 Corinthians 12:1-3,

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers, and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.  You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, this tells us that spiritual leaders are given the spiritual gift of leadership, and this should not be taken lightly. In order to be a good spiritual leader, a leader has to be Christ-like, a shepherd to the people he leads.

For further reading:

How Can I Identify My Spiritual Gifts?

Is There a Spiritual Gifts List?

What Is the Difference Between Talent and Spiritual Gifts?

What Is the Spiritual Gift of Wisdom?

What Did Jesus Mean When He Said, ‘Take Care of My Sheep’?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/LoveTheWind


Glory Dy has been a content creator for more than 10 years. She lives in a quiet suburb with her family and four cats.


Originally published June 10, 2021.