Christian leaders face a great deal more pressure and higher standards than most generic leaders these days. Why do some leaders stay the test of time while others make mistakes and can no longer continue?
Just to be clear to non-Christian people, the higher standards are primarily integrity related. If a leader does something which is against the Christian faith or in line with Christian living. This can be moral failings (i.e. affairs or abuse) or loosing faith. The pressure is that of expectation - these leaders are expected to do so much by their congregation that it can be too much to handle. Unlike business or organizations they can't easily be very firm with people trying to take their time or 'fire' anyone who is overly difficult. Boundaries play a big role in this but we wont discuss this here as its off-topic.
I've met some of the 'famous' Christian leaders in the world - they are diverse as much as they are varied in personhood. The common denominator among them (with the exception of their faith) is that of strength, strength of character and courage. They live incredible and filled lives often travelling to every continent of the world almost every year. Their churches are growing and healthy and they exhibit more leadership characteristics than most business leaders, government officials and military personnel!
I wont name drop, for the simple reason that we want to design a framework here of how to survive as any kind of leader. The big names in this Christian world are almost wholly well known due to their example of high standards and following the pillars of leadership growth written below.
Key Pillars of Christian Leadership
- Integrity - I've seen some leaders removed from their positions due to a mistake made even prior to their leadership role in Church. Eventually no matter how hard you may hide it, if you fail in integrity then it will often come back to bite you. The old school leaders have a long 'career' due to their willingness to not fault or mess with their integrity. This is their strength.
- Courage - you may not think it but a great deal of courage is needed in facing the issues and difficulties of Christian Leadership. Without this leadership trait people will find the challenges greater than can be endured. Courage fuels a Church leader to follow through on their leadership vision and face every problem head-on. If you're wanting to improve on this area I recommend reading Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels - excellent read.
- Everything-Balance - most people have a work-life-family balance but these leaders often have a ministry balance also. How do they juggle all these things? Often most will go hard on all fronts. They are committed family people, they love the Church and their jobs and go hard in their free time usually with sports or something quite demanding. Having time apart from all of these areas is important, along with great boundaries. A leader I interned with once told me that ministry was everything - all of these areas. They ministered in their family's and in their work, even free time. Life is ministry and great balance!
- Calling - you'll find that most Christians strive to find their 'calling' which is simply the vision that they have for their lives. It's what they feel God wants them to be doing with their life. Although most Christians spend most of their lives searching for this elusive treasure - Leaders feel that (atleast should) their role is part of their life's calling. This gives fresh motivation and a greater depth of character to achieve all the things they desire whilst leading the people. They have caught this vision and want to run with it.
We'll be adding to everything Christian Leadership wise, so for more information on Christian leaders return to our spiritual leadership hub.