Godly leadership

This is a brief outline of the message I gave at Ridge Community Church on Sunday. Maybe you’ll find it helpful.

Godly Leaders

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams

Parents, teachers, pastors, mentors, coaches, spouses… we are all called to lead.

Godly leadership is God’s idea:

The plan that God chose?

God’s plan is for men and women to step up, serve as examples, influence, lead other people into the place where they need to be.

The process that God chose?:

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. (NIV)

The responsibility that God gives leaders?:

Take people from where they are to where God wants them to be.

This is God’s vision for His people – to get them where He wants them.

Theodore M. Hesburgh “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”

Key text:

Psalms 78:70-72

70 He chose David his servant

and took him from the sheep pens;

71 from tending the sheep he brought him

to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,

of Israel his inheritance.

72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;

with skillful hands he led them.  (NIV)

King David is a great example of a Godly leader.

1. GODly Leaders (emphasis on the GOD part)

It is not the fact that they are leaders that makes them great – it is the fact that God has called them.

Godly leaders are:

Selected by God “He chose David” A divine appointment. Not a democracy. Not a “good ole boy” system.  (Daniel 2:21“He sets up kings and deposes them.”)

Godly leaders are:

Developed by God “took him from the sheep pen”. God sees, not where we are but where we can be. Potential is a key word!

Not what we currently are but what we can become!

Sometimes the development process is not easy.

We see from David’s life that the process of development was life-long.

Godly leaders are:

Appointed by God: “from tending sheep to the shepherd of Israel”

Quite a promotion!

And the two may seem completely disconnected.

But they are related – many times God’s people acted just like a bunch of sheep. (present company excluded!)

Sheep are not always the smartest creatures (they have been known to wander away and fall off of cliffs!)

Sheep are not very strong – there is a wolf that would love to enjoy a lamb or tow for dinner.

Sheep sometimes don’t smell the best – (enough said)

And some sheep bite- and they have sharp teeth!

Do we see the connection?

Godly leaders are:

Gifted by God: 2 elements: integrity of heart and skillful hands. We can’t think of two more important gifts to be displayed by leaders: integrity and ability.

I want to follow a leader who is authentic.  (no time for phony leaders!)

And I want to follow a leader who is good at what he or she does!

2. Godly leaders are human

(various men of God as examples)

Godly leaders are:

Called but not always the likely choice:

David (man looks at the outward appearance, God on the heart. A man after the heart of God.)

Called but not always ready:

Jeremiah “I am only a child” “Don’t say I’m only a child – go to the people I am sending you to!

Called but not always willing:

Moses in Exodus 3: please choose someone else!

(one of the most attractive leadership qualities is humility s long as it doesn’t result in disobedience)

These examples explain where the system breaks down for most people;

They never get beyond the “I’m not qualified” or “Pick someone else” syndrome.

And the result? We lack leaders.

This explains to condition of our culture: Our culture is in such a mess because we lack the right kind of leadership.

A leadership allegory:

Judges 9:7-15

8 One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’

9 “But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and men are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’

10 “Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’

11 “But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’

12 “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’

13 “But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and men, to hold sway over the trees?’

14 “Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’

15 “The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’  (NIV)

The essence of this allegory is, when God-called people refuse to lead, someone will rise to leadership- whether or not they are God-called.

Modern examples in this week’s news:

Moammar Gadhafi

Charlie Sheen

Good men and women have, too many times, said no to leadership calling.

Our culture is being lead by thornbush kings! Those who have their own self-interest at heart!

If God is calling you to influence, to lead, in any capacity, obey!

In the end, God wins!

If God is calling you into leadership, my advice: “your arms are too short to box with God!”

For those who comply – God works in them and through them.

3. Characteristics of Godly leaders:

(Jesus as our example)

Godly leaders are compassionate: Matt 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (NIV)

(it is the compassion that drives you even when you are tired)

Godly leaders are Servants: son of man came not to be served but to serve, lay down his life as a ransom for many

Godly leaders are Courageous: “let this cup pass from me, but nevertheless, not my will …”

Godly leaders are wounded: by His stripes we are healed.

Godly leaders will be tested: (Paul) one of the most sobering verse for leaders:

Galatians 6:17 “Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” (NIV)

He carried the scars of his leadership.

Scars can make you trustworthy, give you credibility.

I won’t want to follow a man into battle if he has never been in battle.

If there was ever a time when our world needed godly leadership it is now.

The truth is there are lots of leaders, just the wrong kind.

For everyone who is called to leadership:

Don’t check out – you are ALL called into leadership in one way or another.


Men, lead the home, your wife, your children, your job.

Parents, lead your kids, be examples, influence them for God.

All of you: Lead yourself well. Lead your family. Lead your church. Lead your community. The world becomes a better place.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

But a special note about your spiritual leaders:

Hebrews 13:17 “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”

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