No matter how old I get, I have much room to grow as a leader. In fact, I watch other leaders who inspire and challenge me to lead better. Here are some leadership characteristics I’ve seen in these folks (who are, most often, local church pastors):
1. They strive to imitate Jesus. That’s the bottom line for them: they want to please the Lord.
2. They make decisions and don’t second-guess their direction. That’s usually because they’ve prayerfully done their homework.
3. They view failure as an opportunity to improve. They don’t get frustrated and give up; they strategize to do better.
4. They pray first and then plan—not the other way around. This characteristic might be the toughest one to emulate, for most leaders are “do-ers” first.
5. They genuinely model what they expect from others. Because they live obediently and openly speak of their faith, no one questions their walk with the Lord.
6. They clearly connect with their congregation—even if primarily only through the preaching event. Some of these leaders lead megachurches, but they’re uniquely able to connect through preaching as if they were in the individual homes of each church member.
7. They still have mentors who pour into them. One of these leaders is in his 70s, and his mentors are in their 90s. All these folks continue to be iron sharpening iron.
8. Their speech is peppered with memorized scripture. Their knowledge of the Bible shows their love for God’s Word and challenges church members to listen to them prayerfully and expectantly.
9. They have a clear vision for where they want their church to go. They can, in fact, usually state that vision concisely, and they’re continually seeking God’s direction for the next steps.
10. They operate with “humble confidence.” They know they don’t deserve to lead God’s church, but they also know He has called them.
11. They are fully where they are today – not looking for the next place to serve tomorrow. They live in the present tense of God’s will.
This article was written by Chuck Lawless and originally published at churchanswers.com on May 11. Thom S. Rainer served as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.