Training Leaders

“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.” (2 Tim. 2:2)

Scripture provides numerous examples of discipleship, because every generation thinks and responds differently to the information handed to them. Yet the key is to entrust God’s truth to reliable men and women who will show themselves to be faithful. Just think for a moment about the process involved in teaching some of God’s most notable leaders how to walk in wisdom and integrity.

  • Adam and Eve walking with God in the Garden of Eden, 
  • Abraham and Lot recovering from Sodom and Gamorah,
  • Jethro and  Moses administrating in the wilderness,
  • Samuel and David processing a leadership shift, 
  • Peter and James receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit,
  • Paul and Timothy planting churches across a new frontier.

We find ourselves in good company, pulled in by our convictions about God and our call to the Great Commission. The Bible; however, does not direct us to any certain program of how leaders are to be developed. The reason for this is that the Holy Spirit is more concerned about the process than the structure of our training - as long as it does not violate Scripture. Ministries have the freedom to design a training program that is “most effective” for its leaders. The structure may be different, but training takes place when hearts are united with God’s vision for spiritual growth.

4 Key Leadership Components:

  1. character …who a leader is. 
  2. knowledge …what a leader knows.
  3. skill …what a leader does.
  4. emotion …how a leader responds.

While good leaders are strong in these four areas, all leaders need to grow and develop. The mark of good leadership is a teachable heart, but the challenge is always our ability to measure maturity. If we can break down our experience by these 4 components, we will begin to see where our hearts really are developing and where we are stuck in leadership ruts.

  • 1st Character:

Christ-likeness and integrity of heart best describe what we mean by character. It reflects the heart and soul of the leader and answers the question we all have asked: “Who must leaders be?” In order to lead effectively, God expects us to reflect His heart and mind in all that is done and taught. We need to expose poor character and build quality into our leaders so they reflect the excellence expected from men and women of God. 

I often tell leaders; that although their gifts will make room for them and offer them the opportunity to lead, it is their character that will maintain their platform and give them a people who follow their leadership. I have watched many gifted people come and go, leaving their ministries in frustration over the process of character development. Its important for leaders to face the facts… it is the process that shapes our character – No Pain, No Gain! Here are some good Scripture guidelines that offer general character requirements for leadership.

  1. The Elder - equivalent to today’s 5-fold ministry leaders (Eph. 4:11);(1 Tim. 3:1-7), (Titus 1:6-9), (1 Pet. 5:2).
  2. The Deacon – those who serve tables; (1 Tim. 3:8-13)(Acts 6:1-6).
  3. The Apostle Paul offers the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). 
  4.  The Apostle Peter lists qualities for all Christians (2 Pet. 1:3-9).
  5. Other necessary character qualities are competence, trustworthiness, and teachability (2 Tim. 2:2).
  • 2nd Knowledge:

Leaders know something that not everyone understands. Leaders have “secrets” that open doors and create opportunity for others, as well as themselves. What they know sets them apart as uniquely qualified to instruct and teach. Leaders offer us the ability to see things through new lenses and enjoy the adventure of accomplishing something.

  • 3rd Skill:

Obviously, a leaders’ skills depend a little bit upon the ministry he or she is engaged in, but there are some common realities that help all leaders stay sharp and effective. Vision, decision making, communication and problem solving, are just four of the many common qualities of a leader that every team must see growing in the person they follow. A leader needs to inspire and motivate others so they believe they can achieve their goals.  Support may be as simple as words of encouragement or a specific tool needed to perform a task. Strong listening skills provide a leader with key information that can help break barriers and give appropriate spiritual counsel.

  • 4th Emotion:

Problems come in all shapes and sizes, from those related to the people in your care, to those of a more strategic nature.  A good leader will not be afraid of problems and will carry the emotional stability that earns the trust and respect of their followers. We must not be afraid to discuss problems or potential problems. My father used to always say, “Son, with a positive attitude, problems can become opportunities for promotion”. As with anything in life, things do not always go according to plan and leadership is no exception. The direction a leader takes in order to realize God’s vision is likely to change. Strong leaders embrace change and can adapt quickly and efficiently to new situations since they learn to balance opportunity and risk while being aware of their strengths and weaknesses… as well as that of the team they lead.

Better Caught than Taught!

My final word is simple… the best leaders are those who have served under great leaders, because they have been watching and catching more that they were ever taught through books. Jesus enlisted twelve disciples to walk along side of Him for 3 years - Modeling Ministry and Imparting Leadership!

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