Christian teaching about qualities of good leaders (concluding part)

Reverend Martin Adhikary

19 June, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Christian teaching about qualities of good leaders (concluding part)

A good leader is one who wants to learn. “To err is human,” stated William Shakespeare. So, as a human being no leader is above mistakes or reproach. But it is good if the leaders can be teachable and open to learn from mistakes done by others and him in the past so that he can grow and improve his leadership. “Plans fail for lack of counseling, but with many advisers they succeed” (15:22). “Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth.” So the adage is “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!”  Leaders must have a clearly understood vision before him and his people. Proverb says, “Without a vision people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).

A Christian leader has to be a man of prayer. Prayer is communicating with God for counsel and wisdom which is so necessary for taking appropriate decision for the good of people. A good leader recognises value in other people. He should act as a faithful steward and he should be an encourager for all human resources. So, he is also to create good team-spirit by means of sharing mission and vision with people under his leadership and care.

A worthy leader must be above reproach. He must have self-control against greed for wealth, sexual immorality and also against any kind of addiction. It is often said that any of these three ‘W’s can ruin a leader: they are wealth, women and wine. To quote Paul again, “Now the overseer (leader) must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome , not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with respect. (1 Corinthians 3:2-4). A leader with a vision thinks beyond today and looks into the future, to where to go with those who he leads from where they are for a desirable, lasting and positive change. One great task of an able leader is to guide people to dream dreams. He shares his dream and vision with his people in such a manner which have hitherto been his dream no more remains his only but it becomes the dream of all people. In the Old Testament book with the name Nehemiah we have a classical example of this attribute of the great leader Nehemiah. We see there that when Nehemiah shared his vision for rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem during the time after return from Babylonian exile for seventy years. The entire people were able to catch his vision and as such they all got up and said to one another, “Let us arise and build the wall” (Nehemiah 2:18). Perhaps team-building quality of a leader is one his greatest strengths. It is said that team-work makes the dream work.

Jesus is the universally the greatest leadership teacher for all Christians in every place and all time. He taught by examples. His life and work exemplify excellent leadership. It cannot be otherwise. He himself first avoided any self-estimation. He took the form of a servant. Though he was rich he emptied himself. He said, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man (this was his own description of himself) has no place to lay down his head “(Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58). Paul in his Epistle to the Church in Philippi exhorted Christians to imitate Christ. He asked them to follow the example of Christ in humility, self-sacrifice and considering other people better than them. In the Old Testament, Moses was the great leader of the ancient Hebrew people. He had great qualities unlike many leaders. He had faithfulness, humility and compassion. The book of Numbers mentions all these three great leadership qualities of Moses in one single chapter 12 of that book. Verse 3 there records, “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone on the face of the earth. About his faithfulness God said, “He is faithful in my entire house” (verse 7). Love, faithfulness, commitment, humility and integrity all are most essential attributes. Above all, else love is the supreme quality, the timeless virtue of a true leader. Love for the people is the greatest strength of a leader. If there is a lack in this nothing avails much. A true leader is one who builds leader, his successor. This is because when he is no more there the people will not be lacking any leader. A good leader’s best aspiration would be to make one leader when he is not living a good leader like him or even one better than him. Our great prayer, therefore, is “God, give us good leaders”.


The writer is a Christian Theology teacher.