It is essential that Christian leaders have a clear understanding of how to lead in a Christlike way. At ACTS Seminaries we developed this statement ti express our convictions about leadership.
Definition: Christian Leadership
Christian leaders take responsibility to know God deeply, to reflect His holy character, to draw together and to Influence and transform communities through loving relationships, In order to fulfill His purposes in the world.
Integrity: The Character ol Leadership
Leadership of the Christian community involves equipping God’s people to develop and achieve a vision for what the Kingdom of God could be in their context by preparing them for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Eph. 4:12).
The lives of Christian leaders are marked by love for God and others, holiness and righteousness. Christian leaders are exemplary in their character as defined in 1 Tim. 3:1-7, modeling the way for others and holding themselves responsible to God and to the community they serve. A violation of community trust requires repentance, accountability and hopefully restoration.
Vision: Its Source and Communal Nature
Because Christian leadership is understood as moving the community toward the fulfillment of God’s purposes in the world, vision originates with God. Vision involves discerning what the character and essence of the local incarnation of the eternal Kingdom of God should be. While leaders often initiate a proposed vision, vision becomes effective only when mutually validated and shared by the community.
Community: Collective Leadership
Effective Christian leadership is a shared activity and Is dependent on the quality of relationships within the community. The church collectively has a leadership responsibility within the world through its community embodiment of the transforming gospel demonstrated in love and in commitment to Biblical truth.
Leadership Call: God’s Commission for All His People
Each follower of Christ has a role in the leadership process of the community, though not all have official leadership positions. Individuals within the Christian community have different functions and gifts, but all growing disciples of Jesus Christ should demonstrate leadership by accepting responsibility for their own growth, by discipling others, and by contributing to the mission of the church according to their ability and circumstances. Christian leaders seek to facilitate the development of others in matters of Christian maturity, ministry, and leadership responsibility. Each individual’s specific giftedness for contributing to leadership in the body needs to be discerned and encouraged.
Service: The Attitude and Manner oi Godly Leadership
Jesus taught His disciples that loving service, as He exemplified it, is the way in which leadership is to be exercised. Jesus’ service was sacrificial in obedience to God. He taught that greatness in the kingdom of God is rooted in service.
Sacrifice: The Cost of Leadership in a Fallen World
Every Christian leader requires the presence of the Holy Spirit to stay strong, focused, and courageous, to encourage other believers, and to train others to fulfill their calling in Christ. Christian leadership occurs in the context of a fallen world buffeted by spiritual enemies without and humanity’s fallen nature within. Leaders must sacrifice on behalf of others and, at times, they may have to endure suffering for the good of others.
Grace: Motivation: Leadership and Service
The motivation for Christian servanthood and leadership is a personal experience of the grace of God. Mature Christian leaders endeavour to manifest kindness, patience, goodness, self-control and humility, in word and deed, motivating others, not through guilt, but through encouragement, exhortation, forgiveness, and love.
Stewardship: Responsibility and Accountability
Involvement in leadership is a stewardship trust from God and the community. Christian leaders accept accountability for and care of the church through their teaching, preaching prayer, love, and preparation of believers for service.
Authority: A Grant of Responsibility
All authority on heaven and earth belongs to God, and only He has inherent authority. Christian leaders recognize that authority is a grant of responsibility to be used in obedient and loving service to God and others. When the exercise of authority is not motivated by either obedience or love, leadership becomes illegitimate and harmful. In such cases it should be surrendered or removed.
Power: Its Legitimate Use
Every Christian leader needs to use the power of position in service to God’s purposes and the community. All expressions of power need to conform to high ethical standards and are not to be used for personal benefit or to bring harm to others.
Flexibility:. The Contextual Nature of Leadership
Leadership is contextual, which means that different leadership skills and processes are needed in different situations. Christian leaders will manifest various leadership styles due to differences in personality, culture, experiences, giftedness, and gender, but effective leaders will strive to be consistent in implementing Biblically based principles of godly leadership.
Christian leaders assist the people of God in fulfilling His purposes within the world. Their focus is the actualization of a common vision of the Kingdom of God within a particular context. Christian leadership should be regarded as a service to God and as a shared responsibility within the community.