When we take those first steps as a Christian leader, we are sometimes unsure what to do next. Someone saw something in us, others started following, and then, suddenly, people are looking to us for decisions and direction.
It can be overwhelming at first. The desire of our heart is to honor God in all that we do, including in our leadership. We want to see progress in the projects and ministries we are leading. And we’d love to watch the people we are leading grow in their faith and confidence.
That’s a whole lot of expectations we have put on ourselves. Not unreasonable expectations, just a lot of them. So if you are a first-time Christian leader, or even an experienced Christian leader looking to take your leadership to the next level, here are the things every Christian leader must do.
Christian Leaders Must Pray
Gosh, I know that sounds obvious. Good Christians know that prayer is important in all we do, right?
I know from experience … in the busyness of our to-do lists and projects, it is easy to forget that God is interested in all the day-to-day decisions we need to make. He longs to walk with us on this sometimes lonely journey and provide direction, encouragement and affirming peace.
What does your leadership prayer list look like? Are you seeking God’s vision for your ministry? Are you praying for your volunteers and others who support you? Are you measuring every decision against His standards and principles?
Christian Leaders Must Read and Learn
Even for people with natural leadership tendencies, we get to the end of our own abilities real fast. Constantly growing as a leader shows your commitment to bringing your best to the team. It fills you up with new ideas and fresh inspiration. When I get weary from the responsibilities of leadership, learning something new always sparks my interest and motivation.
Reading is one of the easiest ways to learn as a Christian leader. Be sure to read solid books on leadership, but also seek out instructional books on your specific area of leadership to stay on top of the current trends.
Here are my favorite books for Christian leaders:
Christian Leaders Must Have A Mentor
Of all the things on this list, this one has made the greatest difference in my own leadership journey. I have been blessed to serve under strong leaders who have modeled what it means to be a Christian leader, and have poured into me personally, spiritually and as a leader.
I’ve noticed recently that modern mentorship is a little different. It still involves a wise, experienced leader bringing along someone with less experience. But modern mentor relationships are more of a two-way street. The less experienced leader brings fresh enthusiasm and sensitivity to current trends that are invaluable to the experienced leader.
Christian Leaders Must Honor Their Team and Followers
The people who serve and follow our ministries deserve to see us at our best. We have a responsibility to show up for meetings prepared, keep our commitments, and provide clear, specific direction and expectations. Of course, there is always grace for special circumstances, but honoring our team and followers means they can count on us.
We also honor them by letting them shine on their own and celebrating their achievements. I love sharing when members of the Do A New Thing community meet one of their goals or completes a project.
Christian Leaders Must Find a Community
There is no doubt that leadership is lonely. Those outside the leadership circle don’t understand the weight of responsibility, especially when eternal life is at stake. We need each other for encouragement and a place to go where people say, “I hear ya, girl.”
Our leadership community also gives us a safe place to struggle through the hard places and disappointments. I know I would have quit a hundred times without my close community picking me up, dusting me off and setting me on a positive path. My two favorite free communities for Christian women leaders are Ministry Chick and Purposeful Leadership. And if you are looking for a close, mastermind community, consider the Move Forward Mastermind.
Christian leadership is both a gift and a burden. A joyful journey and a hard slog. Following these five principles will make you a better leader in the good times and help you weather the storms of the tough times.
What are your top “must do’s” for Christian leaders? Have any of these been helpful to you in your leadership?