There is no doubt, as seen from Scripture, that God has honored the man with the place of leadership in the family and, in an extended sense, has bestowed this honor on the eldership as leaders within the family of God, the Lord’s church. Concerning the man in the family, as a father (or as an elder in the church) it is imperative for him to be a leader, particularly in the spiritual realm. But what is a leader? The simplest definition is, a leader is a person who has followers.
A leader deserves to have followers. He has earned recognition. But authority alone is no longer enough to command respect. There is much more to it, as you read the following:
The leader is a great servant. The Master of Men expressed the ideal of leadership, when He said, “Instead, whoever wants to be great among you, must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26, 27).
The leader sees things through the eyes of his followers. He puts himself in their shoes and helps them make their dreams come true.
The leader does not say, “Get going!”; instead, he says, “Let’s go!” and leads the way. He does not walk behind with a whip; he is out in front with a banner.
The leader assumes that his followers are working with him, not for him. He considers them partners in the work and sees to it that they share in the rewards. He glorifies the team spirit.
The leader duplicates himself in others. He is a “man builder”. He helps those under him to grow big because he realizes that the more men are “big” in his immediate family (or the family of God), the stronger it will be.
The leader does not hold people down — he lifts them up. He reaches out his hand to help his followers to overcome problems in their lives, helps them to grow and “scale the peaks”.
The leader has faith in people. He believes in them, trusts them, and thus draws out the best in them. He has found that they will rise that way to his high expectations.
The leader uses his heart as well as his head. After he has looked at the facts with his head, he lets his heart take a look, too. He is not only a boss — he is also a compassionate friend. “A friend loves at all times. . .” (Proverbs 17:17). He considers what Christian love is all about.
The leader is a self-starter. He creates plans and sets them in motion. He is both a man of action — both dreamer and doer.
The leader has a warm sense of humor. He is not a stuffed shirt. His wit is not hurtful to others, instead he is rather inclined to laugh at himself. He has an humble spirit and reaches out in this mindset to his Heavenly Father. “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way” (Psalm 25:9).
The leader can be led. He is not bent on having his own way, but in finding the best way. He is open-minded to suggestions, but keeps in mind that the best way usually rests on the commands and principles of his personal leader, his Heavenly Father, keeping in mind to submit to what is said in Philippians 2:13: “for it is God Who works in you to will and act according to His good purpose”.
The leader keeps his eyes on high goals. He strives to make the efforts of his followers and himself contribute to the enrichment of godly personality, the achievement of more abundant living for all, and the improvement of civilization. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (or: abundantly)” (John 10:10b).
May God bless all Christian men, as they strive to fulfill God’s will for them in their own personal lives.
— Wilfred A. Peterson