11 traits of spiritually weak christian leaders
I’m hesitant to write this post because I know I probably exhibit some of these characteristics. Over the years, there are majority of us church leaders that are okay in the secular and carnal settings, but very weak in spiritual life. Yet, we operate in the church with our secular mindsets, which affect seriously the spiritual life of our churches. Furthermore, I’ve seen a lot of Christian leaders that never fully live up to their potential in the power of God’s Spirit. Here are some of the primary issues I see in this group of leaders:
• They lead in their own power rather than God’s power. They may use the language of “God’s power,” but honesty would require them to say that they’re living in their own strength. They’re tackling very little that they could not do on their own.
• They manage rather than lead. They’re not casting vision. They cannot talk with specificity about what they believe the church should be 3-5 years from now. Most of their work relates only to managing what’s already happening.
• They pray reactively, not proactively. In fact, most of them are not prayer warriors. Their tendency is to plan first and then ask God to bless their plans. Seldom do they genuinely seek God first and then follow His lead.
• They lead an organisation, but not their families. They might even appear to be great leaders of their church, but they’re losing their families in the process. Externally, they get good publicity, but in their homes, everything is in shambles.
• They firefight rather than ignite fires. That is, much of their ministry is responding to fires, often because they believe that putting out little fires saves the church from facing bigger fires. They’re always watching for the fires of conflict, and they consequently give no attention to igniting fires of worship and evangelism among church members.
• They lead out of charisma rather than crucifixion. On the stage, they excel. Any thought of “dying to self” though, is more a matter of saying the right words than living the life. Leaders who love being on the platform seldom think about being on the altar.
• They speak the gospel on Sunday, but “foolish talking and crude joking” (Eph. 5:4) the rest of the week. For some reason, they give themselves permission to talk privately in ways they would never talk from the pulpit.
• They tell others to evangelise, but expect the lost to come to them. Others must reach out to their friends and neighbours. These leaders, though, evangelise only from the pulpit and within their offices. Any initiative belongs only to the non-believer seeking help.
• They call for sacrificial effort from their people, while they maximise their leisure. That’s often the case when no one holds them accountable for how they use their time.
• They’re aware of everyone else’s sin, but no so aware of their own. Apparently, their discernment stops with their own lives, and they genuinely miss what others see so obviously in them. Hence, they can be both arrogant and unaware—a dangerous combination.
• The Bible is their source for sermons, not their source for life. Beyond sermon preparation, their spiritual habits suggest that the Word means little to them.
Pastors, do you find yourself in any of these descriptions? If so, spend some time with the Lord.
Dr. Bola Akin-John
International Church Growth Ministry
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