According to God’s Word, there are certain characteristics that should be manifest in the life of a Christian before they are appointed to or accept a position of leadership.
- They should be respected and have integrity.
- They should not be greedy or envious.
- They must “keep hold of the deep truths of the [Christian] faith” (1 Timothy 3:9) as revealed in God’s Word.
- They should live with a clear conscience.
- They should not speak evil of others.
- They should be self-controlled and faithful in all they do.
- They should be able to express the basic truths of the Christian faith.
- They should not be quarrelsome, but kind and patient, even with difficult people.
(1 Timothy 3:8–11; 2 Timothy 2:24–25)
Keep in mind that none of this implies sinless perfection, but rather, the overall focus of a life and heart devoted to the Lord.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:10).
Am I called to lead a study?
The Lord Jesus Christ called all who follow Him to share the gospel and lead others to faith in Him (Mark 16:15, Luke 5:10, 1 Peter 3:15). He has specifically called some of us to feed His sheep—that is, to help believers study and understand His Word (John 21:17, Ephesians 4:11–15). A Joy of Living leader is called to do both of these, to care for both unbelievers and believers. Any Bible study (including our Joy of Living Bible studies) should:
- lead people to faith in Jesus Christ
- help them develop a relationship with Him.
- help them study and apply His Word to their lives in order to grow into strong, mature Christians.
Where am I in my spiritual walk?
You can lead no one further spiritually than you have gone yourself. Make certain that you:
- spend time with God daily.
- seek to know Him better through the study of His Word.
- yield yourself to Him for His use.
- ask Him to show you the areas of your life that are not pleasing to Him and to change you. You might ask yourself, “Does my life reveal the joy of the Lord, the peace of His presence and the victory of my faith? Does my life overflow with His love?”
- pray for those within your care. Pray for the salvation of those who have not yet come to saving faith in Him and for the spiritual growth of those who have. Pray for their personal needs and for their loved ones (Ephesians 1:18–19; 3:16–19; 1 Timothy 2:1–8).
- ask God to use you to touch those in your care with His love.
Do I have the priorities of a leader?
Your first priority must be your own relationship with the Lord. As you take on the responsibilities of leadership, never let service to others supersede your own fellowship with Him. Don’t merely fit time with the Lord into your schedule, but plan your schedule around Him—plan to spend time alone with Him.
God does not want you to neglect your family, either. Ask God to help you organize your time so that you’ll fulfill family obligations. If you are employed, stay committed to serving faithfully in your workplace as well.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Encouragement for leaders
There may be times when you feel inadequate. Remember what He has said in His Word:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10).
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:10–11).
Remember: it is not by your power, might, wisdom, ability or talents that you will accomplish what God has called you to do. It is by His grace and for His praise and glory that you will succeed (Zechariah 4:6).