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Spiritual Gifts, pt. 8

The Gift of Leadership




Aka:  ruling (Rom. 12)/administration (test)/governments (I Cor. 12)



 “The special ability to lead, administrate, and organize a portion of the body of Christ in a particular area of service”



Nehemiah is our example:

Neh. 2


Leaders think differently than followers. 


4 ways leaders think differently:

  1. Continually
  2. Outside the box
  3. Think in terms of continual progress
  4. Leaders think in terms of “success”


5 things leaders assume:

  • it’ll work—plenty of naysayers (LCT/2nd a.m. service)
  • it’ll work out—when back against the wall, in a pinch
  • people will follow (build it:  they will come) 
  • setbacks will occur—know that challenges will arise, and not afraid to take them on head first!

Resources will come—knows that where God guides He provides… “that’s God’s problem!”



B.             Leaders bring others along (Neh. 2:18)

If no one’s following, you’re just taking a walk!


  1. The journey goes slower
  2. The responsibility is greater
  3. It’s worth it
  1. Leaders have a willingness to endure criticism in order to accomplish the ultimate task

Yet most would rather be ruined by praise than helped by criticism!

D.             Leaders know when to delegate

E.Leaders are not afraid of making tough decisions and sticking with them



1.     Their delegation is often misunderstood as a lack of concern.

It’s extremely important for leaders to delegate.

Nehemiah not only had to repair the broken down walls all around Jerusalem, but also 12 gates.

        And so he assigned a leader (delegated) to oversee the work on each of the 12 gates.

You that are followers:  just because a leader delegates doesn’t mean he’s unconcerned.

Leaders:  show concern…make every attempt to be involved as well…(servant-leader)


Pastor at risk:  You can only do so much…have to delegate/learn to say no/limit counseling to 1 hour (delegate assignment!)/train someone to take something over


Inevitably someone will see delegation and say, “the pastor doesn’t care!”

        I need to do all I can to show that I care, but you reach a certain point where you have to show your care in another way:

I care enough not to allow myself to get burned out

…to lose my health…lose my family

If I save that marriage and lose my own, I have to leave the ministry!

If I work so hard trying to please everyone that I burn out, I will have pleased everyone for a few months, and blown the 30 years I had to go!


It is a necessity for a good leader to delegate, and followers must understand that.


Fact is, I want things to be done 1st class…but you can only do a couple of things and do them well…or you can try to do everything and do it poorly.  Better to train 10 people to work than to do the work of 10 people.

        I could spend a few minutes on a project and do a poor job of it…or could delegate it to someone who can invest the time to do it right.

“The successful pastor surrounds himself w/ people who can do the job better than he can”.


Leaders:  perception is reality!  You don’t want to be perceived as unconcerned.  I’ve challenged the followers to be understanding…but what if they’re not?


What can you do to help avoid the danger of seeming to be unconcerned?

Simple phone call/note/email/card (can’t be at the visitation/funeral of everyone’s aunt’s 2nd cousin once removed)

        I’m there in spirit…I’m concerned…I care!


  1. A willingness to endure criticism may appear as callousness.

Leaders have to have thick skin…they’re not deterred by criticism…and oftentimes it looks like they’re callous/hard hearted.

Leaders cannot have the luxury of wallowing in self-pity every time they’re criticized. 

Ill.—radio ministry/grace notes letters of criticism I’ve received…

Read/consider/file 13

        Mercy people say:  Bro. Jerry, don’t you care what others think?/how church perceived?/aren’t you worried?/feel abused, misunderstood?


The answer is yes, to all the above…but most important is that I’m right w/ God, even if what we do sometimes is not popular…after that, it’s in God’s hands, He’s my defender!  I'm performing for the audience of One!


Look how Nehemiah responded when criticized:

6:3   3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?


(on visitation:  you can argue on a doorstep w/ someone who only wants to win you, or you can do what Jesus did and go to those who want help and need it!)


Some criticisms hit closer to home…when it’s not a stranger, but a brother or a sister.  But strong leadership isn’t chopped down by the dullest blades that come against it!


On the other hand, strong leadership learns its weaknesses/liabilities/potential dangers/likely misperceptions, and does all it can to avoid them.


Leaders:  delegate, but show you’re concerned…and endure criticism w/ your thick skin, but let everyone see the soft heart underneath…try not to appear calloused!


  1. Danger of becoming prideful.

Leadership can easily breed pride…on the platform/church growing/good times

        Satan wants to take out men of God (bullseye)…and he’s taken out a lot of us (friends of mine) by convincing us to take the credit.

Ill.—no limit to what God can do here if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit, and if God gets all the glory for it.

(give man the glory, put him on the pedestal, you’re setting him up for the fall…and yourself, too!)


More people have been destroyed by success than failure ever thought about destroying!

        It takes a special person to be able to handle success/authority…and here’s why:

Ill.—Barney Fife syndrome—get a couple of deputies under you (Gomer and Goober) and they want to put their feet up on the desk and tell ‘em what to do/be a big shot/throw their weight around…Andy left Barney in charge/as soon as taillights out of sight… “You heard him, I’m in charge, now hop 2, 3, 4!”  "Here at the rock we have certain rules!"


Leaders, remember that the God who promoted you can bring you down

(Dan. 7--those who walk in pride He is able to abase!)


  1. Danger of trying to lead from a shaky platform

(figurative platform)

Here’s some shaky platforms of leadership that will ultimately give out:

  • Personal charm—great personality, people follow them because of magnetism they have…so compelling, but no character…walk doesn’t match talk…don’t practice what preach…eventually people see thru it…they’re all suit and no underwear!…motivational, challenging, but they don’t live it ‘cuz there’s nothing underneath it all!
  • Popularity—spends all his time trying to keep the majority on his side…keep people happy…don’t offend anyone!…stroke egos…avoid controversial subjects.  These leaders end up offending their best people!
  • Programs—leader tries to keep everyone busy…so they don’t have time to gossip/gripe…this shaky platform leads to burnout of God’s people… they say, “idle hands…”, but do God’s people have to be out of breath all the time?  Youth philosophy:  keep ‘em busy (good), but even better is to teach them to have a personal relationship / commitment to God that goes deeper than just programs.
  • Platform of causes—let’s fight the latest political cause…can be good w/in certain bounds, but over-indulgence can lead to the causes being a substitute for genuine spirituality….some fight for prayer in school and feel spiritual because of it (though they may not have had their own devotional time w/ God that day!)…City of Decatur:  sexual preference/sexual orientation…PB—5,000 seat tavern (several hundred of our folks came out for that)  Pray about abortion or for America…altar full!
  • Self-promotion—leader focuses ministry on himself.  Bragging/elevating himself/hero of every illustration/developing followers of himself rather than followers of the Lord!  But when your faults show thru, the platform falls.  We should be transparent, show our faults, weaknesses, and let people see us growing in them!
  • Credentials—Earns his degree and thinks you should automatically follow him.  “a degree may get you in the door, but once you’re in, it’s just a wall decoration, it’s time to prove yourself.”  (Curtis Hutson:  (like Moody and Sunday) never graduated from high school…built a great church.  Received honorary doctorate.  They asked him how he felt about it… “kinda like the curl in a pig’s tail…kinda cute, but it don’t make no more pork!” 
  • Assumed authority—dictator…comes in and lets everyone know they spell Pastor w/ a capital P!  And the only group of people you can lead that way is a group w/ no self-esteem…beaten down/lorded over…but you’ll never lead anyone to do something great for God w/ a dictatorial style of leadership!  It’s resented/it’s not effective…people like to know they are respected…that their opinion matters/is at least considered.                         

Survey of employees:  What do you want from your boss?  Multiple choice answers to choose from:  better pay/benefits/vacation time?   No...more respect (#1)


The only platform to lead from that is stable, not shaky:


I Tim. 4:12—“let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers…”

Paul:  Kid, respect doesn’t have to do w/ age…but…respect is not a gift…it must be earned.

        If people respect you, they will follow your leadership, even if they don’t like you!/even when you rub them the wrong way/even when they don’t agree w/ you!


Leaders:  what platform are you leading from?  Don’t do anything to undermine respect…be an example.


Poor attendance by a leader undermines respect/so does bad attitude/half-hearted devotion/procrastination/tardiness


Leadership is one of the spiritual gifts…no more important or less important than any other.  But we all are leaders at some level!


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