We all know the scripture that says, "There's wisdom in the multitude of counsel" (Proverbs 11:14), right? But the truth I've found is that it's important to choose our counselors wisely. Though scripture tells us that we are to submit to authorities and leadership, it also cautions us to guard our hearts because out of it flow the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). Giving access to our hearts to people solely based on their title or position can be incredibly destructive if not done so with discernment. This morning I asked God to reveal qualities of a leader who leads with Kingdom values in accordance with His anointing. In a matter of moments, He downloaded the following list:
These attributes are universal for Christ-following leaders in every sphere of influence:
1. Their Fruit is evident & authentic.
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). This fruit should not only be evident but proven to be authentic. A few years ago, the Lord spoke to me about this and said, "Even fake fruit looks delicious from afar." Some fruit is plastic or styrofoam. This is why it is important to establish a quality relationship so that you are able to adequately investigate the fruit. Allow for some time and testing to happen before you entrust them to be a voice of counsel in your life.
Scripture tells us that leaders operating with His name must "live above reproach" (1 Timothy 3:2). Meaning, they take any measures necessary to guard and protect themselves, their spouses and families and the hearts of their constituents. They live a life of honor and put healthy boundaries in place to avoid compromising situations or conduct themselves in ways that could even be perceived as questionable.
2. They're honest about their struggles & weaknesses.
This takes courage and vulnerability. Kingdom Leaders are less concerned about the perception of perfection but know that Transparency Transforms. By being open about their struggles and weaknesses, it increases intimacy through relatability. Who wants to follow a leader that falsely portrays they have it all together, lives in fear of appearing weak or perfectly polished and put together? This is real life and at times, it's less than glamorous. Kingdom Leaders aren't afraid to share the less-than-perfect stuff because they're confident in who they are in Christ and are committed to the sanctification process.
As The great Apostle Paul says "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Steven Furtick once said the most powerful way to connect and minister is to simply say, "Me too!"
3. They model a life with healthy balance.
Kingdom Leaders model and maintain boundaries and don't buy into the lie they always have to be "on call" nor do they expect you to always be "on call." As you witness their lives, you will notice Kingdom Leaders as people who are devoted to intimate time with God, prioritize family, strive for rest (Hebrews 4:11), and know that not everything that is emergent is an emergency. Not only do they live this way, they encourage you to do the same and do not encroach on your time simply because it's convenient or urgent for them.
4. They take interest in your personal, professional and spiritual life.
Kingdom Leaders care more about YOU and not just about what you DO. They invest time with you and express interest in all areas of your life. They show genuine care and compassion if there are challenges in your family, difficulty in your job, issues with your health, and areas in need of spiritual strengthening. They are genuinely concerned with your overall health and recognize that you are valuable and worth investing in.
5. They honor their leaders.
Even great leaders need great leaders. (Examples: Steven Furtick is pastored by Craig Groeschell, Christine Caine by Joyce Meyer, Havilah Cunnington by Lisa Bevere, Kris Vallotton by Bill Johnson). A Kingdom Leader speaks well of their leadership and shows them honor, even if they don't fully understand or agree. They can speak of challenges in a way that is encouraging and helpful and are willing to disclose not just what they're GOING through, but what they're GROWING through with their leadership. They're glad to talk about what they've learned in their journey through correction and submission recognizing the Biblical principle that we all reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).
6. Kingdom Leaders are learners.
Kingdom Leaders are always on the journey of growth and improvement. They take time to seek out wisdom and counsel, mentorship, and guidance and to enhance their interpersonal communication and leadership skills. They will have a library of resources to recommend such as books, podcasts, classes, etc. They don't claim to know everything about everything but they position themselves to be a resource to The Source.
7. They foster environments where failure is viewed as fertilization.
A Kingdom Leader knows that failure is inevitable and it's a vital part of the growth process. They do not address failure with condemnation or shame, nor do they exclude or excommunicate. Instead, they journey through failures showing grace (love and forgiveness as well as empowerment and encouragement). They openly take responsibility for their part in failure and do not use blame and shame tactics. They partner with Holy Spirit and echo His counsel as Advocate and call you UP (into your kingdom identity) and not call you OUT.
8. They give space for you to express your ideas, concerns and solutions.
Kingdom Leaders are not bullies, managers or dictators. They create space for you to bring your thoughts and ideas to the table. Though your ideas may not be aligned with the overall vision, the timing may be off or it's just not a probable solution, they show gratitude for your willingness to come forth with your input.
9. They champion your gifts and talents & challenge your weaknesses.
Kingdom Leaders know the great responsibility they have to coach you into your greatness not simply exploit or abuse your gifts solely for their benefit. They aim to position you for success. They want you to be in positions where you will thrive and grow.
Kingdom Leaders will also challenge you with truth and love and will often push you beyond your comfort zone and be there to cheer you along in your growth process. They will challenge your limiting beliefs, deconstruct your fears, stretch your capacity, and cause you to dig deep even when it's uncomfortable. They will always draw your attention heavenward and inward before passing judgment, taking sides, or coming to conclusions without due diligence.
10. They celebrate your God-given uniqueness.
Kingdom Leaders understand you're an intentionally designed Child of God. They aim to see you how God sees you and embrace how He's made you. They will not criticize what they don't understand, try to "reel you in" (as if you're a fish), or attempt to control you and make you conform to the image of who THEY think you should be. They partner with God and help you navigate your unique qualities. They understand that you can still have unity and be individually unique.
11. They understand healthy confrontation.
Kingdom Leaders don't shy away from confronting things head on to avoid confusion, misinterpretation, accusation or assumption. They are comfortable having a conversation without preconceived notions to truly seek to understand before being understood. Kingdom Leaders have a great responsibility to care for a wide range of people and there undoubtedly will be times when correction is needed. They simply approach each situation with Kingdom solutions as their goal. They speak with directness, not ambiguity, with sternness wrapped in love. They confront quickly so as not to allow room for offense or defensiveness to harbor. They don't passively shrink back, stone wall or give the silent treatment. They address what needs to be addressed and do so with an open heart knowing they may not have all the information and that their perception may be in error.
12. They don't mistake ministry for manipulation.
Kingdom Leaders who are called by God understand that creating a safe place to be fully accepted and able to express who you are doesn't mean you're always going to agree. The Lord is seeing a large movement toward family-like discipleship and promoting covenant family as a means to disciple. While this ideology isn't necessarily unbiblical (we see the Apostle Paul speaking of Timothy as his spiritual son), there is a fine line of caution to address. Kingdom Leaders must be careful to check their heart. If claiming you have tons of "Spiritual sons and daughters" brings you a sense of pride, this could border on sin. Furthermore, leaders who use the covenant family concept to control or manipulate by asserting authority for personal agenda are not operating with Kingdom Leadership. Kingdom Leaders aren't looking to prop themselves up on pedestals of people's hearts which makes them an idol or striving for authority to satisfy one's need for significance. Instead, Kingdom Leaders know that CHRIST is the head of The Church and that above ALL, God is our Father.
What qualities do you value most in Kingdom leadership?