At Work & Theology 101

Twenty-One Words That Describe Christian Leadership

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Editor’s note: Today we introduce Glenn Brooke, a new contributor to the IFWE blog. He is an author, scientist, and entrepreneur specializing in leadership development. He will be posting periodically about leadership from a Christian perspective.

There may be no better summary of the characteristics of leaders than this, from the final instructions Paul gives at the end of 1 Corinthians:

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).

  • Leaders are watchful – they observe, they stand guard against that which would destroy, they persevere. They study the world and perceive trends. Leaders anticipate dangers and opportunities.
  • Leaders stand firm in the faith – they stand rather than wobble, they stand rather than run. Leaders stand on truth with a worldview giving them both purpose and courage.
  • Leaders act in boldness and gentleness, influencing and shaping others around them. Leaders put others first. They lead from the front: “First in the attack and last in the retreat.”
  • Leaders are strong – others can count on them. Leaders have enough strength to share and embolden others. Leaders protect and provide for others by using their strengths.
  • Leaders do everything in love – they’re tough on issues and tender with people. The best leadership is love.

Memorize this verse. 

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  • 53rdChapter

    The passage “act like men” is rendered “be brave” in the NKJ and “be men of courage” in the NIV. I prefer the greater specificity of these, particularly the latter. Look forward to checking out Glenn’s book, “Teach the Bible to Change Lives” as the need for Biblical literacy and familiarity will be the key ingredient if we are to ever find our way out of the post-modern wilderness in which we live. We have echoed the Lord’s warning through the prophet Amos, not by His doing, but by our own apathy:

    “… I will send a famine on the land,
    Not a famine of bread,
    Nor a thirst for water,
    But of hearing the words of the Lord.” Amos 8:11 NKJ

    • Glenn Brooke

      Thanks for your comment. “Act like men” probably doesn’t resonate well in a world that despises chivalry and has lost a healthy view of manhood/masculinity. Both men and women can be courageous and brave. You’re right about the Amos 8:11 prophecy. It’s sobering that between the OT and NT there was a 400 year stretch without a word from God.

  • Theo Entrepreneur

    Leaders need a vision grounded in a worldview that best fits the context of the mission. While the 21 words are certainly important, when the tough times come, and they will, you must own the purpose that God has given you.

  • Jonathan Waterman

    Very inspiring…thanks for the post.

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