The Bible is filled with multiple references to leadership and what it takes to be a good leader. The Bible talks about the effects of good leadership as well as the results of poor leadership. Leaders are responsible for how well they do their jobs and are accountable to God for leading their people astray.
Leadership principles are mentioned throughout the Bible. Leaders were needed from the very beginning, when Moses led God's people out of Egypt through the desert for 40 years and then to the Promised Land. The responsibility of leadership was too great for Moses to handle himself, so he chose leaders to whom he could delegate the lesser tasks (Exodus 18:13-27). See Resources below for more information.
The Bible defines many good qualities for leaders. In Exodus 18, Moses' father-in-law tells Moses to "select capable men from all the people--men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain" for leadership positions (Exodus 18:21). Moses chose "wise and respected men" to serve as leaders (Deuteronomy 1:15). Being "very capable" is very important for being a leader (1 Chronicles 26:6). Good leaders also "judge fairly" and "do not show partiality in judging" (Deuteronomy 1:16-17).
Those in leadership positions bear a heavy burden. They are to serve as examples to those who they are leading by living in faith and by modeling a way of life that they want the people to exhibit (Hebrews 13:7). Leaders are often privy to information that the masses do not know, so leaders must determine what to share, what not to share, and how best to direct others who do not have access to the whole picture (Galatians 2:2).
Leaders have the power to lead people in the wrong direction (1 Kings 16:2), and God holds those in leadership positions responsible when they lead His people the wrong way. (Isaiah 3:14) The Bible is filled with warnings to leaders who lead God's people astray (Leviticus 4:22). God promises to punish leaders for doing a bad job in leading God's people (Jeremiah 25:34), particularly when they lead God's people into a sinful lifestyle (Zechariah 10:3).
God calls certain people into leadership positions (1 Samuel 9:16). In fact, leadership is one of the many roles that is necessary for the Body of Christ to function well (Romans 12:4-8). God expects His people to obey and submit to the authority of the leaders that God has put into place (Hebrews 13:17). God wants leadership to be joy, not a burden (Hebrews 13:17). The best leaders lead willingly and give "freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord," which results in rejoicing by the people who are being led (1 Chronicles 29:9).
- Faith Allen