I know that there are more than three key traits to being a spiritual leader, but I thought I’d take a minute and list my top three here. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
I believe that the first quality that a spiritual leader needs to have is the ability to be a servant. We see countless times Jesus talks about being a servant and telling us that in order to be great in God’s kingdom we will need to lower ourselves and serve others. This may not be the first thing that one would look for when look for a leader, but I believe it is key to being a good spiritual leader.
The ability to be a servant will keep us from being too prideful as we are serving those that we are leading. And personally, if a leader is willing to be doing the work alongside those he is leading it is much easier to respect and be on board with that leader. (click to tweet that)
The second quality that I would think is essential for a spiritual leader is teachability. If we think we know what we are doing or that we can stop growing as a leader (or a person) then we will not be a very good leader for long, if we happen to start out as one.
When we are teachable we allow others (through classes, mentors, friendships and books) to speak into our lives. We are willing to take advice and criticism from others and better ourselves because of it. Having a teachable spirit is key to growing not only as a follower of Christ but also as a spiritual leader.
One more key quality of a spiritual leader would be passion.
Doing something that one has to do will rarely, if ever, produce the results of doing something that one feels passionate about and called to do.
If you asked me to lead a men’s Bible study for 60-70 year olds on Tuesdays at 10:00AM, I could probably do it. I’d read the material ahead of time and would probably enjoy discussing the Word and learning together with and from a group of men, but it’s not my passion. I could get it done, but I would not be the most effective leader. We can lead for a time from a place of knowing that there was an opening that needed to be filled and we were qualified, but when we are passionate about the place in which we are leading we will have a dedication that is far beyond that of someone who is just filling a role. If we feel called to where we are serving, longer hours and harder work will seem like a minor price to pay as we pursue what God has called us to.
If we have a servant’s heart, a teachable spirit and are passionate about where we are leading I believe that we will be effective as spiritual leaders. There are many other qualities that are important and should not be overlooked as well, but I believe that these three are a good starting place.