After ten years of teaching on the “Biblical Essence of Leadership” at Trinity Evangelical Divinity school, Dr. Crawford Loritts wrote the book Leadership as an Identity (2009). Even a cursory glance at those who lead in the Bible reveals that they were quite a cast of characters – different personality types, abilities, experiences, successes, and failures. Dr. Loritts argues that Christian leaders who wield a lasting influence share four common character traits. They are not character traits the secular world necessarily values – but God does not look for leaders the way the world looks for leaders. Here’s what Dr. Loritts has to say:
CHARACTER TRAIT #1 – BROKENNESS
The first character trait is brokenness – a conscious, core awareness that you need God in all things. A broken person has come to realize that he is nothing and can do nothing apart from God’s presence and enabling power. “No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me… apart from Me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:4-5)
On surrendering to God:
Brokenness is not a one-time event. It is never finished, it’s an on-going process. Surrender is the leader’s response to brokenness. In fact, you cannot truly be a Christian without surrender. And God wants you to keep turning from yourself and continually turning over to Him all that you are and all the He has placed in your hands to work with. Effective Christian leadership is sustained by surrender.
Remember King Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26? He was such an amazing leader and “As long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.” (v.5) But, “After Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God…” (v.16)
A sense of inadequacy is vital to fruitful ministry. Brokenness is an essential pathway that we must travel to get to effective leadership. Pride gets in the way, but humility empowers leaders.
On Falling Into Sin:
Remember that you are only one decision away from losing the ability to lead. Sin so easily entangles us. We are called to exercise self control in all things as Paul writes, “I discipline my body and keep in under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (2 Cor 9:27) Patterns of sin should not dominate our lives. As Christian leaders we must be engaged in a constant process of self-evaluation and repentance.
On the Strength of Weakness:
The world abhors weak leaders. Yet it is the pride in us that is perhaps the worst weakness of all. In God’s world, weakness means you are useable. Remember Moses and all his excuses about why he couldn’t lead Israel out of captivity? Jesus said “My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)
“When God’s warrior marches forth to battle strong in his own might, defeat is not far distant.” –Charles Spurgeon
Of course, leaders are always in over their heads. That’s because God’s assignments are supernatural in nature and He gives them to us – fragile, weak, broken, clay pots! Learn to delegate, you cannot do it all.
However, once injured… You must avoid being stuck and overwhelmed by an unhealthy, wounded condition. Get back up again. Embrace and overcome your errors.
On Seasons of Brokenness:
God often takes us through seasons of brokenness to keep us under His shadow and to tie our hearts to His. Our pride must be dismantled. There are monumental wrestling matches in the life of every leader whom God would trust with His assignments. Remember Jacob, who encountered God and left with a limp? (Gen 32) God uses brokenness as a tool to prepare you for the assignments He has for you.
If a leader does not humble himself, he leaves God no choice but to humiliate him. And He will because He must. The work of His Kingdom cannot be left at the mercy of a leader who is wrapped up in himself.” – Tim Kimmel
I must ask myself…
Surrender. Self-evaluation. Repentance. Recovery. Endurance. Humility.
How am I doing? How are you doing? Let us keep our hearts right before God, so He doesn’t have to put us back in our proper places…