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Identifying Leaders

Some believers have a healthy desire to be a leader and patiently wait for the offer/opportunity, because they want to be ready for it. Mature believers know that leadership requires some serious emotional, social, relational, and oversight skills, so it can be wise in any case, to start with learning to become more skillful in leadership, before stepping into more responsibility. A leadership office isn’t something to be earned or claimed; humility is required for healthy leadership.

Questions are: who is helping these believers become ready for leadership, and who is recruiting them? Leaders are to produce leaders (2 Timothy 2:2). Leaders also ought to be ‘apt to teach’ (1 Timothy 3:2), and that should include teaching about teamwork & leadership as well. Else, the mistake will be made to have goal-getters to be seen as leaders. Often goal-getters know how to do products (things), which doesn’t necessarily mean they are capable for leading people.

For any leader, it can seem difficult to select the right people for a team and then give others an opportunity to lead. A position always comes with responsibility and one must commit to it. Without discernment and wisdom, you may end up with the wrong person in a spot, and that is always tough to reverse.

I remember that when I was a young pastor, I was just happy with anyone who was willing to participate or lead. I noticed from experience though that some believers thought they were capable leaders, but were actually quite the opposite. When doing a task, they were very submissive, but when they had to lead, they became very dictatorial or apathetic. I realized I needed to re-train myself and to start teaching about leadership and teamwork in order to have better discernment about their motive and ‘desire to be a leader’.

1.Timothy 3:1 says that if a man desires to be an overseer, he desires a good work. If you do a word study on the ‘desire’ found here, you will see that they are actually two different Greek words. The first ‘desire’ is more like a willingness to stretch oneself. I knew I had to stretch and grow in leadership skills if I expected them to grow as well. The second ‘desire’ is a different word, meaning: to set a heart upon. Leaders need to have both a willingness to be stretched and learn, as well the right heart towards leadership.

In addition to looking at specific skills and leadership abilities, this combination of ‘desire’ has helped me to recruit new leaders. When someone has just one and is missing out on the other, I won’t let them have a leadership position (yet). If they miss out on a willingness to be stretched, they will overestimate themselves and underestimate the responsibility required. If they have not yet set their hearts towards it (commitment), they will underestimate themselves and overestimate the responsibility.

I also look to see the motive behind the desire: do they want to see the work being increased and improved (+), or are they more focused on having a position of leadership (-).

Here are some things to look for in potential leaders:

Watch the following teaching to find out more about How to Identify Leaders.


Here at The Church Building System, we want to help you by providing the step-by-step methodology for how to build your church (or ministry organization). We have tools and resources available to help you along your leadership journey.

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Not all leader re created equal
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