QUALIFICATIONS FOR LEADERS
Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:
C Write the Key Verse from memory.
C Define "qualifications.”
C Define the outer fruit of the Spirit.
C Define the inner fruit of the Spirit.
C Identify the two main Scriptures which list specific qualifications for leaders.
C List four qualifications required of all spiritual leaders.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
When God calls a believer to leadership, He wants to properly equip him to serve.
Because specific tasks and callings are different, there are unique qualities necessary for
various leadership positions in the Body of Christ. God equips each leader in different
While God gives leaders specific qualities necessary for their own callings, there are also general qualifications which are required for all spiritual leaders. These qualifications are the subject of this lesson which discusses the basic requirements, spiritual fruit, and
specific and general qualifications for leadership.
Qualifications are not natural abilities. They are qualities of character and conduct.
Biblical qualifications for leadership are qualities of character and conduct described for leaders in God’s Word. They are evidences of a godly lifestyle.
People often consider a leader’s abilities as most important and ignore their qualifications for leadership. For example, people may judge a pastor on the basis of his good
preaching. But while he might be able to impress people with his speaking abilities, he
may be seriously lacking in the Biblical qualifications of a godly lifestyle which is required for leaders.
Spiritual leadership should be developed and evaluated on the basis of Biblical standards. The test of any ministry is not by spiritual gifts, power, or natural ability. Ministries are to be evaluated on the evidences of a godly lifestyle, also called "spiritual fruit":
Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them… (Matthew 7:20)
The fruit, or spiritual qualities of a person , reveals what he is like inside :
For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is
good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that
which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. (Luke
A man may have personal appeal (charisma ) that can be mistaken for spiritual power. He may even do miracles in the name of the Lord. But Jesus said:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven.
In that day will they not say unto me have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)
Jude warned against those who would "creep in" to the church and teach false doctrine. He said one way to recognize them was by the lack of fruit in their lives:
…These are…trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots. (Jude 12)
The important thing in any ministry is the fruit because… "By their FRUITS ye shall know them."
There are four basic requirements for all leaders. A Christian leader must be:
1. Born Again: He must be a true believer in Jesus Christ according to the
instructions given in John 3.
2. Baptized In The Holy Spirit: He should have the evidence of a powerful witness as
described in Acts 1:8.
3. Called And Anointed To Be A Leader: People must be called and anointed of God
to fill leadership positions in the Church.
4. Spiritually Mature: A leader should not be a carnal believer (I Corinthians 3:1) or
a new Christian (I Timothy 3:6). He should have experienced the foundations of
faith described in Hebrews 6:1-3 and moved on to spiritual maturity as this passage
Spiritual maturity involves a good personal relationship with the Lord including good prayer and Bible study habits. If you are to lead others in the ways of God, you must communicate with Him yourself and have knowledge of His Word. You can attend leadership seminars, go to college, and read many books on leadership, but unless you continue to seek the Lord your ministry will fail.
FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The fruit of the Holy Spirit refers to the nature of the Spirit revealed in the life of the
believer. It is spiritual qualities which should be evident in the lives of all Christians, but especially in spiritual leaders.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are for power. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is for character. Spiritual fruit is evidence of spiritual maturity . Just as fruit takes time to develop in the natural world , spiritual fruit takes time to develop . It is the product of natural growth in the life of the Spirit.
The Bible speaks of two kinds of spiritual fruit: The outer fruit of evangelism and the inner fruit of godly spiritual qualities . Spiritual leaders should bear fruit by being a powerful witness of the Gospel message:
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain…
The last command of Jesus before returning to Heaven was:
Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
He challenged His disciples with a great vision of spiritual harvest:
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30)
The power of the Holy Spirit enables believers to be spiritually fruitful through evangelism :
But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
The method of spiritual reproduction is given in II Timothy 2:2:
And the thing that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
(II Timothy 2:2)
Because of the importance of the fruit of evangelism, Harvestime International Institute offers a course on this subject entitled "Leaven-Like Evangelism.”
In addition to the spiritual fruit of evangelism, leaders should also develop the fruit of Christ-likeness:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
These are inner qualities the Holy Spirit wants to develop in the life of a leader. They are qualities that were evident in the life of Jesus Christ. This is why we call them "Christlike qualities .”
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is found in every act of goodness, righteousness, and truth done by believers:
For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth. (Ephesians 5:9)
The fruit of the Holy Spirit also includes the following specific qualities:
Love is an emotion of deep affection, care, and concern. It involves caring for people,
being friendly, sympathetic, compassionate, understanding, comforting, encouraging, and attentive .
The leader must love God (Mark 1 2:30 ). Love is to be shown by the leader to his
followers, all believers, and the unsaved (I Peter 1:22; Luke 6:27,32,35; Matthew 5:4344; 19: 19; John 13 :34 -35 ; 15 :9,1 2; 1 7:2 6; I John 2 :9-1 0).
The leader’s work for the Lord is to be a labor of love (I Thessalonians 1:3). Faith works by love (Galatians 5:6) and spiritual gifts work through love (I Corinthians 13 ). Love is the key to success of all ministry (I Corinthians 13 ).
Love involves tact, which is an ability to get along with others and relate to them in a positive manner. It is an ability to say and do what is necessary and difficult without offending others.
Joy is a quality of gladness, delight, and jubilance. It is God’s desire that you have joy
(John 15 :11 ; 17 :13 ). The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Ghost (Acts 1 3:5 2). The source of joy is not in worldly things. It is in God (Psalms 16:11). Because true joy is spiritual and not dependent on outward circumstances, the leader can rejoice in
temptation and trials (James 1:2; II Corinthians 7:4). He can be longsuffering with joy
Peace is a condition of quiet, calm, tranquility, and harmony. It is the absence of strife, anxiety, and concern. A leader with this quality is reliable and able to keep his head in
emergencies because he can keep calm .
Confusion is the opposite of peace. God does not cause confusion. His desire is to bring peace (I Corinthians 14:33). All true peace comes through Jesus Christ (Acts 10:36;
Ephesians 2:14; Romans 5:1; John 1 4:27; 16:33 ).
Leaders should follow after things which result in peace (Romans 14:1 9) and live in
peace with others (II Corinthians 13:1 1; Hebrews 12:1 4). Unity, which is necessary in any effective ministry, is kept through peace (Ephesians 4:3). The peace of God must rule the heart of the ruler (Colossians 3 :15).
Longsuffering is the quality of patience . It is the ability to cheerfully bear an unbearable
situation and patiently endure. Longsuffering was a quality evident in the ministry of the
Apostle Paul (II Timothy 3:10). We are to be longsuffering with joyfulness (Colossians
The leader should preach God’s Word with longsuffering (II Timothy 4:2 ) and relate to others with this quality (Ephesians 4:2). He must "put on" longsuffering as a spiritual quality (Colossians 3:12).
Gentleness is the quality of having a mild manner, not being severe, violent, or loud. It is a quiet and respectful kindness. The Bible warns believers not to strive but to be gentle to all men (II Timothy 2:24 ). We are not to be brawlers. Brawlers are people who are
always fighting or arguing (Titus 3:2). We are to be easily entreated. That means we are to be easily approached by others because of our gentle nature (James 3 :17).
A gentle leader is a great leader. David wrote:
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation; and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. (Psalms 18:35)
Goodness is acts of holiness or righteous acts. God fills the hungry with goodness
(Psalms 1 07:9). As believers, the goodness and mercy of God follow us (Psalms 23:6).
Faith is an attitude of belief, expectation , and hope towards God (Hebrews 12:1 ). It is believing that all God said is true and that nothing is impossible. Faith, combined with the work of the ministry, accomplishes great things for the Kingdom of God.
Faith is an attitude of confidence in God which makes followers feel confident and builds
their faith . It is the belief that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth
Meekness is controlled strength. Disciplining of others should be done in meekness
(Galatians 6:1) and it helps the leader keep unity in the church (Ephesians 4:1-3). It
should be used in dealing with all men (Titus 3:2; II Timothy 2:24-25). A wise man is a meek man (James 3:13). All believers are encouraged to seek this quality (Colossians 3:12; I Timothy 6:11 ; Zephaniah 2:3).
Temperance is moderation in emotions, thought, and actions. It is self-control.
Temperance is mastery in all things (I Corinthians 9:27 and 9:19- 27). We are to add temperance to our lives (II Peter 1:6).
In addition to spiritual fruit, the Bible identifies specific qualifications for leaders. These are found in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The following qualifications are those listed for pastors, bishops, elders, or deacons. Although these qualifications are identified for
specific offices, they are desirable for all leadership positions:
BISHOPS AND ELDERS:
Above Reproach: Should have a good reputation , moral, disciplined, and not be in violation of God’s Word : I Timothy 3: 2; Titus 1 :6,7
Husband Of One Wife: If married, should have only one mate: I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6 . (The support and cooperation of the mate in ministry is also important.)
Temperate: Moderate in all things: Titus 1:8; I Timothy 3:2
Self-controlled: Demonstrate control in all areas of life and conduct. If a man is to lead others , he must be able to control himself: Titus 1:8
Sober, Vigilant: This means the leader is knowledgeable, sensible, wise, and practical: I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8
Hospitable: Home is open to others: I Timothy 3:2 ; Titus 1 :8
Able To Teach: Has an ability to communicate God’s Word to others: I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1 :9
Not Addicted To Wine: I Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7
Patient: Opposite of being quick tempered: I Timothy 3:3
Not Self-willed: Not self-centered and always wanting their own way: Titus 1:7
Not A New Convert: Must have maturity and experience as a believer: I Timothy 3:6
Loving What Is Good: Supporting all that is worthwhile to God and His purposes: Titus
Just: Fair in dealing with people : Titus 1 :8
Stable In The Word: Titus 1 :9
Holy: Righteous , sanctified: Titus 1:8
Not Fond Of Sordid Gain: Not greedy for financial gain. Free from the love of money : Titus 1 :7; I Timothy 3:3
Manages His Own Household Well: Must show leadership ability in his own family : I Timothy 3:4-5
Having Children Who Believe: Must have children who have responded to the Lord and are not rebellious: Titus 1:6
Good Reputation With Those Outside: Must have a good testimony among non -believers: I Timothy 3:7
Dignity: Must be respected and demonstrate a serious mind and character: I Timothy 3:8 Not Double Tongued: Does not give conflicting reports: I Timothy 3:8
Not Addicted To Much Wine: I Timothy 3:8
Not Fond Of Sordid Gain: Not greedy for financial gain: I Timothy 3:8 Settled In His Commitment To The Faith: I Timothy 3:9
Tested: A person who has undergone spiritual trials and temptations and proven faithful: I Timothy 3:10
Beyond Reproach: The absence of any charge of bad conduct: I Timothy 3:10 Husband Of One Wife: If married, should have one mate: I Timothy 3:12
Good Managers Of Household: Must demonstrate leadership in family life: I Timothy
Proven: Not a new convert, but proven as a believer: I Timothy 3:10
Here are some additional qualifications which are important for leaders:
A man who leads must have vision. Vision involves knowing your purpose in God’s plan, being able to hear God’s voice, and knowing His will and purposes.
Paul was a good example of a leader with vision. Paul was able to lead others because he had a clear vision of what God had called him to do. In the later years of his ministry he said, "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision."
Vision enables a leader to project into the future beyond the present and believe God for great things.
A leader should show concern for excellence, not settling for "average" or "good enough" in the work of the Lord . He should be efficient and competent, not slothful in ministry . He should be punctual, thorough, loyal, and dependable.
"Decisiveness" means the ability to make firm decisions, not being swayed back and forth
in indecision. When all the facts are in, the ability to make a swift and clear decision is the mark of a good leader.
A good sense of humor, which is the ability to see the funny side of things, will help in difficult situations.
A leader must not be fearful. He must be courageous and able to stand in the face of opposition by Satan or man (Nehemiah 6:11).
A POSITIVE ATTITUDE:
Discouragement and a negative attitude result in defeat. Difficult circumstances are tests to leadership. Do they discourage you ? Do they destroy, defeat, or deter you? Leaders must develop a positive attitude, a spirit of encouragement instead of discouragement. Your attitude will not only affect your performance as a leader, but will be communicated to your followers. A negative , discouraged leader has negative , discouraged followers.
The main task of leadership is to equip people for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4: 12). An equipper is able to organize, motivate, and mobilize people. He shows zeal and enthusiasm for the work of God. He communicates these attitudes to followers and motivates and encourages them for the work of the ministry.
As part of equipping, he knows how to delegate tasks to others instead of doing
everything himself. A good leader builds other leaders. An equipper is strong enough to allow others to have a ministry, responsibility, authority, and praise without feeling
A leader should be a man of authority under the authority of God. He must be able to lead with the power and authority delegated to him by God.
A leader should be committed and dedicated to God, His Kingdom, those he leads, and the work of the ministry.
Some leaders are imitators. They copy what others do.
Some leaders are maintainers. They simply maintain what has already been started. They are bound in tradition.
Some leaders are conformers. They conform to the will of the people and the claim that "we have always done it this way.”
Good leaders are initiators. They are flexible and open to change. They are not rigid and
bound in tradition. This type of leader is creative and original, open to be inspired by the
Holy Spirit to new ways of doing things and new ideas. They are able to adjust priorities,
change methods, and do "whatever,” "whenever" necessary for the advancement of the
WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE:
The leader should evidence sound thinking and wisdom in decisions and actions. He must have adequate mental ability to know how to lead. These skills can be gained through training , experience , and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Education is important, but remember that Jesus chose ignorant and unlearned men. They became great leaders because of the power of God.
Because Joshua was a man with warfare experience, he was selected to lead Israel into the promised land. This is why "Body ministry" by every believer is important. It provides experience that raises up new leaders.
WILLING TO PAY THE COST:
Jesus said there was a cost to true discipleship. He cautioned potential disciples to count the cost. Leaders must be willing to take up the cross, deny themselves, and work hard under difficult, lonely circumstances.
A SERVING SPIRIT:
Jesus indicated that the qualifications of leaders in God’s Kingdom differed from those of worldly leaders. Christian leaders must develop a humble, compassionate, serving spirit
and lead like a shepherd. These qualifications are so important that the next two lessons focus on them .
As you study the lists of spiritual fruit, specific, and general qualifications discussed in this lesson , you may be overwhelmed at the qualities necessary for leadership. You may think, "I can never develop all of these qualities!"
…And you are right. There is no such thing as a "self-made" leader. In other words, you cannot develop these qualities in yourself by yourself. The qualifications of a leader can only be developed by allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to work in your life.
The process is a continuous one, for the Bible indicates we "are" His workmanship. The word "are" is in present tense and means we are constantly under development through the creative power of God:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.