I often find myself suggesting that leaders must lead the way by the example of their lives, not simply through their words or decision-making and planning efforts. Through my many years of involvement in the church, I have seen both the good and bad in leaders. The power of leaders leading by example was often seen in the outcome.
The effective leaders were those who set a good example, modeling Christ-like attitudes as well as godly behavior.
The ineffective leaders were those with integrity breaks who told people one thing but did another.
Here are some examples on the MinTools.com site of where I write of the need for pastors and leaders to lead by example:
Training, being equipped to serve: The first tip in an article providing Teacher Training Tips and Resources is “Training Begins with Leadership.” I wrote, “If leaders are not convinced of the need to personally become better equipped in ministry, they will have a harder time convincing teachers of its importance. As they exhibit a humble, teachable spirit, teachers will come to realize that everyone needs to learn and grow, including them.”
Fellowship, relating with and building up one another: In looking at causes for the declining of true fellowship in the church I wrote, “Pastors and ministry leaders must participate in fellowship with the Body as well, leading the way, if they expect others to follow suit. It is so easy for pastors and ministry leaders to engage in fellowship with fellow staff and rarely with fellow church members. People need to see both in leadership.”
Prayer Life, regularly communicating with our heavenly Father: In the Prayer Ministry section of the site I wrote that we need to “Model what it means to have a lifestyle of prayer.” “The impact of modeling an effective prayer life is seen in the life of Christ. After observing the priority and passion Jesus had in spending time with the Father, one of His disciples initiated a request to learn to pray.”
Worship, revering God as the One True God, the Sovereign Lord: In the Worship Ministry section of the site I wrote that worship leaders must “Set the example in your own life of humbling yourself before Him so as to lead the way for the congregation. (See 2 Chron. 20:18 for an example.)”
Leading by example, however, isn’t something that should happen simply because of observation of church leadership effectiveness. The concept of pastors and ministry leaders modeling the Christian life is:
biblical. - 1 Pet. 5:2-3
Leadership is not lording our authority over people but being an example to them.
a matter of accountability. - Matt. 23
Jesus had some harsh words for the religious leaders of His day who did “not practice what they preach.”
commonsense. - Matt. 7:3-5
We aren’t going to see clearly where to take people if we aren’t going there ourselves.