Pastors & Ministry Leaders: Lead by Example

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 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.

5 Replies to “Pastors & Ministry Leaders: Lead by Example”

  1. My wife worked for an adventist school and when she left the Pastor kept her summer money. Today, this money has not been paid. The pastor tells every one that he paid her what was agreed upon and his leaders believe him. They don’t believe him because of who he is but because they are friends, conflict of interest. We are not working and the car we use for the ministry (taking food to the needy) is at risk of being repro. I love your studies on leadership because many use the Word of God to justify themselves and make their victims feel that they have done wrong. Yet, the Bible says differently. Thank you.

    • I am so sorry to learn of your experience, Reinaldo. Though I can’t speak about this particular situation since I do not have first hand knowledge of it and do not have the total picture, I can say that integrity breaks in leadership as you described it can hurt all involved. I pray you will be able to rise above your own pain and hardship and through the power of God, even if the situation doesn’t change, to be able to respond with grace so that you do not become embittered. That would be an even greater hurt to yourselves. In a situation like what you described, it might appear as though leadership is getting away with what has been done. However, God knows. They will be accountable to Him. Though leaders may try to justify themselves, you need to trust that God will deal with them in His way and in His timing because He knows the truth of the situation. Unfortunately, integrity breaks also affect the Body as a whole. Joshua 7 tells the story of how one person’s sin, Achan, affected the whole group. Sometimes the effects in the church are not always as blatant as in this story, but sin left unchecked does hinder a church’s effectiveness.

      This is why it is so important for leaders and teachers to line up with God’s Word and be that example referenced in this post. Just as leaders can negatively impact everyone involved, so can they have a positive influence. But, it requires them to be true to God and His ways which will be reflected in Christ-like behavior, attitudes, and words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Spam, requests for free material, and promotional info will not be posted; nor will a response be forthcoming. Required fields are marked *