Successful church leadership is rooted in spiritual commitment. People who are walking with God, growing in their faith, demonstrating godly character, and seeking God’s guidance make the best leaders! Our churches need leaders who serve, not out of a spiritual vacuum, but out of a reservoir of godliness. Consider asking yourself these questions in evaluating your progress toward that goal.

Is my walk genuine?

Inside-out leaders are committed to personal time with God by being in His Word and in prayer. Their quiet time is marked by meaningful Bible reading, meditation, memorization, and prayer. They are intentional about using that time to fuel godliness in their daily living in the home, workplace, and church.

Is my heart humble?

Inside-out leaders understand the danger of pride and are marked by a humble spirit. They genuinely respect others’ opinions; they are teachable in interaction with others; they accept criticism graciously; they willingly take on menial tasks; they do not complain when overlooked or when they do not receive proper recognition for their efforts; they submit joyfully to the authorities God places over them; they know how to disagree agreeably.

Is my mind pure?

Inside-out leaders recognize the importance of personal purity. They demonstrate their commitment in this area by establishing personal holiness habits. They pursue accountability in their computer use, media viewing, and reading. They understand the power of personal purity and that their example and practice in this area are crucial to the church’s reputation and effectiveness.

Is my integrity obvious?

Inside-out leaders live observably godly lives. The character traits of personal integrity—such as honesty, openness, sincerity, decency, self-control, forbearance, patience, meekness, and the like—are apparent in their dealings at home, work, and church.

Are my convictions firm?

Inside-out leaders know what they believe. They affirm the church’s published doctrinal statement because they have studied the Scriptures for themselves. They not only are aware of the theological distinctives that define the church’s ministry, but they also own these truths for themselves as solid convictions—and they are prepared to defend them!

Are my ears open?

Inside-out leaders are open to the promptings of the Spirit in their leadership. Training, strategizing, planning, organizing, programming—all of these are important. But as one leader put it, “There is a supernatural dimension to leadership, and it comes our way by keeping an ear open to heaven.” Godly leaders draw upon their personal walk with God in His Word and prayer to discern guidance that is often not merely intellectual or reasoned but is marked by God-given spiritual wisdom.

Is my compassion real?

Inside-out leaders recognize that the church is people and that people desperately need leaders who possess a genuine love for them. They demonstrate compassion by continually sharing encouraging words, by responding to individual needs with true joy, by learning names, by greeting others warmly, by confronting problems appropriately, by spending time together in fellowship, by listening to problems and burdens without judgment, and by being sensitive to the need to communicate openly.

Is my judgment impartial?

Inside-out leaders recognize the importance of fair-mindedness. They know that they can be susceptible to viewpoints that are one sided, so they regularly seek to learn from the experiences of others who may see things differently. In a church’s decision making, that often demands an understanding of the breadth of the church’s ministries. Leaders are able to put aside personal agendas and seek impartiality and fairness.

Jim Vogel (DMin, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) was a pastor for 30 years before becoming associate national representative of the GARBC.