rebelling against low expectations

5 Important Foundations for Godly Leadership


My heart breaks every time I see another story. The ones where pastors are let go because of integrity issues and moral failures. The ones where leaders are fired for not leading and acting in the way the Bible commands them to. Adultery. Greed. Sexual immorality. It feels like the stories will never end, and in my heart, I feel hopelessness and grief settling in. What about you?

Through each of these stories, God has taught me a little bit more about walking in leadership in a way that honors Him.

Now, I am in no way calling myself an expert on this topic. My heart is only to encourage, challenge (if needed), and share with you what God has taught me. I want this to be a helpful reminder for those of you in leadership positions, or those working towards that end, especially in ministry.

1. The Importance of Humility

One of the first things I learned in the little experience I had in a leadership position, is the importance of humility.

When you’re in a leadership position, whether it’s leading a church, a small group, an organization, or anything else, it is important to remember that you are not there by your own will or by your own doing. Romans 13:1 says: “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”

You are in the position you’re in because God has put you there. You are there because God saw fit to have you in that position, and His will is for you to use this position to serve and love the people around you.

Another part of humility is remembering that we are all human. We all have weaknesses; we have all sinned. According to Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

We are not worthy of the roles God has given us as leaders. Nor do we meet every qualification perfectly. We will mess up. We also do not have the strength, wisdom, grace, or patience to do what God has called us to do by ourselves. If God has called and placed you in a position of leadership, do not believe the lie that you can lead by your own strength and wisdom. Do not walk with pride but remember the One who called you to this position—the One who humbly washed His followers’ feet—and seek to emulate Him.

2. The Importance of Your Relationship with God

Another important thing about being a leader is making sure your relationship with God always comes first. This goes hand-in-hand with humility. If you are in any type of leadership or pastoral position, God has placed you there to serve and to represent Him to the people around you. But in order to represent Him, you first have to spend time getting to know Him.

Throughout the Gospels, we see many times when Jesus would sneak away from His disciples or from people that needed Him, to go spend time with His Father. To show the heart of His Father to others, He first had to go and encounter it Himself.

As leaders, we are called to do the same, and it should be our very first priority. How can we fill others if we ourselves have not been first filled? If we take time to be filled by our Heavenly Father, we will then be able to serve with His strength, wisdom, and love. We need filling every single day.

3. The Importance of Good Community

When you’re in a leadership position, especially in ministry, you are an easy target for the enemy. If you are following the Lord and are serving and loving those He has called you to serve, the enemy is going to do everything he can to stop or distract you. Whether through temptation, busyness, discouragement, or lies, he will use anything he can to come against you.

We cannot fight the enemy and his schemes alone, which is why it is so important to have fellow believers in Jesus around you! We were never meant to do this life, or follow Jesus, on our own. We were never meant to engage in spiritual warfare alone.

If you don’t already have them, I highly encourage you to find even just a couple of people who love Jesus and will walk with you on your journey of following Him. People you can be completely honest with about any sins you are struggling with. People who will encourage, advise, and pray for you. Without people like this in our lives, we are more likely to fall.

4. The Importance of Rest

One aspect of good and healthy leadership I don’t think is talked about enough, is resting and taking Sabbath. As I said before, we are human beings. We have weaknesses, we are finite and have limitations. We get tired and weary; we don’t have an unending amount of strength and energy. Without rest, we burn out.

As a leader you spend so much time pouring into others and investing in them, and that makes it even easier to become tired—physically, emotionally, and mentally.

I am here to tell you that you need rest. It is not sinful or lazy to rest. The enemy likes to make us feel guilty when we rest, when rest is something that even God did.

We see in Genesis 2 that after He created everything, on the last day God rested. Let me put this into perspective: God who is infinite, who never gets tired or weary, took time to rest. If God rested, how much more so should we rest? Also, this isn’t just a suggestion or good advice. Keeping the Sabbath, resting from our work, is one of the Ten Commandments.

5. The Importance of Praying for Your Leaders

My last encouragement is for everyone, whether you are a leader or not, and that is to pray for your leaders. Pray for your pastors, Sunday School teachers, political leaders, bosses, mentors, and parents. Pray especially for those who are in ministerial positions.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

Often our leaders are going through difficulties we don’t even know about, and it’s our job to pray for them. I would even encourage you not to stop at prayer—encourage them and tell them how much you appreciate them.

Do Not Fear

My last and final encouragement to you, my dear friend, is to not be afraid. Do not be afraid of the ways the enemy tries to attack those in leadership, with temptation especially.

1 Corinthians 10:13 encourages us with this: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

When we as believers are attacked, the Lord will be faithful to show us a way out.

Do not be afraid of the position of leadership God has given to you. Step into it with joy and do it with Him and through His strength.

For our God is able to give you everything you need in order to do what He has called you to do.

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About the author

Kelsey Kaleb

Kelsey is twenty-five year old, Atlanta-native missionary, serving in East Africa with her husband. She loves everything about missions and Africa, and has never lost her love and passion for writing.


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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →