I love building capacity in seasoned and emerging Christian leaders. As I do this, I find it helpful to focus my energies on seven key dimensions of leadership (see the Christian Leadership Pyramid below). I often ask myself how I'm personally growing in each of these areas and how I can help others grow in these dimensions as well. Here is how each dimension builds upon the other:
Biblical truth must guide every aspect of our leadership. It is imperative that we increasingly live and lead in keeping with a thoroughly biblical worldview. This comes as we grow in our ability to meditate on God's Word continuously, to handle it accurately, and to be a courageous practitioner of the Word.
A Growing Relationship with God
The desired foundation of Christian leadership is a growing relationship with God. The Christian leader must continue to live in Christ, rooted and built up in him. As we abide in Christ, he will bear fruit through us. I find that the practice of spiritual disciplines, when done in a meaningful way, rallies me to God and His plans for my life. One of the most useful tools I have found for establishing and growing these disciplines is the Rule of Life. A Rule of Life is an intentional plan to deepen one's relationship with God and to position oneself to love and serve others more effectively. Similar to what Peter Scazzero says in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality , I am learning that one's Rule of Life should encompass all of life. This would include practicing traditional spiritual disciplines such as prayer and listening to God through His Word, but also cultivating healthy relationships, fostering emotional health, and taking care of my body (among others).
Character is the second layer of the leadership pyramid. As we increasingly submit ourselves to Christ's Lordship and experience an ongoing filling of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to imitate God and follow Jesus' example of love. Scripture describes many admirable character qualities such as the fruit of the Spirit, being wise, holy, just, humble, and courageous. Growth in these kinds of qualities greatly enhances our ability to reflect Christ and lead in God-honouring ways. I believe we will acquire these traits in increasing measure as we surrender ourselves to God, deal with sin in our lives, associate with godly people, leverage Scripture to bring about necessary change, allow trials to shape our character, and expose ourselves to opportunities that foster growth in desired areas.