Dimensions of Christian Leadership

  • 30 September 2017
  • Randy Wollf

Giza pyramids

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   

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[1], to handle it accurately[2], and to be a courageous practitioner of the Word[3].

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[4]. As we abide in Christ, he will bear fruit through us[5]. 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 [6], 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[7]. Scripture describes many admirable character qualities such as the fruit of the Spirit[8], being wise[9], holy[10], just[11], humble[12], and courageous[13]. 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.


Living Out God's Call, No Matter What

  • 19 January 2016
  • Randy Wollf

Last July, I had the amazing opportunity of serving for two weeks with an indigenous Christian mission in Northern India. We had the privilege of learning from and building capacity in about 80 pastors and lay leaders along with 20 young women who were part of an eight-month discipleship/vocational training program.

I was deeply encouraged and challenged by the faith of those who came to the training. One Indian pastor, who has been almost blind for 30 years, travels from Hindu village to Hindu village sharing the Gospel. Villagers have beaten him seven times for his fervent witness. Yet, despite the opposition, 200 Hindus have accepted Christ through his ministry! God has called him to share the Gospel and he is prepared to do so, no matter what the cost is.

Another pastor, who grew up in Bhutan, came to Christ through a near-death experience involving explosives. Sharing your faith in Bhutan is illegal. Yet this man, like Peter and John in Acts 4:18-20, cannot stop speaking about Christ. Despite serving two prison sentences, he has seen many come to faith and has planted several churches. Even now, in his 80s, this pastor continues to live out God’s call on his life by proclaiming the Gospel boldly.

During our last day in India, we toured Mother House in Kolkata where Mother Teresa lived and worked. As I walked through a section of the House devoted to remembering Mother Teresa, one of Mother’s quotes deeply moved me:

“I do not want to be successful; I want to be faithful.”

For Mother Teresa, true success was being faithful to God and His call on her life.

What do you sense that God would have you to focus on in the months ahead? What are His priorities for your life?

In a previous blog, I shared about Why Understanding Your Personal Calling is Important. When we understand God’s plan for our lives, it helps us to stay on track with His priorities. We live with passion and purpose, willing to make significant sacrifices to follow our Lord’s directives.

Why Understanding Your Personal Calling is Important

  • 13 December 2014
  • Randy Wollf

Cell phone with missed call from GodI vividly remember the leadership retreat several years ago where Dave Jackson with Church Resource Ministries led our church leadership through a personal refocusing process. The lights came on for me, as I understood in a much deeper way God’s call on my life. That process of understanding my personal calling fanned into flame a strong sense of purpose that continues to guide me to this day.

God’s Plan

God has created and shaped us for a purpose. Our calling is God’s game plan for our lives. It’s also part of His larger plan for the Church and the world.

There are numerous examples in Scripture of people who knew their God-given calling.

  • Abraham made great sacrifices to move his family to the place of God’s choosing. 
  • Nehemiah risked losing his career in the royal courts and faced great opposition in order to obey God’s call to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
  • After an attempted detour to Tarshish, Jonah realized that following God’s calling was better than going his own way.
  • God called Queen Esther to save her people and she did. 
  • The Apostle Paul had a strong calling to proclaim the gospel where people had not yet heard it. He lived out his calling and God used him to make disciples and plant churches all over the Mediterranean world.

Understanding Our Calling Gives Us Direction and Passion

What happens when we understand our calling and decide to live it out in God’s strength and for His glory? We have a strong sense of direction – we know our game plan (or at least parts of it). Because we believe that our game plan is from our loving Lord, we will want to carry it out with passion, courage, and determination. We will engage in extraordinary efforts in the struggle to realize God’s calling.

Staying on Track

Of course, there are circumstances and forces that may distract us from the game plan or diminish our passion to execute the plan. That is why it is imperative that we keep coming back to the Lord for guidance and strength. We also need to keep the plan in front of us at all times and prayerfully discern when God would have us to adjust it. Having a strong network of prayer supporters and encouragers will help us to stay the course, as well.