Building Blocks of Christian Leadership

Are you the Christian leader you were created to be? Do you really even have a good feel for what that looks like? What are you doing on a daily basis to improve as a Christian leader?

Christian leader

Christian Leadership Defined

As I described in my last post, I am not defining Christian leadership by the size of your social media platform. I am not defining it based on the number of people you lead or by the number of books you have read or written. It has nothing to do with the spotlight.

Instead, I am calling a Christian leader someone who follows the example of Christ and does so in a way that influences others to do the same. You could also call someone like this a disciple-maker or a Great Commission Christian or any other label you want to use.

The only difference here is that I am describing this person in the context of the business world.

Called To Influence Through Business

My point is that, as Christian business owners and leaders, I believe we are all called to influence others toward an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ. We are called to do this through the operation of our businesses and the execution of our jobs.

Assuming you are in agreement with me at this point, let’s dig into the building blocks of effective and credible Christian leadership. I am taking much of this information from the July segment of the C12 Group material.

How Effective Leadership Works

Recently, educators James Kouzes and Barry Posner wrote a book, Credibility, in which they explored how effective leadership works. In preparation for this book, they did extensive research with thousands of interviews to come up with the basic building blocks.

Out of a list of 20 components, they selected four as the most critical components of effective leadership. While this was not a Christian endeavor, I believe you will quickly see that these same four components of effective leadership can be supported with Scripture. In fact, during His brief time on earth, Jesus modeled each of these for us.

First Building Block: Honesty

The first of these building blocks of effective Christian leadership is honesty. Almost 90% of those surveyed cited honesty as the single most important component of effective leadership. Does that surprise you?

There are very few things that people hate more than being lied to. I could give several recent examples of being lied to in my business. When that happens, I usually decide very quickly that I cannot “follow” those individuals in any endeavor. Their influence with me is destroyed. I am sure you likely have had similar experiences and may feel the same.

The problem here is that our human nature makes it so easy for us to lie. Whether it is a little white lie or one that is more significant in our minds, we all face opportunities every day to tell something other than the truth. If we choose to something other than the truth, regardless of whether we see the significance at the time, we are destroying our influence.

Other Ways To Breach Trust

Before you start to relax and think that you don’t struggle that much with lying, let’s look at some other ways that Christian leaders can breach trust with those they are attempting to influence.

    1. We believe, but our business practices do not show it.

    2. We don’t mention Christ as the basis for how we conduct business.

    3. We talk about the Lord only when things are really difficult.

    4. We act as if problems never happen in the Christian life.

At first glance, these are likely not the first examples you thought of when I mentioned honesty. But, if you will think about each of them, you can quickly come to the conclusion that they fit. And they are common.

What Do We Need To Do?

So, if we are striving to improve the effectiveness of our Christian leadership, how do we strengthen this first building block – honesty?

I think there are several recommendations I can make. None of these are likely new to you, but that does not change their necessity.


First, I would strongly urge you to pray that God would search your heart and make known to you the areas where you are less than honest. He is faithful to do this.

Second, I would begin to spend more time in Scripture. Based on what God shows you in step one, I would look for Scripture that addresses your problem areas.

It could be pride that causes you to exaggerate. Maybe it is insecurity that makes you feel the need to protect yourself with denials. It may even be greed that drives your habit of manipulating others.

Whatever the issue, Scripture can address it. Once you find the particular verses that address your particular struggles, commit them to memory. If Scripture was Jesus’ response to temptation, don’t you think it will work for us?

Finally, I strongly urge you to find an accountability partner that can hold you to your commitments. Share your struggles with them. If you can be honest with them, that is a great first step toward doing so with everyone else.

Increased Influence

Don’t forget, if you can establish this first building block, your influence will soar over time. This influence, in the hands of a committed Christian leader, will have significant impact on eternity.

Stay tuned for the other three building blocks in my next posts.

Do you struggle with a lack of complete honesty?

Have you considered how being less than honest affects your influence?

What are you doing to correct this issue?

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  • Amen…Galatians 5 comes to mind immediately. v26 the conclusion: We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Therefore. would it be true, leaders should not misuse their position and authority for their own glory, but God’s glory? That leaders should not stir up selfish motives within those they influence, but encourage team building motives? And, should leaders use money and prestige to motivate, stirring jealousy and rivalry? In a setting where not all understand Christian values, this is really hard. But, are we being truly honest as Christian leaders if we adapt our values? (Just thinking out loud)…

  • Pingback: How Is Vision Critical to Christian Leadership? - Christian Faith At Work()

  • My struggle with honesty is that people don’t want to hear it. They either avoid it, or they talk their way around it. My response is often to say nothing, not in covering up the truth, but just not in addressing some issues because I know what I say won’t be received. That doesn’t take the responsibility off of me though. I still need to be and live truthfully regardless of what other people are comfortable with.

    • Kari, I think I understand where you are coming from, but I am a little curious. Is this struggle occurring in a leadership position or just in everyday interaction with others?

      • Both. People in general seem to create a reality that allows them to do what they feel like, which isn’t always (and often is not) the right thing to do. Maybe it’s more of a societal issue, I’m not sure. Excuses abound for why someone can’t do something or why they are doing something when the real answer is that they simply felt like doing it. I think there’s a lack of honesty that starts with the inner self. There’s a deceptiveness that is very hard to pin down and that seems to be taking people down the road of their feelings above all else. I hope I’m making some sense.

  • Great post Chris. I had not seen the book Credibility but will be taking a look. I recently started a blog focused on Biblical Leadershipand came to similar conclusions in my research of the Bible. I am looking forward to reading the book and the rest of your series. Keep up the great work and God Bless.

    • That’s great, John. Let me know what your think about the book.

      I appreciate you reading!