restoring our biblical and constitutional foundations


Questions for Leaders

 David Alan Black

“To this end was I born” (John 18:37).

Our Lord Jesus often declared His mission. His work was to do the will of the Father; to seek and to save that which was lost; to give His life a ransom for many; that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

In our little spheres of life we too ought to know why we were born. There ought to be a better reason than the mere fact that we are here. How few Christians—how few leaders—have a sense of mission and a corresponding vision! Some of us God will call into positions of Christian leadership. If so, we would do well to consider the qualifications for leadership beforehand.

The following questions are taken from chapter 5 of J. Oswald Sanders’ book Spiritual Leadership. Before you assume leadership responsibilities, you’d best try them on for size.

Have you ever broken a bad habit? To lead others, you must master your appetites.

Do you keep self-control when things go wrong? The leader who loses control under adversity forfeits respect and influence. A leader must be calm in crisis and resilient in disappointment.

Do you think independently? A leader must use the best ideas of others to make decisions. A leader cannot wait for others to make up his or her mind.

Can you handle criticism? Can you profit from it? The humble person can learn from petty criticism, even malicious criticism.

Can you turn disappointment into creative new opportunity?

Do you readily gain the cooperation of others and win their respect and confidence? Can you exert discipline without making a power play? True leadership is an internal quality of the spirit and needs no show of external force.

Are you a peacemaker? A leader must be able to reconcile with opponents and make peace where arguments have created hostilities.

Do people trust you with difficult and delicate situations? Can you induce people to do happily some legitimate thing that they would not normally wish to do?

Can you accept opposition to your viewpoint or decision without taking offence? Leaders always face opposition.

Can you make and keep friends? Your circle of loyal friends is an index of your leadership potential.

Do you depend on the praise of others to keep you going? Can you hold steady in the face of disapproval and even temporary loss of confidence?

Are you at ease in the presence of strangers? Do you get nervous in the presence of your superior? Are the people who report to you generally at ease? A leader should be sympathetic and friendly.

Are you interested in people? All types? All races? No prejudice at all?

Are you tactful? Can you anticipate how your words will affect a person?

Is your will strong and steady? Leaders cannot vacillate or cannot drift with the wind.

Can you forgive? Or do you nurse resentments and harbor ill feelings toward those who have injured you?

Are you reasonably optimistic? Pessimism and leadership do not mix.

Do you feel a master passion such as that of Paul, who said, “This one thing I do!”? Such a singleness of motive will focus your energies and powers on the desired objective. Leaders need a strong focus.

Do you welcome responsibility?

Do other people’s failures annoy or challenge you?

Do you use people, or cultivate people? Do you direct people, or develop people? Do you criticize, or encourage? Do you shun or seek out the person with a special need or problem? Adding leadership potential to our lives usually requires that we shake off negative elements that hold us back.

Are you a leader?

June 22, 2003

David Alan Black is the editor of

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