Twelve Questions for Leaders

I am fascinated by the topic of leadership. Obviously, I am not alone because the quantity of books, conferences, and other resources on leadership is abundant. There are times, though, that I need to simplify some of the material into a few reminders. In this context, I have framed them as questions.

What then are some of the most important questions leaders can ask of themselves? Allow me to suggest twelve.

1. Am I spending sufficient time in prayer to be the kind of leader God wants to be?

2. Am I spending sufficient time in the Bible so that God’s Word frames all that I do?

3. Am I a leader first in my family?

4. Do I seek to walk with humility in my daily leadership?

5. Do I seek the best for others and give credit to others?

6. Am I continual learner?

7. Do I seek wisdom from others?

8. Am I a better leader than I was one year ago? Five years ago?

9. If I am not the right leader for where I am now, am I willing to step aside?

10. Am I willing to admit my mistakes?

11. Do I attempt to learn the world and culture better in which I lead?

12. Am I willing to make tough and courageous decisions?

These are some of the questions I ask myself regularly. The list is far from exhaustive, but they are critical to my leadership. I wish I could say that I always have good answers for each question. Unfortunately, I fall short too many times.

What questions are important to you as a leader? Let me know.


Posted on October 12, 2011

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Thom
    Here are two more qualifications from Titus for “elder/overseer” that many –
    who desire to be an “elder/overseer”- *seem to ignore.* Just and Holy.
    Titus 1:6-8 KJV
    6 If any be *blameless,* the husband of one wife,
    having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
    7 For a bishop must be *blameless,* as the steward of God; not selfwilled,
    not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
    8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, *just,* *holy,* temperate;
    Strongs #1342 – dikaios {dik’-ah-yos} – innocent – righteous.
    Thayers – righteous, observing divine laws – keeping the commands of God –
    innocent, faultless, guiltless – used of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and
    acting is wholly conformed to the will of God…
    Strongs #3741 – hosios {hos’-ee-os}
    Thayers – undefiled by sin, free from wickedness,
    religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious.
    Now that’s three tough qualifications for “elder/overseers” – Yes?
    1 – Blameless – Without falt, Above reproach…
    2 – Just – Keeping the commands of God, Faultless, Guiltless…
    3 – Holy – Undefiled by sin, Free from wickedness…
    Makes an interesting study – checking out ALL these tough qualifications for
    “Pastor/Leaders,”“elder/overseers,” then checking out those who say they are
    Pastro/Leaders,” “elder/overseers,” compared to the qualifications. 🙂

  • Thom
    I’m encouraged to hear you’re agreed – it’s a mistake for anyone to take the
    “Position” of Pastor/Leader, or any leadership position if – they do NOT qualify.
    Coming from a “Spiritually Abusive” background I learned to be a Berean and
    “…to know them which labour among you, and are over you…” 1 Thes 5:12.
    Abusive leaders talk alot about “Obey your leaders.” But, ignor the qualifications.
    Seems the first qualification for “elder/overseer” is tough – **must be Blameless**
    1 – A bishop (overseer) then *must be* **blameless**… 1 Tim 3:2 KJV
    2 – For a bishop (overseer) *must be* **blameless**… Titus 1:7 KJV
    And *must be* is the same Greek word as: …You *must be* born again. John 3:7.
    *Must Be* is Strongs #1163, die. – It is necessary (as binding).
    Thayer’s – necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.
    Seems to be a small word – but very important. Yes?
    **Hmmm? **Blameless**… How important is this word?
    Strongs #423 – anepileptos – inculpable, blameless, unrebukeable.
    Thayer’s – that cannot be reprehended, (cannot be, rebukable, reprovable,
    …. cannot find fault) not open to censure, irreproachable.
    Dictionary – Without fault; innocent; guiltless; not meriting censure.
    Synonyms – faultless, guiltless, innocent, irreproachable, spotless, unblemished.
    1 Tim 3:2 ASV – The bishop therefore must be without reproach…
    1 Tim 3:2 NIV – Now the overseer must be above reproach…
    1 Tim 3:2 NLT – For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against.
    In my experience – NOT many “elder/overseers,” when they examine themselves,
    seriously considering this one **qualification,** (*Must Be* **Blameless,**)
    can see themselves as **Blameless,** without fault, above reproach,
    and thus qualify to be an “elder/overseer.”
    The Bible talks about “elder/overseers.” ( If a man desire the office of a bishop,)
    And **qualifications** for “elder/overseers.” (*Must Be* **Blameless,**)
    You really can NOT have one without the other? Can you?
    This is only one of many tough qualifications. Yes? 😉
    And there are tough **qualifications** for the children also.
    And if an “elder/overseer” realises, they do NOT meet ALL the qualifications…
    What are they supposed to do – now? What is the body of Christ supposed to do?
    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16
    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice
    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  • Thom Rainer says on

    A. Amos –
    Agreed. Not only for pastor but any leadership position.

  • Thom
    In my experience… These two questions…
    seem to be overlooked often in “the Abusive Religious Systems” I have survived.
    9. If I am not the right leader for where I am now, am I willing to step aside?
    10. Am I willing to admit my mistakes?
    I haven’t met many Pastor/Elder/Overseers willing to admit their mistakes when
    they do NOT meet ALL of the many tough qualifications in Titus and 1 Tim 3
    and thus wind up NOT being a “Leader” at all like they were told.
    Or – willing to step aside when they realise they do NOT qualify?
    Seems NOT many take Paul’s/God’s qualifications seriously today.
    Isn’t it a mistake to take the “Position” Pastor/Leader when you don’t qualify?

  • Thom Rainer says on

    Darryl –

  • Only one I would add is have I prepared my future successor to replace me, or have I created an environment where my replacement can achieve success?

  • Thom Rainer says on

    Good question Jeremiah. I would like to hear some responses to that question from readers.

  • Great questions! What are some practical but meaningful ways you use to evaluate the growth of your leadership compared to years past?

  • Mark Tyburn says on

    Great questions Thom. Unfortunately, some of them really hit home with me and my morning is really messed up 🙂