The Tests of Authentic Leadership

The Tests of Authentic Leadership

Your Leadership Will Be Tested - It Is Inevitable and Essential

Christians who are leaders (in church, business, public/community life, school, home) have advantages, but face pressures and carry burdens that others do not see. Many feel lonely; some find it difficult to have friendships with people who do not have the same world view. Their values and beliefs are challenged. All come under attack from time to time. As a result, some end up "derailed". How we respond to leaders who fall/burn out is a measure of our growth and strength of community. We must be redemptive, while not evading the reality of what people choose and experience, in the same way that Jesus and the first Christians did (Luke 22:31-32; Galatians 6:1-5).

It can be difficult for a Christian who is a leader to deal with pressures, because expectations of their output are high and there are many "pot holes". That goes with the territory. Where moral failure is involved, the road back is tougher in the church than the secular environment (Luke 12:48; 1 Corinthians 4:1, 2). Scandals draw attention to the humanity of Christians in leadership, against the backdrop of standards everyone expects in their personal lives. Some "good leaders" quit because they run out of steam, or find it difficult to cope with change.

Leadership is a privilege. The impacts of derailment are severe: experienced people side-lined, failed relationships, opportunities missed, alienation, financial loss, disunity. As your leadership is tested (it will be) allow God to challenge, teach and strengthen you, and give you wisdom and capacity to continue to serve Him and touch lives. Get close to people who will stand by you, draw from their wisdom and support. Never give up. Likewise, support leaders you know who face similar challenges.

21 Tests of Effective Leadership -- by Larry Kreider

  1. The Calling Test: An effective leader will discover his calling and trust God to manifest it.
  2. The Humility Test: Effective leaders give credit to others.
  3. The Teamwork Test: An effective leader finds a way for his team to win.
  4. The Releasing Test: An effective leader knows how to empower others.
  5. The Priorities Test: An effective leader determines what his priorities are in life.
  6. The Transition Test: An effective leader understands and leads the process of change.
  7. The Criticism Test: An effective leader accepts criticism and grows in the process.
  8. The Dependency Test: An effective leader depends on help from God.
  9. The Conflict Test: An effective leader embraces healthy confrontation.
  10. The Vision Test: Effective leaders inspire and articulate a vision and bring others with them.
  11. The Love Test: An effective leader makes decisions motivated by love.
  12. The Integrity Test: Effective leaders are the same in public as in private.
  13. The Security Test: Effective leaders find security in who they are, not in what they do.
  14. The Grace Test: Effective leaders know success depends on the grace of God. (Not human effort, cf Ephesians 2:8-10)
  15. The Expectations Test: Effective leaders avoid unmet expectations
  16. The Finance Test: Effective leaders take fiscal responsibility for their mission.
  17. The Comparison Test: Effective leaders only compare up.
  18. The Perseverance Test: Effective leaders refuse to quit!
  19. The Success Test: Effective leaders never forget where they came from
  20. The Timing Test: Effective leaders understand times and seasons.
  21. The Kingdom Test: Effective leaders focus on the eternal Kingdom.

PLUS (mine):

  1. The Visceral Test: Effective leaders deal with emotions (anger, disappointment, frustration, impatience, greed, pride, lust) that spring up, in a godly way.
  2. The Substance Test: Effective leaders are real, not just froth and bubble, huff and puff; full of vain or hasty promises; they feel what others do; they are substantial and intentional. The ungodly lack substance (Psalm 1:4).
  3. The Distraction Test: Effective leaders are not side-tracked by their opponents (cf Nehemiah 6:3, 4).
  4. The Godward Test: Effective leaders pray (Psalm 109:4b). Jesus taught His disciples how to pray and be spiritually renewed.

An effective Christian leader maintains a Christian world view in a non-Christian workplace.

A Personal Inventory

What Can Derail a Christian in Leadership? Ask yourself:
  • is this a potential issue for me?
  • what safeguards can I adopt?
moral failure (eg David's adultery with Bathsheba, 2 Samuel 11)

family break-down (David's family was divided as a result of his own sin, 2 Samuel 12:10)

other relationship failures (Absalom's betrayal, 2 Samuel 15; cf Psalm 41:9, 55:12-14)

financial problems (Judas, John 12:26)

persecution arising from Christian faith (Mark 4:17)

loss of faith/belief

sickness or personal tragedy

competition and exaggeration (Absalom, 2 Samuel 15:4)

doubt or pessimism about God's "call" to a particular work/role (Jeremiah, 20:9)

lack of care in legal matters, leading to exposure and risk

physical/mental exhaustion due to stress, deadlines, discouragement, (Moses, Genesis 18:18), feeling lack of support (Psalm 69:20)

neglect of personal spiritual walk - it is hard to give what we do not have, difficult to grow when we are ignoring our spiritual welfare

loneliness (Elijah, 1 Kings 19:10); feeling unappreciated (Psalm 35:13, 14)

independence (can lead to pride, errors, 1 John 2:19; Saul's impatience > rebellion, 1 Samuel 13)

addiction to power, roles, praise, money

compassion fatigue - taking on everyone else's problems and not knowing how to "let go"

giving the world priority in our lives (Demas, 2 Timothy 4:10)

inability to cope with criticism and close scrutiny by others

believing people's rhetoric ("You are so good!"), dismissing negative feedback (Ahab, 1 Kings 22)

indecision, leading to bad decisions (or decision paralysis)

fear to obey God's way (Jonah 1:3)

carelessness/apathy in a sinful environment (Lot establishing himself in Sodom, Genesis 19:1)


Your character must support the gifts of God in your life.

Character is not what you do, but who you are, when you are by yourself, under fire, tempted financially, morally, ethically, or otherwise, but do not yield.

Practical Tips




Relating to Others


Lifestyle Approaches to Prevent Derailment - "If the cap fits...."


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