This post is part of a series on the Beatitudes and leadership called “A New Kind of Leader.” You can read the earlier posts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
For the past four posts, I have written about the need for a new kind of leader, a leader that is shaped more by the kingdom of God as found in Matthew 5:1–10, than modern business practices. As American pastors, we have so many resources available to us that it is quite possible to attempt to lead a local church without the Holy Spirit’s presence and power.
I’m writing about a new kind of leader, which is actually an old kind of leader, that reflects the character of Jesus, the Great Shepherd. The church is not in need of entrepreneurs but godly, Christ-exalting shepherds who care for and equip God’s flock. I call this new kind of leader, the blessed leader: “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders” (Acts 20:28, NLT).
The blessed leader is merciful
As a leader, I have found that one of the greatest gifts I can give to someone is mercy. For many of the people I serve, their lives are marked by failure, disappointment, and unmet expectations. So extending mercy becomes a welcomed gift to weary hearts, and I’m learning that a merciful leader is one who has received and embraced Jesus’ mercy.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7).
The blessed leader is pure in heart
As I speak at conferences or when church planters connect with me, I’m often asked about ministry practices and rarely about how I develop my character. I pray that my character would be my greatest ministry asset and not my specific gifting. I often say to young leaders that you want your character to be so far ahead of your gifting that your gifting has to run to catch up. Sadly, most of the time our gifting is outrunning our character. And a leader with an underdeveloped character but with powerful ministry gifts can be a train wreck waiting to happen. We need leaders that rest in the finishing work of Jesus and develop pure hearts for they will see God.
”Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).
The blessed leader is a peacemaker
Jesus is the Prince of Peace and his bride can, and should, be the embodiment of peace and reconciliation. The blessed leader is one who has personally experienced God’s peace in Christ, and as result of this grace, his or her leadership is colored by peace. Leaders who are maturing in Christ pursue being peacemakers.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt: 5:9).
The blessed leader will experience persecution
I don’t like the words I’m about to write, but I know them to be true. Often, great displays of public ministry are fueled by private suffering. Anyone Jesus has used greatly has suffered greatly. Over the past several weeks, my family and I have experienced persecution in the form of spiritual warfare like never before. This persecution has brought me to my knees and is teaching me to live by faith all over again. In this fiery furnace, I see and feel God burning off parts of me in preparation for where he is taking me for his glory, my joy, and for the sake of the world.
”Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven“ (Matt. 5:10).
We need a kind of leader that is shaped by the kingdom of God. May you and I be this kind of leader, a blessed leader, so we can bless those God has called us to care for.
Marinate on that.