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7 High Standards of Leadership


Leaders are often under scrutiny.

Unfortunately, it’s often in an attempt to catch them doing something wrong, and we all know that if you look for the flaws and shortcomings, you’ll find them.

That’s true of anyone, not just leaders.

Yet, leaders are rightfully held to higher standards.

That doesn’t mean that leaders are better than anyone else, but we are accountable for our actions because of our influence on people.

Why higher standards? Is that really right?


First, Scripture (1 Timothy 3:1-10) says it plainly.

Those who carry leadership authority must live according to higher standards.

  • Leaders set the example. It’s not about perfection. We are surely flawed, but we first lead by the lives we live.
  • Leaders must earn respect. Respect is never automatic; it’s earned over time by serving faithfully and actually making a difference.
  • Leaders serve for the good of the people. But, ultimately, the quality of leadership is based on the quality of people’s spiritual lives. It’s not how many; it’s the quality.

It’s understood that people choose how they will respond, but we must do all we can for every person who wants to grow, change and live more like Jesus.

1 Timothy 3:1-10 makes the high standards of leadership clear.

The long list included in this passage can be overwhelming, so I find it helpful to start by simplifying it into categories. I see seven important standards:

7 High Standards of Biblical Leadership:

(These seven standards will be in my next book available this Fall, When Your Leadership Isn’t Enough: 40 Devotions Strengthen Your Soul.)

1) Leadership is a godly calling.

Christian leadership is based on biblical values and carries with it eternal consequences; it’s a noble task that lives according to high standards.

Christian leadership is something set in motion by God, activated by gifting, and affirmed by elders or oversees.

Godly leaders are part of the body of Christ and serve as a representative of God.

It’s a privilege to lead God’s people. It’s not an easy road, but it’s so worthwhile.

2) Leadership is not automatically open to everyone.

Christian leadership is not an elitist proposition, but there are specific biblical standards that describe who is eligible.

For example, this passage says a leader must not be a recent convert. That makes sense. Consider just a few of many other careers.