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Brian Houston: Leaders Who Let Humility and Receptivity Define Them Have a ‘Holy Boldness’


According to Brian Houston, one of the hallmarks of a leader who is spiritually alive is his or her humility–the ability to humbly receive instruction from whomever the Holy Spirit chooses to send.

Illustrating Humility

To illustrate this principle, Houston, the leader of the Hillsong Church movement, gives an example from Acts chapter 18. He directs the audience to a story about Apollos, who we are told, was a learned Jewish man who was “competent in the Scriptures” and had been “instructed in the way of the Lord.” However, Apollos only knew the baptism of John.

Enter Priscilla and Aquila, who, we are told earlier in Acts 18, were humble tentmakers, from the trade class. In other words, they were not learned people who had been trained in the Scriptures as Apollos would have been. Yet Priscilla and Aquila had a piece of the puzzle of God’s kingdom that Apollos didn’t know about.

This story has all the potential of outlining the stubbornness of a proud man who refused to receive teaching from people “below him.” Lord knows we did not need another story about that. Instead, Apollos receives the instruction of Priscilla and Aquila and then, we are told, goes on to help the church and “powerfully” refute the Jews, “showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.”


Houston offers a powerful lesson about leadership here. When you let humility and receptivity define you, “You don’t become arrogant, you don’t become brash, you don’t become proud.” Rather, God gives you a “holy boldness” to proclaim the truth more accurately.

Find more humility quotes here.