What qualifies someone for positions of leadership? Does God mention His top five attributes for Christian leadership? His way of choosing and establishing leadership always establishes success, unleashing hidden potential and elevating people others have too often bypassed for promotion or disqualified for positions of excellence.
The Bible offers multiple examples of obscure people elevated to authority and leadership: a shepherd pulled from a field and anointed king, a prisoner brought from the dungeon and designated second only to pharaoh, a murderer of Christians bounced off his high horse to become apostle and teacher.
All these and more possessed similar qualities that propelled them to success. God follows distinct principles we find clearly illustrated in a man most people would not recognize by name, Bezalel.
“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills …”
Whoever God chooses, He equips.
The name Bezalel means “in the shadow under the protection of God.” Most, if not all, God’s chosen leaders were kept for a time “in the shadows.” Ordinary men and women — imperfect and bypassed by others. But God prepared each one “under His protection,” in an environment of growth and development.
God prepared and chose Bezalel to train and lead hundreds of skilled craftsmen to bring every element of the wilderness Tabernacle to completion. God called him …
“… to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver, bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, to engage in all kinds of crafts.”
The intricacy of the work exceeded anything previously known. God engineered the design. Moses relayed the details. Bezalel was called from the ranks to complete it.
Though we would be tempted to choose Bezalel because of his skill, God did not.
However, skill ranked last in God’s top five qualifications for leadership.
“… I have filled him with the Spirit of God …”
Before God can or will use any of us, we need, above all else, to be filled with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit inhabits everyone who has made Jesus Christ their Lord and Saviour, but not everyone is “filled with” the Spirit of God.
The Book of Acts in the New Testament shows the apostles and early church believers being filled and refilled with fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. The outpouring at Pentecost was just the beginning.
The greater the measure of His infilling, the greater the measure we may be used by Him. Oh, what hope for us all! Our potential rests completely in Him and His power working through us.
The second qualification God lists for Christian leadership is wisdom — the wisdom that only God gives.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all …”
Later, James compared natural, or worldly wisdom, with godly wisdom. He even calls earth’s imitation demonic! Pretty strong words! But God’s wisdom stands so far above that everything else dims in comparison.
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
This list of divine attributes helps us to understand why wisdom stands as a prime qualification for Christian leadership.
Once filled with the Holy Spirit and possessing divine wisdom, the third attribute naturally follows — understanding.
“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
Both wisdom and understanding flow from God. Understanding takes divine wisdom and turns it into practical application in ever area of life — whether ministry, business, relationships, or daily decisions. Understanding is the practical working of wisdom.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”
As I consider these attributes and the order God prioritizes them, I understand to a greater level why these first three are critical for all Christian leadership.
The next qualification, knowledge, Bezalel perhaps obtained during his time as a slave in Egypt.
“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
Proverbs 18:15 ESV
Knowledge comes primarily through life experience and practical education. As we gain experience, God intends our knowledge to grow. But it all depends on our willingness to remain teachable and trainable. Through knowledge a comprehension and mastery of a any subject grows.
The fifth attribute for Christian leadership we find is skill, holding the last place in leadership credentials. Anyone desiring to learn and develop skill, if given the right opportunity, can and will. The following chapters of Exodus record how God partnered many highly skilled workers with Bezalel. Together, they meticulously completed the Tabernacle.
People uniquely skilled in artistic designs in a variety of mediums rose to the occasion to produce artistry beyond anything I could imagine. A perfect harmony of design and immaculate craftmanship resulted.
Skill without Holy Spirit inspiration “feels” dead. Knowledge apart from wisdom proves futile. Without understanding to effectively apply a skill, it produces nothing. Knowledge and skill woven with Holy Spirit inspiration, wisdom and understanding infuses humanity to breathe Heaven’s creative endeavors on Earth.
So whether we seek to fill a position of Christian leadership or are considering to apply for such a position, let us carefully consider God’s criteria, keeping His priorities as paramount. Does the candidate first possess the Spirit of God in overflowing measure? Do they, or I, presently exhibit godly wisdom in their daily lives? Are biblical standards evidenced and consistent both in their, or my, public and private spheres? And finally, do they, or I, display the knowledge and skill level to undertake the demands of the position? If not, what areas of training and development would be beneficial?
Christian leadership holds a critical place in the advancement of God’s mission on Earth. When applied according to His principles, we will see the Kingdom of God expand exponentially.