Tip # 12 -- The Importance of
Good Character Traits

photo courtesy of Andreas Cappell

Good character traits are the need of the hour

We often hear that leadership development is the need of the hour. Churches need better pastors, teachers, and small group leaders. While this is true, I believe that there is even a greater need in the church today: good character.

Most people are not leaders

In the traditional sense, most people do not see themselves as leaders and in reality, most people are not leaders. This may surprise you, but carefully consider what I am saying. Think of the people who currently attend your small group or Sunday school class. Most of these folks do not think of themselves as leaders and never will in the traditional sense. They are never going to head up a team, take charge of a group, or cast a vision for others to follow. Why? The simple reason is that most people are not leaders and will only influence others out of who they are. That is why good character traits are so important.

Influence begins with who we are

Being a disciple-maker is not the same as being a leader. Jesus understood this reality and that is why he trained his followers to be like Him -- to take on his character. Likewise, Jesus wants us to become disciple-makers whether or not we become small group leaders. Discipleship is about a change of character. Christ's mission was more about character development than leadership development. He knew that our influence begins with who we are not our talents and abilities.

Can you disciple one other person?

We would be wise to stop expecting people to be something that they will never be. Jesus told his disciples, I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). This means that at a minimum, a follower of Jesus should be expected to learn how to disciple one other person. If that is the vision we cast, the average person will say, "Hey, I can do that!"

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Certainly some can and should be more high profile leaders. But if we expect everyone to be this kind of leader, we will be constantly frustrated and the average person will feel guilty. Consider a different approach. Ask the people who are not traditional leaders to focus on what Jesus wants them to become. Clearly explain that Jesus expects them to form one-on-one relationships and disciple people in a natural, relational way. This news will encourage the average person more than you know.

A Biblical expectation

In most churches, everyone seems to understand that most people are not leaders -- except those in traditional leadership positions. Church leaders often assume that everyone is capable of being a leader and should be challenged to step it up and do more. In a discipling culture, they believe that most people could and should become small group Bible study leaders. This expectation is not biblical or realistic.

Challenge people to good character traits

Most people are not leaders and will only influence others out of who they are. Challenge the people in your sphere of influence to develop Christ-like character traits - to be disciples and make disciples. Jesus determines our role in his kingdom and some of us develop into leadership roles. Most people however, will only influence others out of who they are - and that is what makes the Kingdom of God so attractive. Everyone can be who God made them to be.

Author: Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com

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