Godly Leadership

By Shane Kirkpatrick

When I was first asked to write this piece, I was at first concerned. You see, some would say I am very opinionated, or that I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve, maybe even outspoken, or as my wife loves to tell people, brutally honest. Her quote “if you don’t want to know something, don’t ask him”…

I suppose in my own little way, I’ve always thought just telling it like it is, or calling it as I see it, is much better than candy coating or skirting around the truth. I certainly see some changes in my own leadership style, but before I get into that, let me tell you a little about my own personal growth. It is something I’ve taken very seriously, and though I suppose none of us like criticism, I’ve received my share. Throughout my military and law enforcement career, I can say things have changed culturally as I transitioned into the corporate workforce.

The way we direct, the way we speak, the way we learn, its all different than because I said so… One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is you can only lead when you have someone willing to follow you. And really before you can lead, you must learn to follow and learn to serve. A servant leadership is much like Godly leadership. And as I started to prepare this piece, I decided to poll some of my preacher friends. So let me start by thanking them for engaging. Thank you!

Here are my polling questions:

What is a Godly leader?

What are the qualities you would look for as a church?

What are your thoughts selecting a Godly leader into a church position?

Now, again before I dig too deep into a Godly leader verses a title holder, scripture tells us:

[2] When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. Proverbs 29:2 KJV

Year after year, example after example, have we seen dictators create chaos and discord amongst people, only to rule with an iron first.

I however would like to believe that a Godly leader, leads by example.

[4] He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. [5] After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. John 13:4-5 KJV

As a missionary to churches in need, I’ve had the opportunity to preach the gospel in many churches, some without a pastor. In questioning, I would ask them how their search is coming along. As usual, many small independent baptist churches, have a small congregation and the pastor needs to be bi-vocational in most cases. However, I often question motives, when one, the church is looking at a resume, and two, the would be pastor is looking for more income. (This is where I get opinionated, as previously warned)

Look, if your not called by God, your resume doesn’t matter!

Some overwhelming responses to the poll questions I sent out.

One preacher said this:

A Godly leader … someone who is first called by God not educated or credited but called.  And then continues in all manners like Jesus himself, as the first example of a small church pastor. Real, relatable, intense fellowship with the heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit, almost always available. I’m gladly willing, helpful and humble, Full of love love love without neglecting the other balancing attributes of God.

Thanks Bro. Steve!

Another point I would like to make, is not only are they called, but do they demonstrate the attributes of Godly leadership.

[16] They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. Titus 1:16 KJV

Do they believe the gospel? Do they preach the gospel? Now I ask these questions, because honestly, I do not believe the role matters, I believe Godly leadership is from housekeeping to pastoring, none of it is about you.

[6] I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: [7] Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. [8] But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. [9] As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. [10] For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Galatians 1:6-10 KJV

Some qualities I might look for in Godly leadership would be what their belief is in:

Qualities of a Godly leader

Lead by example

Servant heart


Prayer life


Another preacher friend of mine added this:

I believe the qualities a church should look for in a leader is someone who, by the grace of God, has cultivated the discipline to have a life marked by spending time with God in His Word and to spending time with Him in prayer. Not only do they have these evident disciplines in their life, but they also have a desire to help others to cultivate the same in their own lives. I also believe that a high level of honest transparency should be evident in their conversation. Accountability and burden bearing is very hard to with a leader that sees themselves as a walled city rather than an open book.

Thanks Bro. Jeremy!

When selecting a person to fill a position, many things should be considered, but more than most, prayer.

[22] And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Matthew 21:22 KJV

One of my preacher friends had this to add:

There are a lot of things we pray for, and we should; but if we have all of them and don’t have intimacy with God, it’s not enough, and if we have God, and none of them, it is enough.

Moses had the faults and failings that we all do, but God spoke well and honored him.

The qualities he had, that godly leadership needs, and churches should look for, are he had a desire to know God’s way and his glory; he had a heart for God’s people. Even though they vexed him, he was often on his face before God in prayer for them. He led with meekness.

Thanks Bro. John!

I suppose in closing, I might add a few things, and as I love to do, with questions. What are you looking for in a candidate? Why are you looking? If God is in it, it won’t be hard to find, though I tend to find God loves to teach me patience!

A preacher friend of mine concluded this:

A Godly leader is a born again, baptized, faithful, authoritative church member that represents leadership qualities and has a desire to teach, train, and prepare the next generation for the cause of Christ.

Thanks Bro. Bob!

Let me finish by saying thank you for the opportunity to write this piece. I hope this helps you in your search for either to fill or filling yourself, a Godly leadership position, in either case, or whatever the role, its all about serving!

Be blessed,

Bro. Shane Kirkpatrick


    • Dean Parker - June 18 2020

      Brother We must Preach the Word, because It is truth. We must Live the Word, Because it is Living, Brings Live and Saves Lives. Stand Fast in the Word, because It is the giver of the Living Word, The Lord Jesus Christ. It it better to tell the truth than kill with a Lie. Brutally Honest is the only way, But with a soft answer, so the wrath of God can be turned away. Reading What You wrote was That in all its forms. Thank You

      Reply to this comment

Leave a Comment