5 Qualities I Look For in the Greatest Leaders

5 Qualities I Look For in the Greatest Leaders

Everybody leads something:  their family, their children, their business, their community, their church…or themselves.

Paul spoke about “faithful leaders.”  He listed their 5 greatest qualities to his spiritual son, Timothy (2 Tim. 2).

Check out how you measure up:

1.  “Soldier”—your FOCUS.

  • You’ve got to be devoted.  Committed.  Dedicated.  A soldier does not have his mind on “surfing the Internet” but on strategizing to defeat the enemy.
  • Be passionate about your purpose and dream.  Hunt down your weaknesses and destroy them.  Passive, distracted leaders look around one day and no one is following them!

2.  Athlete”—your DISCIPLINE.

  • An athlete’s enemy is himself.  His appetites.  His sleep habits.  His mind telling him to stay in bed instead of going to throw heavy things around in a gym.  His training and discipline puts him in the “zone” in the last two minutes of a championship.
  • Train yourself.  Discipline yourself to get up at a certain time, eat a certain diet, go to bed at a certain time.  Set yourself boundaries and live by them.  Discipline is the “discipleship of yourself.”

3.  “Farmer”—your WORK ETHIC.

  • Laziness never leads.  A farmer’s “sun-up to sun-down” work ethic is legendary.  He brings an energy level to every task.  Sweat makes him feel great.  In our technological, fantasy world, it is critical to work with your hands as well as your mind.
  • Be devoted.  Be committed to your work.  Make it fun, energetic, challenging.  Strive to be the absolute best, “working to full capacity in a relaxed state of faith.”

4.  “Craftsman”—your ATTENTION TO DETAIL.

  • I saw a documentary where a single Navy Seal candidate missed a small time change posted on the dorm billboard.  His entire squad had to carry a massive log for miles down the beach!  In leadership, you have to be alert, present and accurate.
  • Don’t just get by or turn in any old assignment.  Sweat the details.  Make it world class.  Whatever assignment you receive, take it to the next level.  When a musician, an artist, or a quarterback has mastered the fine details of their craft it is a “MASTERPIECE.”

5.  Vessel”—your HONOR.

  • There is a difference between a Dixie cup and a crystal glass.  One you throw away, the other you treasure in a china cabinet.  The difference?  “HONOR.”
  • Live an honorable life.  Choose to tell the truth, steer away from immoral relationships, keep your mind clean and stay out of angry outbursts.  Small character indulgences can dishonor your entire career and turn away those who follow you.  Treasure your influence.

–      If you feel distracted with no priorities, get focused.

–      If you feel you are drifting and unproductive, get accountable. 

–      If you feel lazy and unmotivated, get busy. 

–      If you feel your job or career is unrewarding, get down to the details.

–      If you feel you are being tempted, RUN from anything that could discredit your character.

There is a powerful, disciplined, productive, accurate, conscientious leader inside of you!


Larry was Senior Pastor at Bethany Church in Baton Rouge for 30 years. He now travels around the world speaking to ministry leaders.  Larry is currently the Executive Director of Surge Project, a worldwide church-planting movement that has planted over 25,000 new churches since it started in 2000.

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