Some leaders seem to be more fruitful than others. I don’t think this is accidental. The touch of the Holy Spirit on their lives and ministries and the sovereignity of God aside, here are some things that fruitful leaders practice and experience that helps them cooperate with God in bearing good and lasting fruit.

Originally posted by Chuck Lawless

Last week, a student who is a prospective church planter asked me a question I had not considered for some time: “What characteristics have you seen in graduates who’ve done well – who’ve been effective in ministry?” Here is my response based on twenty years of teaching:

1.  They believe the Bible. I suppose that’s to be assumed, but such an assumption is not always valid among church leaders. The graduates I’ve seen do well stand uncompromisingly on the authority of the Word.

2.  They are gifted communicators. Frankly, I have seen very few pastors and church planters succeed well if they do not communicate well from the pulpit. Giftedness + training in preaching matters.

3.  They’ve learned they’re not nearly as significant as they thought they were.  The young leaders I’ve seen serve effectively have realized that God doesn’t need them to accomplish His plan. He uses them not because they’re gifted, but because He’s gracious.

4.  They have been through a tough ministry experience at some point. This characterization, for certain, cannot be separated from #3 above. Often, these leaders have been broken (humbled, that is . . .) in the course of ministry – and they’ve come out stronger on the other side.

5.  They have willingly sought to learn how to lead. Sure, most are naturally gifted leaders, but they continue to seek out resources and other leaders to help them grow. Stagnation in their leadership skills is unacceptable to them.

6.  They have a more experienced mentor who helps them when needed. Again, seldom have I met a young leader who’s led a church effectively without having two or three older believers to whom he turns for guidance.

7.  They choose to continue their education. They understand that the discipline of study and the value of others reviewing their work prepare them even more to lead.

8.  They build a team around them. These young leaders typically don’t want to minister alone; they want brothers and sisters who walk with them and serve with them, each of them operating out of his or her own giftedness.

9.  They have a “holy ambition.” That is, they want God to use them in mighty ways for His glory.  They’re not driven by ungodly ambition, though; what matters to them is that God uses them to make an eternal difference for His name.

What other characteristics would you add to this list from your own experiences?