It was John Stott who said that pride is our greatest enemy and humility our best friend. What does a truly humble leader look like? How would you describe them? Chuck Lawless shares 10 characteristics of the most humble men he’s known.

Originally posted by Chuck Lawless


The character trait of humility

Frankly, it’s not easy to find men and women who are genuinely humble—even in the church. Nevertheless, I have known some leaders who are incredibly humble. Here are some of their characteristics:

  1. They never claim to be humble. Others recognize their humility, but these men see only their own arrogance. They’re even uncomfortable when someone else says something about their humility.
  2. They don’t worry about titles. Many of the humble men I’ve known have doctoral degrees, but you’d never hear them speak about that. The titles of “Pastor” or “Brother” mean more to them than “Dr.” 
  3. They ask a lot of questions about others. If you meet any of these men, they will ask you many questions about yourself. They’re genuinely more interested in knowing you than they are in your knowing who they are. 
  4. They speak only that which builds up others. Humble men have no interest in tearing down others through gossip. They know they could fall, too, so they intentionally speak only to build up others.
  5. They listen well. When you’re talking to them, you know they’re paying attention. They respect others enough to give them their undivided attention.
  6. They’re learners. No matter how old they are or how long they’ve done ministry, they ask me about current books, resources, blogs, etc. These men want present-tense knowledge of what’s happening around them.
  7. They serve with others. I’ve watched them pick up garbage, help set up chairs, paint rooms, and push vacuum cleaners. They’ve never seen themselves as too important to do such menial tasks.
  8. They evangelize consistently. This “Characteristic ” has surprised me, as I didn’t naturally connect humility and evangelism. I’ve learned, though, that it’s easier to talk about Jesus if you talk less about yourself.
  9. They help others succeed. They see their role as helping others do well. They open doors for others, facilitate connections, and rejoice when all succeed.
  10. They’re comfortable right where they are. They’re not trying to climb ladders. They may have served in denominational roles, but those platforms don’t interest them. If they are where God wants them to be, they’re happy. 

What about you? How do you compare to this list? What other characteristics  would you add?