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Christian leadership styles

By Daleen Cowgar
leadership styles. CHM

How you lead people—the way you treat them—is a direct reflection of your faith. As C.S. Lewis writes, “A man whose life has been transformed by Christ cannot help but have his worldview show through.” Leadership styles, done well, are an excellent testimony for Christ.

Following your calling as an entrepreneur often means you’ll have people working underneath you. Even if you’re the only employee at your small business, you can still lead those around you through your example.

In the Bible, we can find a variety of leadership styles, especially in the Old Testament. As you read through the kings of Judah and Israel listed in 1 and 2 Kings and Chronicles, you can easily tell through their leadership if they followed God or not.

It can be hard to display Christian leadership in business, but by taking the role of a servant and supporting your employees as they work, you can transform your workplace and display the love and unity of Christ.

Servant leadership

Jesus was a servant leader. The Savior of the world came down to live among us and lead us to the Father. He did this by serving those who followed Him: washing their feet [John 13:1-17, NIV], comforting them, and growing them in faith. His focus was on them first and how He could equip them to fulfill their God-given purposes.

Following in Jesus’ footsteps requires us to display that same servant leadership and demonstrate genuine love for those working under us.

Think about your employees or staff. How can you pray for them? Encourage them? Equip them? Ask God to provide meaningful ways for you to serve them and minister to them.

Transformational leadership

A transformational leader understands the power of collaboration and a well-equipped workforce. Nehemiah is a great example of transformational leadership in the Bible.

An ordinary person—a cupbearer tasting the Persian king’s wine to guard against assassination attempts—Nehemiah followed God’s prompting and brought together the scattered Israelite people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Despite many dangers, challenges, and direct opposition, Nehemiah created unity and did what many thought was impossible. How did he do this?

He provided the vision of a rebuilt Jerusalem and helped the disoriented Israelites catch his passion and courage. He listened to them as they worked, ensuring they had the resources they needed. When enemies came, he freed resources to protect those working on the walls. Finally, he lived out what he was asking the Israelites to do: He worked on the wall himself, donated his money to help the poor and needy, prayed before making decisions, and held fast to God’s laws.

By being the change he wanted to see, Nehemiah helped the Israelites transform and rebuild a city that was meant to stay destroyed.

“The theme of each leadership style can be summed up in two words: Love people.”

Benevolent leadership

Benevolent leaders are ones who work for the benefit of all, such as Timothy, the recipient of 1 and 2 Timothy.

Though we may not know much about Timothy’s life, we do know how highly he was thought of. He was young in the New Testament when Paul is writing to him, but as the pastor at Ephesus, he was clearly taking Paul’s advice to “set the believers an example” [1 Timothy 4:12, ESV].

In his work as a pastor, Timothy had to defend his church against false teachers, standing firm in his faith and leading others according to the Scriptures. This he did not do with hatefulness or spite but by example with love, wisdom, and sound teachings.

Christian leadership simplified

The theme of each leadership style can be summed up in two words: Love people.

As many parts of one body, each with its own gifts, we all have different ways of serving, leading, and supporting one another. Whether your leadership style leans more towards servanthood, transformation, or benevolence, the focus remains the same. Love God and love the people He created.

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This ebook has the tools for the path ahead as you continue to step out with your startup. Plus, hear encouragement and wisdom from entrepreneurs just like you! From work-life balance and business strategy to following God’s voice and leaning into those leadership skills, it’s all inside.

Daleen Cowgar
Daleen combines her love of words and desire for truth to create content that consistently points people back to God. Through her wilderness adventures and love of the outdoors, she has a unique perspective of God's grandeur.