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The Ten Commandments for Leadership By Jon Lewis

The Ten Commandments of Effective Ministry Leadership

While attending a missions conference recently, the pastor of a church that has supported us for the past four decades shared an outstanding talk on principles of effective leadership. I can’t think of any better list of ways to assure a sustained healthy leadership role than by faithfully keeping these commitments.

With permission from Pastor Troy Dobbs from Eden Prairie, MN, here are what he calls, the Ten Commandments of Effective Ministry Leadership:

  1. I will lead a life of moral purity. No question about it—failure to maintain this first commitment has led to the downfall of more ministry leaders than any other single principle on this list. As Ephesians 5:3-4 says, there should not even be a hint of sexual immorality in the life of God’s leaders. If you can’t lead yourself in this area of life you simply can’t lead others.
  2. I will practice fiscal responsibility in ministry matters—A leader’s integrity must extend to all uses of ministry funds, no matter how great or small the concern might be.
  3. I will give an honorable day’s work—Because so much ministry work is done without direct accountability to anyone, it’s easy to hide a lazy or irresponsible work ethic from the view of others. In contrast, a ministry leader must be honest and honorable with their time even when no one is watching.
  4. I will be flexible and open to change—Any leader expecting to stay relevant in this fast-paced world must absolutely be open to change, especially change that is unexpected. This is doubly true of the steward leader who recognizes that the Master always has the last word in how something should be done.
  5. I will be positive about the organization and its ministry—It’s been said that it takes ten positive words to equal the power of one negative word. Leaders should be cheerleaders for their organization and be known only for words of affirmation about the ministry they represent.
  6. I will make the effort to get along with other leaders—Perhaps there is no greater challenge for the ministry leader than this one. And it is not just believing the best of other people’s intentions but also actively working toward them flourishing as leaders in their own right.
  7. I will be supportive of my supervisor—Learning to submit to supervision is one of those key stepping-stone life-lessons that will eventually pay off when leaders are one day supervisors themselves.
  8. I will be a humble servant and not an arrogant prima donna—The heart of the faithful steward leader is living out the recognition that there is only one kingdom and God alone sits on its throne. That recognition naturally should lead to an attitude of humility and servanthood.
  9. I will give my family proper attention—It is very easy for leaders to compromise their entire ministry success simply by neglecting the priority of time and attention their families deserve. That’s why Paul made such a point of it in 1 Timothy 3:4 when he says that a leader, “must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him.” (NIV)
  10. I will never lose the wonder of serving the Lord—A job is what you’re paid for. A ministry is what you’re made for. If you are paid to do what you’re made for, it is truly a wonderful gift from God.

Stewarding our attempts at being truly effective leaders can be daunting no matter what our area of expertise. Breaking that effort down into a focus on each of these ten personal commitments, however, makes that effort doable and the end result of greater effectiveness actually attainable.


Jon Lewis is a Senior Associate for Partnership Advancement with OC International and focuses on encouraging global Christian leaders towards greater ministry effectiveness. With over 40-years of experience, he also served as a MAF mission pilot in Africa and CEO of Partners International.


It’s Time to Overcome the Obstacles”From personal experience in business leadership, I’ve identified 10 false beliefs frequently held by Christian business leaders, often subconsciously. 10 Common Obstacles Christian Business Leaders Encounter and How to Overcome Them offers a side-by-side comparison of those false beliefs and the reality of God’s perspective about you and what you do.” – Garth Jestley




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