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Leaders are first disciples

Leaders who make a positive impact are more than just visionaries, organizers and risk takers. They are people of principle and integrity.

For Christian leaders, it also demands a deep spiritual walk with Christ.

"To put it succinctly, being a principled leader in the Wesleyan tradition means to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ," said the Rev. Steve Manskar, director of Wesleyan leadership for Discipleship Ministries.

"Clergy are leaders, of course, but when we talk about Christian leaders in the Wesleyan tradition, we certainly are not only talking about clergy," Manskar said. "More important is the formation of lay leadership. These lay leaders are a very important part of the Wesleyan tradition. When we talk about Christian leadership, we are talking about those involved in the formation and equipping of laity for ministry."

Manskar said the Rev. Randy Maddox, William Kellon Quick professor of Wesleyan and Methodist studies at Duke University, gave a good explanation of Wesleyan leadership in a document The United Methodist Way:

Wesleyan leadership provides the teaching, discipline and spirit people need to grow in holiness of heart (loving God) and life (loving those whom God loves). It fosters a culture of holiness that equips Christians to join Jesus Christ and his mission for the world.

Wesleyan leadership is missional. It is centered in the life and mission of Jesus Christ who is preparing the world for the coming reign of God. Wesleyan leadership keeps the church focused on Christ and God's mission in the world.

Wesleyan leadership is relational. Disciples are made when Christians care enough about their neighbors to introduce them to Jesus Christ and model his way of life that leads to holiness of heart and life.

Wesleyan leadership is incarnational. "The Word became flesh and made his home among us" (John 1:14, CEB). Wesleyan leadership forms a culture in the church that is centered in Jesus Christ and his mission for the world he loves (holiness of heart and life).

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