5 Traits to Look for in Potential Leaders

…As a missionary

Here are 5 traits I believe are important in the work of church planting mission work as the missionary seeks and develops leaders on the foreign field.

Faithfulness – This is at ground zero. Without faithfulness a man is going nowhere. This can be taught but it can’t be forced. At some point the disciple has to grab it and own it . He has to see how important it is to be where he is suppose to be every time and on time. He has to see how important it is that people can count on him. He has to desire and work at building a name for always keeping his word. A leader has to be faithful. A great verse that really shows how bad it is to be unfaithful is found in Proverbs 25:19 – Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint . An unfaithful man will never be a great leader.

Ownership – A good potential leader is one that takes ownership. We are speaking in the area of church work. He will realize the importance of being a member of his church and get involved. He will help take care and maintain the building because it’s his church’s property. He will look and search for ways to serve because it’s his Lord’s church. It’s not about getting paid it’s about the fact that he realizes this is his eternal family and he wants in, completely in!

Initiative – This trait is defined as the ability to assess and initiate things independently. Or the power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do. A potential leader is going to learn to take the initiative. He is looking for work to be done, opportunities to be taken, without having to be told to do so. This is unfortunately a rare trait. But if you and I desire to be great leaders initiative is a must! You will only realize the importance of this trait when you are starting or leading an organization on your own. Look for the guy already working – even though he may not be doing it right or the best way but he is moving and trying. This guy probably takes initiative. Some guys have just never had a good example of someone with initiative. Be that person and explain what it is and how important it is and somebody might latch on to it.

Quality Workmanship – A great leader in my book is someone that cares about the quality of his work. This guy is not perfect. He may not be the most talented but he is working hard with what he has. He studies to show himself approved unto God. He prepares for anything and everything he is responsible for because his name, and more importantly His Lord’s name is on the line. He is not a “wing-it” kind of guy. He puts in the time to get the job done and done right. He genuinely cares about the the product he puts out – whether it’s a message, manual work, or some sort of oversight of a job in the church. He’s all about quality!

Aspirations – This is the hope or ambition of achieving something. I realize ambition can be a bad thing. But I believe it can also be an essential quality of good leadership. An aspiring young man is a guy that dreams, and wants to do something great with his life. I’m not talking about building his own fame but this guy understands the he only has one short life to live and that is only assured one breath at a time. He wants to make the most of every moment. He is hungry and driven for the glory of God! He wants to see God do something great through his life – in every area – as a husband, father, church member, Sunday school teacher, children’s church leader, preacher, pastor etc, etc. He has great aspirations!

These are things that are very important to me as I look at myself, other leaders, and potential leaders. I realize there many traits much greater than these but I think these should definitely be on the list of leadership qualities. May God help us to have them, develop them, and help others to gain them for the glory of God!



  1. Jim Wyatt

    Appreciate this article. Could you maybe comment on your experience in finding these qualities verses developing these qualities there in SA.

    • kbhall

      Great question! I think most if not all are traits that you draw out of those that have that “untapped potential.”

      I know in my own life I learned a lot of these things from men that gave me a chance. They didn’t just look at me and say this is a lazy, sloppy, unfaithful young man. They saw what I could be. They saw something in me and sought to draw it out and by God’s grace I am what I am today.

      So yes, to answer your question, I think they need to be explained, illustrated and developed in the disciple that you discern has that untapped potential.

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