Character First

“Guard your heart with all possible vigilance, for from it flow the wellsprings of life.” Proverbs 4:23, NCB

Leadership rises or falls based on character. God has always shown primary concern for the heart of a leader, patiently shaping their character before moving them into ministry. Abraham had to wait 25 years for Isaac. Joseph was a slave who spent two years in a dungeon before being recognized for his potential in Egypt. Moses spent 40 years as a shepherd before leading Israel. David spent around 15 years serving (and running from) King Saul before becoming king himself.

The KC Underground developed this Impact Equation to show that character does not just add to your ministry effectiveness, it multiplies it. That means a high degree of character will greatly increase your impact, but a low measure of integrity or a negative set of character traits will multiply through a person’s relationships to cause great negative impact.

Check out this podcast from Movements (Steve Addison):

Emanuel Prinz shares his experience of 24 years serving a movement in Sudan and his research on 30 other movement leaders. Look at this striking list of 11 traits of a leader God uses:

  1. Hunger for God (more even than for a movement)
  2. Expectant faith – believing God will work.
  3. Confidence – contagious and bold
  4. Inspiring personality
  5. Strong drive for responsibility for a specific people group
  6. Dependability – faithful with small things, trusted with bigger things
  7. Persistence – tenacious to persevere until a breakthrough
  8. Confidence in the Holy Spirit
  9. Confidence in the Bible
  10. Empowering others – freely giving away authority and responsibility
  11. Visionary – confident that it will happen 

Methodology and curriculum vary from movement to movement, but what is common among all movements is the character of the catalyst. “We need to focus less on the formulation of methodology and more on the formation of the leader” (Prinz).

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