3 Traits of a Missional Leader

There is much talk today about being missional.  The idea is grounded in the notion that we move towards people, not that we require them to move towards us.  It carries with it the understanding of empathy that allows us to meet people where they are with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.  But what type of leader does it take to lead people into this experience?  I offer up three critical traits from 2 Corinthians 4:1-10 and 2 Corinthians 1:8-11.

1. An identity rooted in the fact that we have been redeemed and called  This is the sure knowledge and understanding that we, as Christ followers, have been rescued and commissioned.  We have been bought and sent.  The gospel is not a collection of good sayings–it is the announcement of good news.  It is the proclamation of redemption that carries with it the privilege and responsibility of transference.  Leaders must be secure in who they are as a redeemed loved children to ask others to follow their calling into missional engagement.

2. A belief in the gospel as the ultimate reality of life  There are many, many competing philosophies of life in the world today.  In reality there always have been.  The gospel stands alone.  Again, the gospel is the proclamation of good news–of a historical, life altering event.  It is the announcement of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection that can set us free from slavery to sin and death.  All other world philosophies offer improvement theories.  The gospel offers freedom and transformation.  There is no greater need or greater reality.  A leader must surely believe this to lead others into the morass and messiness of missional engagement.  This bedrock belief also provides the passion for the message.

3. A ridiculous faith in God’s presence and goodness  I believe these two traits provide the foundation for faith.  The clear understanding that God is completely good (no imperfections and no injustice) and always present (he is with us in every situation and setting) allows us to weather the missional storms.  I only call this type of faith “ridiculous” because it is other worldly and will be attacked by the world.  A leader must continually point followers to this reality about the nature and character of God.

What are your thoughts on other key traits?

2 replies
  1. Alan Jones
    Alan Jones says:

    Gary I am a missionary on the Thai/Burma border, training primarily Burmese for church planting in Myanmar. I think that without an underlying, though not necessarily, conscious mental acknowledgement of what you term ‘traits of a missional leader’ neither I nor any missionary, including the Apostle Paul, would have left home.
    I am not going to give my life for a suggestion or an inkling. But in Christ I am fully persuaded…
    I have been involved in Christian ministry for many years but have only been here for close on 12 months. We have graduated our first intake and they are on the field already.
    Being a Christian is not an armchair exercise. To many folk, unfortunately it is just a talkfest. When I met Jesus, I met life and will spend the rest of my days secure in the knowledge that He is and He will do for me. I have seen amazing miracles over here because when He spoke, like Peter, I got out of the boat and walked on the water. If we are doing His Will and that means souls, He is going to be with us every step of the way. Blessings, Alan

    • Gary Runn
      Gary Runn says:

      Thanks Alan-great insights. I agree with you-our identity has to be so rooted in Christ to take the kind of steps you are taking and to see the work that God wants to do in and through us. And I am grateful for what you are doing for the Kingdom in Myanmar. Stay the course!


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