What is the spiritual gift of leadership

The spiritual gift of leadership is one of the many gifts given by the Holy Spirit to certain followers of Christ. The gift of leadership is referenced in two Bible passages: Romans 12:8 and 1 Corinthians 12:28. In both passages, the gift of leadership is used in the context of leading the local church with persistent care, wisdom, and dedication. The apostle Paul says the one who leads should "lead with zeal" (Romans 12:8), meaning that leaders ought to take their responsibility seriously.

Using the Gift of Leadership

Believers with the gift of leadership know that their gift was given to them by the Holy Spirit, and they thank Him for it. Those with the spiritual gift of leadership acknowledge that they're under God’s authority and guidance and that their primary duty is to serve others and teach them to follow God and submit to Him.

The spiritual gift of leadership enables a believer to successfully govern, help, and guide those under their care. Just as the shepherd looks out for the sheep, those with the spiritual gift of leadership should help equip others and model Christlike behavior for those who look up to them. Leaders should always be ready to facilitate others in their spiritual journey however they need.

Spiritual leaders should never underscore God or treat Him as second best. True leaders place God as the final, ultimate authority in their lives and the lives of others. Just like Paul, they ought to see themselves as servants of Christ (Romans 1:1). Spiritual leaders must avoid developing of a sense of entitlement or "lordship" over others. They are to follow Jesus' example of being a servant—not one who is served (John 13:1-17).

James: A New Testament Leader

In the New Testament, we can observe James, who was Jesus’ half brother, exercising his gift of leadership. James saw himself as a servant just as Paul did (James 1:1). Despite being gifted with the spiritual gift of leadership, he still acknowledged that Jesus was the true leader and submitted to His authority. At the Jerusalem Council, James utilized his spiritual gift of leadership to help the delegates think clearly and biblically and to understand the truth of God calling the Gentiles into the same redemption the Jews were experiencing (Acts 15:13-29).

Just like James, those with the spiritual gift of leadership should help guide, instruct, and lead those under their care in the way of Christ. By following godly examples, the believer with the spiritual gift of leadership will lead well and help others follow the narrow road.

How do I know if I have the gift of leadership?

If you believe you have the spiritual gift of leadership or if someone has told you as such, talk to God about whether you are truly gifted this way and how you can use this gift for Him (James 1:5). Another great way to discover if you have the gift of leadership is to volunteer in different places, like your local church or another non-profit or humanitarian organization. See if the leadership roles appeal to you and try them out if you're able. After you've been serving as a leader, remember to ask other trusted adults about your leadership skills and be open to their guidance and guidance from the Holy Spirit.



The spiritual gift of leadership is the ability to guide, instruct, and lead others in a way that is glorifying to God. All spiritual gifts are given to believers by the Holy Spirit as He sees fit, therefore, a person cannot choose their own gifts. Those with the gift of leadership are under God's authority and should zealously guide others in a godly manner (Romans 12:8; 1 Corinthians 12:28). Just like James, leaders should help solve conflicts gently, teach biblical wisdom, and personally follow the example of Jesus (Acts 15:13-29). If you feel you have the spiritual gift of leadership, talk to God about it and seek opportunities to serve others.

Writer: Vivian Bricker

Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.

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