One of the things that has become clearer the further we go into this gray world is the importance of the inner character of great leaders. Their inner character is what makes their actions so profound to those around them.  It’s not that they have a better I. Q., or education, or more money, or better surroundings. Their success is due to what’s inside of them. “The Father and I are one.” Your inner relationship to God, Self, and others if by far your most important virtue.

Such has always been the case – it’s just more obvious today as the world seems to be going madder every day.

So here are the eleven inner qualities I’ve noted in all of the great leaders I’ve had the privilege of working with.


The ability to see what God is doing and put oneself in the midst of it. Don’t get stuck with your nose buried in your church – look out to the harvest and find what God is doing and then say – “Nevertheless, your will be done.”

The ability to see in others what they have not seen in themselves and to help them bring out their gifts.


Great leaders’ hearts are broken over the sin they see around them. They so want to change things they are willing to do whatever it takes to change things – “Jesus Wept”.

When asked why people came to hear him, John Wesley said, “I set myself on fire and people come to see me burn.”


Since no one knows for sure what will work in the emerging world, great leaders have to rely on intuition more than education.


The ability to get off the treadmill long enough to ask new questions. Instead of doing the same things and expecting something new, they try new things. What new questions are you raising?

Self- Regulated

You are the thermometer. Great leaders know their strengths and weaknesses and never allow anything to throw them off balance. They never take anything personally.

Ability to Focus

Great leaders have the will in the midst of distraction to focus on what matters. The mission evaluates everything. “Seek first the Kingdom.”


Great leaders don’t give up on something they are convinced God wants them to do. “I’ve finished the course: I’ve run a good race.”

The ability to carry on when everyone around you does things differently. “Perfect love casts out all fear.”


Great leaders seek God’s will and when they feel they have found it they go for it with all they have.

They have the ability to carry on when everyone else is questioning your actions. “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

What are you willing to lose your church over?


Great leaders take responsibility when they mess up and own up to it and learn from it and never try to put the blame on others.


Great leaders have the constant urge to ask “Why?” “Unless you become like a little child.”


The ability to wait on God for direction – they take the long term view and avoid the quick fix. “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength…”

Which of these inner characteristics do you need to work on?

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