7 Biblical Leaders and their Leadership Tensions


I know people who shy away from terms such as leadership when talking about church. One comment I hear is they don’t want us to become too business-like. They believe Christ is the leader of the church and we are simply servants under His command.

While I agree with their assessment of our relationship to Christ, I see leadership throughout the Bible. God’s greatest servants were significant leaders – with significant examples of leadership challenges I face everyday.

And, as I read their story, I learn great Biblical principles – but also great leadership principles.

Here are 7 tensions of Biblical leaders:

David – Have you ever fought a giant? Did you ever have to recover from a ruined reputation? Do you know what it’s like to feel like the world is against you?

Joseph – Have you ever prepared for a bleak future? Have you ever been accused of something you didn’t do? Have you ever had to reconcile a broken relationship?

Paul – Has a changing culture ever impacted your leadership? Did you ever have problems getting the established leaders to trust you? Do you allow struggles and opposition to fuel your best work?

Gideon – Ever been in over your head? Do you ever feel you are not prepared to fulfill what you know you have to do? Did you land in a position and – honestly – you’re not sure why?

Moses – Is the weight of your responsibility ever overwhelming? Have you been treated with disloyalty? Is someone else getting to complete the work – and enjoy the benefits – of something you started?

Abraham – Have you ever led a team into an unknown? Do family situations ever distract you from what you feel you must do? Do you ever have to wait?

Noah – Do you ever feel you are standing alone? Does the task in front of you seem impossible? Ever feel you’re on an island where no one understands?

Look over the list and see which of these are most representative of your current leadership tension. Then discover things these Biblical leaders did wrong or did right in handling their challenge.

Perhaps some of the best leadership advice is closer than you think.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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15 thoughts on “7 Biblical Leaders and their Leadership Tensions

  1. I drop a leave a response each time I like a post on
    a website or I have something to add to the conversation.

    Usually it’s a result of the passion communicated in the article I browsed.
    And after this article 7 Leadership Tensions of Biblical Leaders | Ron Edmondson.
    I was actually excited enough to post a comment 😉 I do have a couple
    of questions for you if you don’t mind. Could it be simply
    me or does it give the impression like a few of the remarks come across as if they are written by brain dead individuals?
    😛 And, if you are writing on other online social
    sites, I’d like to keep up with you. Could you list the complete
    urls of all your communal sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  2. New: Stephen who stood in the middle of those who were ready to kill him, and was true to the Holy Spirit's inspiration even though he had to know that what he said was going to result in an unpopular outcome. Though many in the young church were scattered as a result of his stoning, Stephen's commitment to speak the inspired words helped to spread the truth to many new people as a result of that scattering of believers.

  3. God has shown me Jonah in my life. The one who was called to go into ministry at 19 and thought he should finish college first. When college was complete I owed 4 years to the US Air Force and so, completed that. At the end of the Air Force I could have had 4 years of GI Bill pay for seminary, but couldn't figure out how to take care of my wife and raise our children on GI benefits and so poured myself into career. (ministry stuff on the side, just teaching sunday school). Then became a Christian apologist, but still no full time ministry.

    At age 55 I looked myself in the mirror and realized "as a Christian apologist" that God was calling me into ministry, and I was essentially telling God, who spoke the dimension of time into existence, that I didn't have the time. So … I just said "yes". ….. Finally …. not trying how to figure it out on my own …. just a little "yes".

    Now, a few years later, God has blessed me SO much. Yes, I'm looking for ministry again after having been on a church staff and helping them save millions of dollars which should be redirected toward ministry. God used the skills I picked up during my rebellion to do that. I don't know what God has next for me to do …. …. but the morning after my release into new ministry I opened my Bible on my iPod at random and the only verse staring back at me was Jonah 2:10. …. …… So I know that God has ministry prepared in advance and awaiting me ….

    • That's a great lesson to share with us. Thank you. Jonah is one of my favorite books to preach. I was 38 before I surrendered to my call. 

  4. I find myself as a Noah, as I am very much alone in obedience, but also as an Abraham because I am a sojourner. I have yet to fi d a place to really settle. No place I can call home. The reality is that my real home isn't on Earth, and maybe that is what I feel.
    Twitter: bryankr

  5. Those are fantastic situations ron- I think I most connect with Abraham leading into the unknown…it is a blast but there are days I wonder what Im doing as we explore territory that I haven't ever been.

    On a different note, any thoughts on people saying Mark D. copied your forgiveness posts a few years back?
    Thanks Ron! always love reading your stuff!

    • Thanks.  No thoughts. It doesn't matter to me personally either way. My posts are pretty elementary stuff. I can't get too upset about that. And the subject is one we need to be talking about. Good reminder to all of us to cite when needed. People are watching. 

  6. New: Nehemiah: Leading against a determined and organised enemy.
    Absalom: Leading in rebellion, leading a rebellious group of followers.
    Jehoshaphat: Leading a revival.

  7. New: Peter: Failing To Walk On Water
    Abraham: Leading Into An Unknown.
    I don’t know about you, but my life has been all about leading into the unknown. God does not send us to Pastor a church, God has sent us many, many times to undergird the church planter and be servant leaders. LOL… One time we packed up our house in a U-Haul and moved 600 miles obeying God’s call to go. We helped plant a church campus in a region where there were not many churches. We stayed two years until the campus moved from a middle school to it’s own building. We worked 7 days a week non stop. God is still asking all of us to be Abraham’s but the temptation of comfort keeps many of us from going. On that trip in our U-Haul we anxiously looked at one another and my husband said: Don’t you feel like Sarah and Abraham must have felt??

    Twitter: kmac4him