Romans 12:8: The Gift of Leadership


  • Convictional leadership
  • Sacrificial leadership


Leadership in the world today is in crisis. In the Western world where we have cut ourselves loose from the Biblical worldview and opted for a post-modern moral relativism, we can no longer properly even define what a leader is and should be. The Post-Christian worldview has within it the seeds of its own destruction. In highlighting this inability in the area of leadership one person has written, ‘We want character but without unyielding conviction; we want strong morality but without the emotional burden of guilt or shame; we want virtue but without particular justifications that invariably offend; we want good without having to name evil; we want decency without the moral authority to have to insist upon it; we want moral community without any limitations to personal freedom; in short we want what we cannot have on the terms that we want it.’1 The bible also teaches us that leadership both in the home and the church is male. But on account of a crisis in sexual identity the whole notion of manhood is also lost, and men as leaders too. Christianity has much to offer in this vacuum of leadership. God created the the notion of leadership and defines it by Himself, and in Jesus Christ we have the intended image of God in man renovated and perfectly displayed before us. Leadership as defined by God and as it was intended to be in man is available to us. Not only do we have the image to copy but the Holy Spirit is given to us to conform us into this image. Today we are looking at Romans 12:8, at the gift of leadership where Paul says to us, ‘the one who leads, with zeal.’

The word for ‘lead’ is literally ‘the one who stands in front of.’ The same word is translated in reference to the church leaders in Thessalonica as those ‘over you.’ (1 Thess. 5:12). In 1 Tim. 5:17, concerning elders the same word is used and translated as ‘rule’. And in reference to elders and deacons the word is used of them ruling/managing their households well, (1 Tim. 3:14, 5, 12). Paul is most certainly addressing those who have been given the gift of office to lead. The office could be in the church or it could be at home or at work. Paul calls upon those with this opportunity to lead with zeal, which can be translated as haste, diligence, earnestness.

Today I want us to zoom in on two distinct aspects that Christianity highlights in relation to leadership. We will be looking at convictional leadership and sacrificial leadership.