[SLIDESHOW=40069]ORLANDO, Fla. (BP) — Calling, covenant, courage, conviction and character are the marks of Christian leadership in the 21st century, R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in a message at the first-ever Spanish Pre-Conference for The Gospel Coalition National Conference in Orlando, Fla.
“As we follow the storyline of Scripture, we see that God’s people, whenever and wherever they are found, are characterized and often identified by their leadership,” Mohler said.
“When we think about leadership in a new millennium, and we think about the leadership challenges we’re all going to face in the future, our main responsibility is to go back to the Scriptures to be instructed about leadership,” he said.
Mohler was the final speaker at the Spanish Pre-Conference, sponsored by Southern Seminary and Wisdom & Integrity Ministries. More than 700 Spanish-speaking leaders attended the April 12-13 gathering featuring Southern Seminary alumnus Miguel Núñez, senior pastor of Iglesia Bautista Internacional in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and president of Wisdom & Integrity; Southern Seminary professor M. David Sills, who is president of Reaching & Teaching International Ministries; and the Santo Domingo church’s worship team led by Southern Seminary M.Div. graduate Luis Núñez and two current students.
Preaching through an interpreter from Joshua 1:1-9, Mohler opened his message with a description of the current American political landscape as several candidates have officially declared for the 2016 presidential race.
The world will witness a “phenomenal” change when U.S. voters elect their next president, with strong leadership as a key factor, Mohler said, describing it as a secular understanding of leadership that seeks the best way to develop leaders and reap the benefits.
“To operate from a biblical, Christian worldview is to be reminded that leadership is not an accident,” said Mohler, author of the 2012 book “The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters.”
“As Christians, we understand leadership is based on something far more fundamental,” Mohler said. “Every single human being is made in the image of God.”
The first key of Christian leadership is a calling from the Holy Spirit, he noted. The church must recognize the calling in Christian leaders -– both holding them accountable to the Word of God and submitting to their leadership.
“Leadership is one of the most important issues Christians can consider,” he said. “We’re starting in a different place than the secular world. We’re starting with leadership being a part of God’s divine plan, and with the call as that great assurance.”
When leaders obey God’s calling, they are held accountable for their faithfulness to God’s covenant purposes in the church, Mohler said. In addition to covenant faithfulness, obedience to God’s call produces courage in the understanding that God will accomplish His purposes.
“If God is building His church, then nothing gained will ever be lost,” Mohler said.
Conviction, then, is when the truths of God’s Word take root in His people through the preaching and example of His leaders, said Mohler, describing conviction as best conveyed by words.
“The miracle of preaching is the Holy Spirit taking God’s truth from ear to heart,” he said.
In citing character as the final key to Christian leadership, Mohler said leadership and character are “indivisible,” pointing out that the church places its highest hopes in the character of Jesus, who never fails.
“Our ultimate confidence is in no human leader whom we are called to follow, but in the fact that we serve King Jesus,” Mohler said.
Sills, Southern Seminary’s A.P. and Faye Stone Professor of Christian Missions, participated in a panel discussion with Latin American pastors and led a Southern Seminary conference course in Spanish for students who registered for course credit and attended the pre-conference.
Mohler’s address was translated by Bernardo Fuentes. Audio and video from the TGC Spanish Pre-Conference will soon be available online at thegospelcoalition.org.