Frankly, it’s not easy to find men and women who are genuinely humble—even in the church. Nevertheless, I have known some leaders who are incredibly humble. Here are some of their characteristics:
- They never claim to be humble. Others recognize their humility, but these men see only their own arrogance. They’re even uncomfortable when someone else says something about their humility.
- They don’t worry about titles. Many of the humble men I’ve known have doctoral degrees, but you’d never hear them speak about that. The titles of “Pastor” or “Brother” mean more to them than “Dr.”
- They ask a lot of questions about others. If you meet any of these men, they will ask you many questions about yourself. They’re genuinely more interested in knowing you than they are in your knowing who they are.
- They speak only that which builds up others. Humble men have no interest in tearing down others through gossip. They know they could fall, too, so they intentionally speak only to build up others.
- They listen well. When you’re talking to them, you know they’re paying attention. They respect others enough to give them their undivided attention.
- They’re learners. No matter how old they are or how long they’ve done ministry, they ask me about current books, resources, blogs, etc. These men want present-tense knowledge of what’s happening around them.
- They serve with others. I’ve watched them pick up garbage, help set up chairs, paint rooms, and push vacuum cleaners. They’ve never seen themselves as too important to do such menial tasks.
- They evangelize consistently. This “marker” has surprised me, as I didn’t naturally connect humility and evangelism. I’ve learned, though, that it’s easier to talk about Jesus if you talk less about yourself.
- They help others succeed. They see their role as helping others do well. They open doors for others, facilitate connections, and rejoice when all succeed.
- They’re comfortable right where they are. They’re not trying to climb ladders. They may have served in denominational roles, but those platforms don’t interest them. If they are where God wants them to be, they’re happy.
What about you? How do you compare to this list? What other markers would you add?
A humble leader pours their life into younger pastors in their area. Dr. Joe pastored the biggest church in the area of my first pastorate and I pastored the smallest. He came to me at our weekly pastor’s conference and asked if I would like to meet and hang out. It astonished me that he would do that and he has been a great example to me ever since. BTW I overheard many of the kids in the area just call him Preacher Joe…LOL
Thanks, David, for the example.
Looking at this list I hope that I can live up to these attributes. I know a preacher that was a good friend UNTIL he earned his doctorate. Since then he has become one of the most arrogant preachers I have ever known. It really is a turn off.
I fear we’re all really close to crossing this line, John. Thanks for the reminder.
Great list. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.
Thanks for a great list Chuck. May we each remember that we have an audience of One to please.