Leaders don’t lead well or last long without great faith.

All leaders experience seasons of question and doubt, but in general, successful leadership and faith go hand in hand.

I’m not referring to your salvation by faith, but a faith that believes God for the promise to build His church.

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Matthew 16:18

Leaders possess hope for a better future and believe that God will help the church realize that vision. After all, it’s His church. Therefore, it is faith in a divine promise based on the evidence of His will in Scripture.

Faith is subjective and difficult to measure, yet Jesus infers there are differing amounts of faith. Jesus talked to his disciples about little faith. That indicates that faith can become greater.

In several scripture passages, we can see Jesus’ disappointment and perhaps even frustration and pain with the disciples about their little faith. But I don’t think Jesus was angry. I believe the source of His emotion was love. He wanted them to understand. He wanted them to experience the power and blessing of great faith.

I believe He wants that for you and me too.

The need for faith is not limited to the senior leader or the primary communicator. Every leader from senior staff to volunteers must have faith for the area they lead.

5 truths about your faith as a leader:

1) You can’t force faith.

Faith is not something you can microwave. You can’t “discipline” your way to greater faith. You can’t simply decide to attend a conference on “greater faith.” It takes time.

Much like the tiny mustard seed, faith is something that starts very small but grows and matures to something much greater in size.

When you experience a time of little faith, you can lean into the faith of those close to you, the leaders above you, and the body of Christ around you. But ultimately, faith is personal, and every leader must pursue a personal journey of developing their faith.

2) You can’t fake faith.

I’ve coached leaders who found themselves being less than honest about their faith in the vision for their church. Whether they stand up and cast vision to the congregation, or share it in a boardroom, they knew something about it rang hollow. They said all the right words, but they didn’t really believe.

Lack of belief is different than uncertainty. No leader can be “certain” about an outcome, but must still possess great faith in “all things being possible” with God.

Leaders don’t get the option for a “let’s just wait and see” perspective. Casual attenders, bystanders and those who cast their opinions on social media can say “Maybe this will work and maybe it won’t.”

The purpose of leadership is a change toward a better future in Christ. From the essential measurement of one transformed life at a time to the church’s larger impact in the community and throughout the world.

3) You can ask God to increase your faith.

You are not alone in the development of your faith. God does not relieve us of our part, but He can and does increase our faith by answered prayer, the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s power, and the ability to remember and reflect on His abundant faithfulness throughout history.

Choosing a word or a word pair to focus personal growth for the year has become a popular thing to do.

A couple of years ago I chose “Aggressive Faith” for my word pair to focus on. That may be a strange phrase to you or seem more focused on what I can do than what God can do. But I can assure you I’m not fooled by my weakness and His strength.

I simply want to pursue greater faith as a leader, and do all I can rather than sit back and rest in wishful thinking.

4) You can distinguish between faith in God and faith in yourself.

Faith in God and faith in yourself can be a fine line to parse, but you must know where the line is. Both are important but the order of priority matters greatly.

We accomplish nothing of eternal value outside God, yet He gave us gifts, talents, energy, wisdom and opportunities. What we do with all that is our choice, but God adds the favor, power and blessing that makes the real difference.

He is the vine, and we are the branches. So, who really produces the fruit? God does, but he chooses us as the instrument of that growth!

It’s easy to under-believe in God and over-believe in self, maybe not in our thinking but certainly in by our actions.

Confidence in your leadership and faith in yourself is vital. But the true source of that faith must always be God.

5) You can risk faith to grow faith.

I admire and respect the great faith of Kevin Myers, founding and Senior Pastor of 12Stone Church. For 30 years now he has risked his faith, meaning he doesn’t settle and leads toward God’s next…the best for 12Stone. He took a big risk when he planted the church in 1987 and has taken big risks ever since.

Faith grows larger when a leader takes a risk and sees what God can do. Whether you lead a small group or are the senior pastor of a church, risk-taking is essential to leadership and the development of your faith.

You don’t have to take a gigantic risk to begin stretching your faith, but it needs to be large enough that you know God is in it because alone you can’t pull it off.