I have recently been mowed over by my own ignorance. For years and years I have had grandiose aspirations of leadership within ministry and the Kingdom of God. I’ve gone through the “trick God by pretending you don’t want to be a leader, and then He’ll make you one” season and figured out that wasn’t true.

Just last week I realized there was yet another incorrect mindset I was toting around.

I use to think that leadership in ministry had something to do with my own skill set. That it had something to do with my public speaking ability or my savvy people skills. Yes, of course those are excellent qualities, but they are not part pre-requisites with God.

There is only one pre-requisite. There is only one primary job description. The closer we draw to the last days the more important this one character trait is. Do you want to know what it is? Do you want to know what God looks for in leaders? I will tell you.


That’s it. God wants friends. Right now you’re probably saying, “Duh Shawn. I know.” Sure you do. But do you know?

Do you know in such a way that your living your life differently? Do you know it so that that it is more important to you that you go to the prayer meeting than have lunch with that influential guy? Do you know in such a way that when those who you do have leadership over start looking in another direction you don’t care? Do you know that you can receive nothing unless it’s been given to you from heaven, so you only care about being a friend of God?

The President of the United States of America

A good president hires smarter men to be in his inner counsel. All good leaders do. They get the best, brightest, smartest folks to be their counselors.

God doesn’t need any of them. There is not one man or woman that ever lived that could have given God any worthwhile advice that He didn’t already know. Nobody ever could improve on God’s ideas or his application of them. He needs no inner circle of wise counselors. Yet God still wants an inner circle. Why? If not for counsel then for what?

For companionship.

Two Things

It is not as complicated as we all think it is. If you want to be in God’s inner circle then be His friend. Be Peter. Be James. Be John. Be yourself. Don’t worry about networking relationships as much as living holiness.

To be God’s friend all we have to do is choose righteousness and pray.

What you do in the secret place matters. When nobody’s looking are you clicking that link? When nobody’s listening are you complaining? When nobody’s helping are you serving? Friendship with God is formed in the secret place. All we have to do is (1) talk to him using the Bible, using our prayer language, using our own words from our own mouth, and (2) choose purity / Godliness / holiness / righteousness.


If you will be His friend He will speak secrets to you. He will impart life in your inner man. He will bring you into His inner chamber. Into the garden. Into fellowship.

[See John 3:28-30 and Matthew 25:1-13]



  1. Jessie Still said:

    thank you, Shawn.

    Posted on July 24, 2007 at 9:37 am

  2. retroman said:

    This would stop any discerning “type A” dead in his tracks! This was a keeper! CBB

    Posted on July 24, 2007 at 10:14 am

  3. Esther said:

    The Proverb… Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom and in all your getting, get understanding… came to mind after reading your entry, Shawn. So I looked it up using ‘wisdom’ on the Bible.com site and saw this verse also talking about Jesus: “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!” Maybe my mind is wandering, but it seems to me you only get this kind of wisdom by being in that secret place with God. And in that wisdom, the power (and leadership) of God comes.

    Posted on July 24, 2007 at 2:30 pm

  4. Armen said:

    We need to cultivate a “knowledge of the holy”. Nothing else will do.

    Posted on July 25, 2007 at 4:34 am

  5. Michelle Van Loon said:

    Leadership as many in our culture “do” it is a very lonely proposition.

    I work part-time in a seminary bookstore, and there are shelves filled with leadership books. Many of them talk about management technique, PR, organizational skill, vision casting and conflict resolution. They’re spiritualized business school texts. There are books that go deeper into character and servanthood – which gets readers closer to the truth of what a truly Biblical leader is like.

    But I think you touch on something that is just as essential.

    Great post!!

    Posted on July 25, 2007 at 1:22 pm

  6. Abby said:

    I’ve been reading D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Studies in the Sermon on the Mount book and he emphasises these same principles! Very encouraging!

    Posted on July 25, 2007 at 2:41 pm

  7. {Shawn} said:

    @ Abby: I’d love to see what MLJ says about this. Are there actually any specific sections or chapters that he emphasises this or is it just sprinkled throughout the whole commentary?

    Posted on July 26, 2007 at 10:38 am

  8. rateng said:

    Excellent post this. Friendship with JC is really what it means to be a Christian; if it doesn’t come before ANYthing we do for Him or others, we are straying from truth. @ Michelle, an excellent book on Christian leadership is The Making of a Leader by Frank Damazio. I believe he communicates the heart of the Father.

    Posted on July 26, 2007 at 7:03 pm

  9. Youngblood said:

    Great post and two things that blew me away the other day:

    1) Mat 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father WHO IS IN SECRET. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
    2) Mat 6:18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father WHO IS IN SECRET. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    I knew the “He sees in secret” part and the “He will reward you openly” part but the HE IS IN SECRET when I pray and fast…WOW!

    Posted on July 28, 2007 at 8:09 pm

  10. Abby said:

    It’s pretty sprinkled throughout. I’ve only gone through his Beatitudes chapter so far and for each Beatitude he suggests ways to honor that beatitude. So he’d suggest rightousness, being friends with God, that sort of thing.

    I’ve heard a good argument on Ephesians 4:29 that has to do with this. The fact that anything God is not saying through you is not ‘whole’some talk. So we should be slow to speak and listen to what He wants us to say. It’s the whole ‘Jesus didn’t move until he heard the Fathers voice’ idea with speech.

    Anyway we discussed how God wishes to share His secrets with us, He wants to show tell us what he’s doing. Just like he revealed himself to most Old Testament prophets before doing things.

    Being friends with God is essentially sharing God’s heart. So you’re completely intwined with the way he sees people and wants to do in the nations and what he wants us to be saying/doing in our everyday life.

    I believe when Paul said everyone should desire prophecy he was desiring us to be one with God’s heart in a friendship where when God wants to do something he runs it by us first. Because when you have a really good friend, you know what they’re thinking and whether they like something or not. It’s naturally embedded in you.

    Anyway, hopefully this was encouraging and not just long. :-A

    Posted on July 29, 2007 at 8:35 am

Dem's fightin' words...