• The Leadership Formula


We have a leadership problem, and we all know it.

When we look at our churches, we see two glaring problems: a lack of qualified leaders, and a general mistrust of leadership as a response to sinful leadership. But churches need leaders. What do we do?

The answer is in The Leadership Formula.

In the New Testament, qualified leaders are identified by character, conviction, care, and competency. When these four qualities are observed over time, the result is credibility. Pastor and author Juan Sanchez helps readers know what to look for in leaders, how to identify them, and how to commission them in the church, for the sake of the world.

the author

Since 2005, Juan Sanchez has served as senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Florida (B.M.Ed) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div., Th.M., Ph.D.). Juan also serves as a council member of The Gospel Coalition, co-founder and president of Coalición, assistant professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Juan is the author of 1 Peter for You and Seven Dangers Facing Your Church.


author q&a

What prompted you to write this book? Who did you write it for?

I have been at High Pointe over 14 years. One of the challenges at this church—and any church I’ve been in—is raising up qualified leaders: faithful men who are able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). Over the years we have sought ways to identify such men. As I have thought through this with our elders and with the scriptural qualifications in mind, I came up with a helpful and memorable way to talk about it as elders and as a church. That’s where the leadership formula came from; it’s a concise, helpful and memorable way to talk about the kinds of men we should consider for leadership in the church.

Why is leadership so important in the local church?

Leadership is important because the ascended Christ leads his church through human leaders (1 Peter 5:1-4). Jesus has structured his church for mission by laying the foundation of the apostles and prophets, giving the church evangelists that spread that gospel and providing pastors and teachers who will regularly teach and preach the gospel that is used by the church to build itself up into Christlikeness (Ephesians 4:11-16).

What is the difference between godly leadership and worldly leadership?

In one sense the Lord established leadership in the world and in the church. All leadership is meant to reflect God’s government over the world—loving, caring, protective leadership. Unfortunately, the fall has affected leadership. As a result, leadership can be either passive or abusive at the extremes. 

Worldly leadership is guided by sin, primarily selfish ambition and gain. Godly leadership, on the other hand, is guided by the Spirit and operates on the basis of divine wisdom (James 3:13-18). Godly leadership leads, protects and provides as Christ leads, protects and provides for his church. 

What do you see as the church’s primary leadership problem?

The primary leadership problem, in any context, is sin—using leadership for selfish ambition and gain. When leadership is reflective of the fall, it will be either passive or abusive. Both extremes are witnessed in the church. 

Of course, this can happen when churches affirm unqualified, ungodly leaders. That’s why the leadership formula is so important. Not that it is a panacea for the leadership problem, but it will help identify those men who are faithful and able to teach.

How have you seen the leadership formula used to develop leaders in your church?

At High Pointe, we utilize the leadership formula in a way that it has become the language of the elders. We also hope it has become the language of the church. So, whenever we present elder candidates to the church, we remind them of the four C’s they should be observing over time in order that these men have credibility.

How is this book different from other church leadership books?

Many leadership books focus on how to lead: casting vision, developing strategies, etc. “The Leadership Formula” focuses on who should lead.

What do you hope readers learn and how do you hope they grow from reading it?

My hope is that churches and church leadership teams will be better equipped to identify faithful men who will be able to lead their churches. Additionally, I hope that all men would be able to read the book and come away thinking, “This is the kind of Christian man I want to be.”