The 5 Pillars of Leadership From Genesis

King Herod Masada fortress ruins

There are more than 60,000 books listed on Amazon on the topic of leadership. Those resources continue to increase year by year. People today are seeking tips on becoming more effective leaders.

However, leadership truths are taught all throughout the Bible! The book of Genesis opens with a scene of total darkness and emptiness. Then God speaks, and everything changes. Darkness is dispelled with light. The universe is immediately packed tightly with planetary objects, and the Earth is filled with creatures, animals, and finally, human beings.

As the pinnacle of God’s creation, humans are appointed rulers over His Earth. These created beings are to, “have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth,” (Genesis 1:28).

In other words, the first job ever appointed to a man was to be a leader!

To be clear, this role came with a very specific job description. In fact, from this text, five ancient pillars form the foundation of leadership. When applied, these truths will forge a man into the leader God created them to be. A leader must…

  1. Intentionally steward his sphere of influence.
  2. Live in community by multiplying through discipleship
  3. Grow in wisdom 
  4. Trust God for everything
  5. Be an image-bearer of God’s presence into the world

In Genesis 1:28, God commanded Adam to steward the earth and everything in it; and He called him to do that effectively. Said differently, God expects His leaders to be intentional with the influence they have been given. Therefore, leadership requires an actionable plan to follow. We cannot succeed without clearly defined objectives.

Immediately following God’s command to steward creation, He tells the leaders to multiply. In the context of Genesis, we may see this to mean the family structure. But have you ever wondered why the New Testament Church is so determined to call each other brother or sister? It is because Jesus’ command to, “make disciples of all nations,” (Matthew 28:19-20) is the same as God’s first command to Adam and Eve.

This is why our mission at No Regrets is to equip leaders to disciple men. It is an ancient command that awakens our deepest calling: to multiply. Only now, the Church is also called to multiply the family of God in the person of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. 

To that same end, leaders are also called to grow in wisdom. In Genesis chapter 2, God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden. Gardens are places where an intentional gardener cultivates seeds into fruit-bearing trees. In the same way, God placed Adam in a garden so that he will grow in wisdom.

Also, if the first-ever leader of the Earth needed to grow in wisdom, then let me tell you: so do we! But this wisdom had a very specific purpose. 

God placed Adam in a garden to grow in wisdom so that Adam would trust God more. As leaders, we are called to have an undivided trust in God’s plan for our lives, our businesses, our marriages, and our spheres of influence. 

In fact, if we take Genesis seriously, then we can see that we are not effective leaders until we trust God. Otherwise, we will be wracked with anxiety, isolated, and come undone at our first failure. Rather, God exhorts leaders to walk with Him in an obedient and trusting relationship. This brings us to the last ancient pillar of leadership from Genesis. 

When the first human leaders of Genesis 1-2 took hold of the fruit of the Tree of Knowing Good and Evil, they impaired their ability to be God’s image-bearers. The first four pillars of leadership are built upon the ability to perfectly reflect God’s image out into the world. Cultivation, multiplication, wisdom, and trust, are only possible if the leaders are perfectly bearing God’s image. 

When God created man He, “created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them,” (Gen. 1:27). It precedes all other pillars, forming their foundation. But while this was disfigured by the fall, image-bearing is perfected in Christ. 

Therefore, to truly take hold of the leadership responsibility God has entrusted us, we need to put our faith in The Son of God’s redeeming, forgiving, extraordinary power. Then, God will cultivate within us wisdom, trust, and a passion to share His good news and multiply. From there, we only need to give away what God has given to us. 

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