Principles for Christian Leaders



Christlike leaders—In the cause of God, Christ’s spirit and manner of working is to be carried out in every particular. The laws of mercy and justice will be a ruling principle in every department where Christ abides. Men in connection with the work of God, in order to be qualified for their position of trust, must be Christlike in all their dealings with one another. —Letter 34, 1886 (March 1) PCL 79.3

Remember that human kindness is not an unfailing spring, but a spring which must be supplied from the Fountain of life, or it will run dry.—Letter 30, 1887 (June 11) PCL 80.1

It is your duty now to be sentinel over yourself to win affection, not by conceding one principle of truth, but in exemplifying Christ, in being considerate, in being kind, in avoiding everything that savors of dictatorial authority. Show in words, in actions that you love the workers, every soul of them, because they are the purchase of the blood of Christ. You must change your spirit of sharpness. You must show Christ in all your deeds, not let any cause be given to say of you that you are dishonest or a sharper.—Letter 7, 1883 (c. 1883) PCL 80.2

Nothing is to be done from compulsion. Truth is to be the prevailing power. All service is to be done willingly and for love of the service of God. All who are honored with positions of influence are to represent God, for when officiating they act in the place of God. In everything their actions must correspond with the importance of their position. The higher the position, the more distinctly will self-sacrifice be revealed, if they are fit for the office.—MS 57, 1896 (December 30) PCL 80.3

Kindness and courtesy, gentleness and grace, must be revealed in the men who bear high responsibilities. Then there will be unity, and love will be exercised toward all, for they will have “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”—Letter 101, 1899 (July 3) PCL 80.4

Though your Christian brother may not occupy a position equal to yours in prominence, yet he fills a place of usefulness according to his ability. God has come very near you [J. H. Kellogg], guiding you and holding your hand. This should lead you to show Christian courtesy in all business matters. You are to be a man of God’s opportunity, acting in His place. You, a cedar of the mountain, are to remember that God has cedars of the vale.—Letter 112, 1901 (July) PCL 81.1

Kind to those in need—Those in responsible positions will have to deal with those whose lot is far from easy. Toil and deprivation, with no hope for better things in the future, make their burden very heavy. And when pain and sickness are added, the load is almost greater than they have strength to bear. Let not God’s stewards put sharpness into their dealing with such ones. This would be cruelty itself. Let them clothe themselves with courtesy as with a garment. Let them be kind and conciliatory in their dealing with the lowliest and poorest. God will see and reward such dealing.—Letter 30, 1887 (June 11) PCL 81.2

I wish to speak to my brethren who occupy positions of trust. As God’s husbandry you are invested with the responsibility of acting in His stead, as His helping hand. Those who are placed in positions of trust must have the authority of action, but they are never to use this authority as a power to refuse help to the needy and helpless. It is never to be exercised to discourage or depress one struggling soul. Let those to whom have been given positions of influence ever remember that God desires them to carry out the mind of Christ, who, by creation and redemption, is the owner of all men.—Letter 7, 1901 (January 17) PCL 81.3

If not kind, do not hire—No man should be placed in official position who has not learned to exercise the tenderness of Christ in dealing with his brethren.—Letter 330, 1907 (October 5) PCL 82.1

Many have dealt with the erring as with traitors, when they ought to have been dealt with in the mercy and compassion of Christ. Men have not cherished and cultivated the attributes of His character. If those who accept positions of trust in connection with the work of God appreciate what is involved in rightly carrying out their responsibilities before the universe of heaven, they would rather resign their positions than not bear them to the honor of God. They need daily to be converted, to be clean vessels. A strange delusion is upon the minds of many who claim to be the workmen of God.—Letter 16a, 1895 (February 8) PCL 82.2

Force must never come in. All who thought that their position gave them power to command their fellow men and control conscience must be deprived of their position.—MS 57, 1896 (December 30) PCL 82.3

We should not place in office men who will exercise a dominating spirit. We need men who manifest a wholehearted tenderness. We must deal with erring ministers and with church members as with God’s property, not as though they were school children. We need to remember that we are dealing with men with like passions as ourselves. We cannot use our influence to place in office those who have not a control over their own spirit or who have a disposition to be easily excited. Such men know not how to deal with human minds.—Letter 332, 1906 (October 23) PCL 82.4

Persons with irritable temperaments and acrimonious dispositions should not be those holding important positions in any of these departments. Kindliness, meekness, humbleness should reign. Intelligent, God-fearing workers may do much good by the reforming influence they may have upon the character of others. They may not accomplish the necessary change in a few days; but this change must be made, or else God will not accept their labors. —MS 24, 1887 (February 14) PCL 83.1