One of the key marks of a godly leader is that they lead by grace. Paul described himself as himself as one to relied upon and led others by the grace of God. He wrote the Corinthians defending his conduct:
”we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.” 2 Corinthians 1:12 ESV
To minister in the grace of God means to do ministry in the strength that God supplies (1 Peter 4:10-11), empowered by the grace of God (1 Cor. 15:10). God grants His people the grace of empowerment to do what He has called us to do even through difficult times (2 Corinthians12:9). When we encounter God in His word and in prayer we are impacted by Him and walk away changed and influenced. One of the best words used to describe what we experience is grace. We find mercy and grace to help help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). To minister and lead with grace means that one is patient, kind and forgiving towards those they are leading (Colossians 3:13), as the Lord Jesus thus treated them. To lead with grace and minister with grace means that we keep instep with the Spirit and speak words that will build up and impart grace (Ephesians 4:29), that is words that will point us to Jesus and His will for our lives. To lead with grace is the opposite of domineering (1 Peter 5:3) and lording it over a person and their faith (2 Corinthians 1:24). Leading with grace means that you give proper space to those you’re leading to respond to the Holy Spirit and you avoid trying to step in and play the role of Holy Spirit in their life or avoid trying to dictate their conscience. Controlling leaders lack grace. Prideful leaders lack grace. Irritable leaders lack grace.
One may turn to God in humility at any time experience grace from God or from others by posturing themselves in humble submission, with an open hand and open heart. To lead with grace means to joyfully and willingly serve others (1 Peter 5:2) even when they don’t show appreciation or respect for your service and even when they challenge your authority and direction in carrying out a God-given vision. Paul taught the Corinthians about grace both by his example and through his words. His letters opened with “grace and peace to you” and he taught them about the one who is full of grace and truth. He suffered long with the immaturity and ignorance of the Corinthians and he gave them time and space to be transformed by the same power of grace that changed his life.
You and I so need the grace of God to be the leaders God has called us to be and do the work that He has called us to do (1 Corinthians 15:10). And the good news is that He freely gives us that in Christ. You and I have access to the throne of grace and we can find the help we need to lovingly and faithfully lead.