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11 Declarations of a Leader

Written by Chuck Olson


It is a moment that is pasted for perpetuity in the scrapbook of my heart.

A few years ago, forty-seven of us cleared our calendars, packed our bags, stamped our passports, and headed to Israel. It was nothing less than a ten-day “journey of a lifetime”.

Day four would take its place as THE highlight among too many to count.

The morning started out as each of us, under the hush of dawn, made our way from our kibbutz-like hotel to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. As the sun steadily climbed the eastern sky, casting its brilliant reflection across the sea, seventeen people, one by one, gave witness to the life-changing power of their relationship with Jesus Christ. And one by one, I had the unsurpassable privilege of lowering them into the waters of baptism as each announced their allegiance to the One Who walked on the same waters 2000 years prior.

It was a priceless moment as each person made a public proclamation: “I will follow Jesus Christ all the days of my life.”

When I look through the lens of leadership about the declarations that were made on that remarkable morning in Israel, I find myself wondering about the declarations of a leader. What are (or should be) the declarations of a leader? What should be the witness of the person who wholeheartedly desires to lead like Jesus?

In pursuit of these questions, I offer a handful of declarations for your consideration.

  1. I will seek to discover God’s plans and purposes and lead in that direction—only. This will not be about me or my dreams or my agenda.
  2. I am here to serve, not to be served. I will constantly ask God where I can make a contribution to His Kingdom work and then roll up my sleeves and get busy.
  3. I will confess daily that I am desperate for God’s grace and wisdom, that apart from Him I can do nothing.
  4. I will live and lead within a community of counsel and accountability. I will not go it alone. I will grant full access for godly people to speak into my life and leadership.
  5. I will suit up daily knowing that there is an enemy who aggressively seeks to destroy my life and my witness.
  6. I will embrace my leadership role as a stewardship, avoiding the entitlements that often attend positions of influence.

I will embrace my leadership role as a stewardship, avoiding the entitlements that often attend positions of influence.

  1. I will seek to create sacred space for myself and for those I lead to hear the whispers of God’s voice of direction.
  2. I will endeavor to make God’s presence in my life the distinguishing mark of my leadership.
  3. I will celebrate and embrace that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness.
  4. I will make my singular goal the words of my Master, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I will make my singular goal the words of my Master, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

So what do you think? What declaration would you add?

My personal encouragement to you would be to calendar some solitude time to draft out your own list of declarations. They will serve you well, especially during seasons of challenge and uncertainty.

And oh yes, one more thought. Be sure to front-load each declaration with the words “By the grace of God and the enabling power of His Spirit…”


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  • Nate says:

    Thanks for helping us focus on how to identify and take steps to focus on what really matters in life.

  • Carl says:

    Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
    ps 90:12

  • Brad M. says:

    Thanks for the timely reminders as we live in a time where so many seem to have lost His compass of direction and guidance.

  • Tim S. says:

    Great reminders Chuck!

  • Mark S. says:

    “I will live and lead within a community of counsel and accountability. I will not go it alone. I will grant full access for godly people to speak into my life and leadership.”
    This practice and discipline seems to be where my church staff at large is lacking. I need to make sure this is something I have personally secured in my own life.

  • Denzil O Barnett says:

    I will seek to glorify God in all that I think, say, and do in my actions, interactions, and reactions.

  • Charlie B. says:

    Excellent – Thank you.

  • Theresa S. says:

    Wow, wow, wow, wow!!!! I loved this!!!
    Thank you, Chuck!

  • Mark C. says:

    The witness for a whole hearted follower of Jesus is living a life of integrity and following through on promises made.
    Living in the light of leadership carries with it some weighty concerns. Thank you for sharing what has sustained you over the years.

  • Henry J. says:

    Seasons of challenge and uncertainty.
    This is the reality of life in leadership in the local church. These Declarations would have helped me so much several years ago. I not have them printed out and will revisit them regularly as challenges arise.
    Thank you!

  • Eric C says:

    Dallas Willard puts it this way: Coming to know who God is and then coming to know who we are as both spiritual and physical beings, created in and representative of God’s image, will lead directly into the means by which we can be transformed into what disciples of Jesus must become in order to fulfill God’s destiny for creation.

    In solitude we have the opportunity to move towards transformation, to grow more intimately in our awareness of who God is.

    Thanks for good and timely reminders!

  • Sean M says:

    All through Scripture we are reminded of the necessity to pull out, to give ourselves to intentional communion with the Father. And this morning in my reading from I Kings 17: Hide thyself by the brook Cherith. Men through the ages realize the importance for lasting in leadership there must be solitude and times to withdraw and just BE in His presence. When we are hidden in Christ, we see new truths and rise to new heights to live life fully as He intended.
    So appreciate your encouragement and your faithful years of modeling this key practice Chuck!

  • Bill N. says:

    Declarations for a leader to live his life by. Thank you Chuck.

  • Brett D. says:

    These are definitely seriously grounding Declarations to consider.

  • Wes says:

    Reflecting on these Declaration over the past few days. Such good words to lead by.
    Appreciate you Chuck and the man/pastor/leader that you are.

  • David says:

    To live in a community of counsel and accountability has been a huge discovery for me personally. And it is because of you Chuck that I have been able to more clearly understand the value of both. I now regularly seek out counsel and accountability in my life and leadership. What wisdom I have gained. What insight. And what deep growth have followed.

  • Charles says:


  • Brandon says:

    These Declarations are so affirming of our faith and such good reminders of this journey of what is the cost of leadership.
    Believing that we serve Him, it is critical to our survival to make these statements daily. The fast and frenetic pace we are all running at leaves little time for contemplation and renewal of the heart and soul.
    I have printed these out and will refer to them often.
    Thank You Chuck.

  • John says:

    These Declarations sum up so much of what you have taught and lived out, faithfully throughout your lifetime, to so many of us leaders. Thank you Chuck.

  • John Jemelian says:

    One of my bucket list items was to visit Israel. We had tentative plans for November this year. Due to health reasons, I had to cancel. Your notes on your trip is a reminder to me of what I will miss. Unfortunately it will remain an open item on my bucket list. Thanks for your powerful message and leadership reminders. Blessings, John J.

  • Pattie says:

    That early sunrise morning forever etched in my memory. It was as if the sunrise was just touching the glassy Sea of Galilee as witnessed such a holy and powerful moment. Trip of a lifetime for sure!

  • Micah says:

    I am reminded by a comment I just read in a book: “Having no soul union with other men can be the most damaging wound of all.”
    And am constantly reminded of how grateful I am for my Rock Solid experience and your leadership.

  • Ed says:

    Going through Rock Solid taught me the importance of seeking solitude and taking care of my soul. The moments I spent in His presence have brought a richness and deepness in my inner being, that had otherwise gone unnoticed.
    Thank youChuck.

  • Randy says:

    These would be so good to memorize and to put into practice every day.
    My life would be different.
    Thanks for the great reminders for us as leaders.

  • Chip says:

    I thought this is one of the best blogs.
    The declaration of leadership – very helpful, great reminder, and always needed.

  • Ben says:

    I will live and lead within a community of counsel and accountability. I will not go it alone. I will grant full access for godly people to speak into my life and leadership.
    This is something that I need to continue to pursue. The Rock Solid journey gave me this, with godly men speaking into my life on a regular basis. I miss that. Any chance of Rock Solid, Part 2?

  • Randel Horton says:

    Declarations server as references points that help us and remind us
    of fulfilling our word. Thanks Chuck

  • Daniel Hardy Jr says:

    So grateful for this Pastor Chuck. Declarations are so incredibly powerful, yet how many days and weeks go by without us ever using the power of the tongue in this fashion?

  • Harvey says:

    The demands on my life and leadership need to take heed of these wise things insightful declaration
    Thank you huck

  • Jim Berlage says:


    Very powerful words of declaration. I’ve been away from leadership and accountability too long. Hard to find in northern Michigan. I will seek some time of solitude to let these words wash over my spirit.

    • Chuck Olson says:

      Jim — First, great to hear from you. Second, love your gameplan for solitude. As Nouwen would say, it’s the furnace of transformation. Blessings, Brother.

  • Paul Sailhamer says:

    I will look for a nutritious piece of God’s word to chew on throughout the day, meditating on its truth and applying its wisdom to the details of my day.

Chuck Olson

As founder and president of Lead With Your Life, Dr. Chuck Olson is passionate about inspiring, resourcing and equipping Kingdom leaders to lead from the inside out.  To lead, not with the external shell of positions, achievements or titles, but from an internal commitment to a deep, abiding and transparent relationship with Jesus. Serving as a pastor and leadership coach for over forty years, Chuck has a track record of building these truths deep into the lives of both ministry and marketplace leaders.

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