What makes a good leader? Which virtues are most important? How can pastors help prepare leaders of integrity for public influence?

A few years ago, Michael Lindsay conducted a comprehensive study of national leaders—the largest of its kind—to identify commonalities among many of America’s most publicly influential figures. In this video, the president of Gordon College in Massachusetts sits down with Mark Mellinger to explore what he found.

Lindsay, recently embroiled in national controversy for asking President Obama to afford religious institutions freedom in hiring, points to three essential virtues among Christian leaders in particular: deep personal humility; ambitiousness for the kingdom, not for yourself; and a serious committment to holiness. In a cutthroat workplace environment, holiness is not easy; implementing robust safeguards against sex, money, and power, then, is imperative.

Moreover, Christian leaders should cultivate regular rhythms of rest. “Practicing Sabbath is a weekly reminder that the world doesn’t revolve around you, and it’s a way of bridling your own personal ambitious,” observes Lindsay, author of View from the Top: An Inside Look at How People in Power See and Shape the World (Wiley, 2014). “It requires a lot of discipline but can make a tremendous difference.”

Watch the full 11-minute video to hear Lindsay discuss networking, burnout, the biggest problem in the leadership book genre, and more. When you’re finished, watch Lindsay sit down with two other institutional presidents, Albert Mohler and Philip Ryken, to discuss evidences of a maturing evangelical mind.

Michael Lindsay from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.