My first thought is of some sort of expert, poised and capable, expertly scattering wisdom, like crumbs before pigeons. Certainly, knowledge is a good thing – but on it’s own, I’m not sure it’s enough. Like the teacher whose brains you admire because they make their subject incomprehensible… do I really want to leave a sermon thinking, ‘Man, I would never have worked that out alone?’ No – the great teacher is someone who teaches the Bible so clearly it looks obvious.
Secondly, attitude. I need to be helped – but I don’t want to feel like I need you. Point me to Jesus – as one sinner to another. I don’t need you to have all the answers. I need you to point me (and yourself) to the real Saviour.
What speaks to me, is seeing someone lead with vulnerability. When they’re real, I want to be real too. If they struggle, maybe it’s okay for me to struggle too. Maybe I don’t need to keep it together. Maybe this church place is somewhere I can be accepted, in all my mess.
You can’t open up to everyone all the time and I’m not saying you should. But vulnerability is attractive and liberating and powerful. It’s the gospel in action; the weakness that is turned to strength, the acceptance that means you don’t need to hide, the grace that allows you to stand as you are and not to be ashamed.