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8 Things We Can Learn about Biblical Leadership from Acts 20 with Noel Castellanos

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8 Things We Can Learn about Biblical Leadership from Acts 20 with Noel Castellanos

Noel Castellanos

1. Acts 20 Leaders understand that their greatest contribution to God’s Kingdom will result from intentionally building the capacity of emerging leaders

Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and a day later we arrived at Miletus. Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him. (Acts 20:13-17 NLT)

2. Acts 20 Leaders excel at helping their leaders to grow and mature through constant encouragement and consistent truth telling, and through their own example of humility and servant-leadership

Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and a day later we arrived at Miletus. Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him. When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus. (Acts 20:13-21 NLT)

3. Acts 20 Leaders cultivate a keen sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit that enables them to lead with extraordinary wisdom

“And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. (Acts 20:22, 23 NLT)

4. Acts 20 Leaders demonstrate a laser-like focus that enables them to fulfill their God-given mission with incredible effectiveness and joy

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. “And now I know that none of you to whom Ihyt have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. (Acts 20:24-27 NLT)

5. Acts 20 Leaders discover that nothing they do is more important than loving and nurturing the leaders that God has entrusted to their care

“So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you. (Acts 20:28-31 NLT)

6. Acts 20 Leaders are passionate about praying for their leaders, under-standing that only God can enable them to reach their ultimate leadership potential

“And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself. (Acts 20:32 NLT)

7. Acts 20 Leaders sacrificially invest their lives and resources to advance God’s Kingdom agenda, and enthusiastically invite everyone they can to do the same


“I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:33-35 NLT)

8. Acts 20 Leaders know that their legacy for all of eternity will be the leaders that are developed during their lifetime

When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship. (Acts 20:36-38 NLT) 


Noel Castellanos has worked in full-time ministry in Latino, urban communities since 1982, serving in youth ministry, church planting, advocacy and community development in San Francisco, San Jose and Chicago. He is chief executive officer of Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) and was the founding pastor of Chicago’s La Villita Community Church. 

Noel Castellanos will be joining us at our Annual SURRENDER:16 Conference in March. Find Out More.