How to Follow the Leadership Example of the Potter and the Clay

Encouragement for Pastors
Leadership Development
Spiritual Encouragement

Jeremiah Chapter 18: God is the Potter and We are the Clay (a Leadership Example)

How to Follow the Leadership Example of the Potter and the Clay

In Jeremiah chapter eighteen, we see the beautiful picture of the potter and the clay. God (the potter) is at work with His clay (you and me) to produce a vessel that through the ages will be an instrument of praise to His great grace. Upon the wheel of life are circumstances of God’s molding hands to shape us into the image He sees for us. Growth causing situations like that can be discouraging or at least challenging. Through all of life’s bumps, God never leaves us, He is patient and He is persistent. It is important to embrace the picture of ourselves being molded by God as individuals. This illustration is also helpful to look at as an example for us to follow as leaders (potters) for people in our lives. Like the potter, we are to patiently stand beside those who look to us for encouragement.

The clay in this picture is wet and pliable. It is responsive to the potter molding and measuring. It is taking shape. It speaks to us of an individual believer who even through the hurts and hardships of life is responding positively and obediently to God’s will. This is where we should try to be in relationship with Him. Even further, I want to draw a comparison here to those that we lead in life. Some followers are pliable and eager, making it less difficult for us to lovingly guide them. There are times that as leaders we can simply lead by example with gentleness.

But what happens when an individual doesn’t respond to the life shaping purpose of God? What happens when we consciously set our will against God’s?

“But he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it,” (Hebrews 12:10-11, ESV).

Look closer at the language used in verse eleven.

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Corrective treatment is rarely if ever pleasant. Medicine, surgery, physical therapy, and other such treatments we willingly endure are very often painful, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. We endure treatments and medicine for the sake of the end result, which is better health. We should consider our troubles as spiritual treatment which builds our character and our faith, our love and our righteousness. God’s corrective measures can hurt, but He is always working for our good.

Leadership Example Takeaway

This is how God leads His people, so it also translates to our lives as leaders. Patience and kindness are absolutely crucial to strong leadership, but sometimes those qualities are accompanied by constructive criticism or corrective measures (dependent on situations and relationships). I pray the illustration of the potter and the clay today will be inspirational in your walk with the Lord and as you look at your relationships as a leader.




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Glenn C. StewartPastor & Church Coach
Glenn C. Stewart has forty years of experience leading churches, planting a church, and developing leaders. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology and leadership at the Orlando campus of Palm Beach Atlantic University, and as the chairman of the board of a Christian college and seminary. Along with his degrees in Bible and theology he has a master’s degree in organizational leadership. Glenn has a heart for serving pastors and being a spiritual mentor.


Glenn C. Stewart
Glenn C. StewartChurch & Pastor Coach

Authorship Credentials:

  • Adjunct Professor of Theology and Leadership
  • Certified as a Human Behavior Consultant
  • Authorized Wiley Everything DiSC© Partner
  • Organizational Leadership Assessment (OLA) Partner
  • Certified Facilitator of Ken Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus Encounter Groups
  • Certified Facilitator of CPP Personality, Career, and Organizational Development Assessments
  • International Speaker and Trainer


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