Religious leaders serve as guides in one's religion. However, they also serve as role models in a wider sense. From good religious leaders we learn how to live our own lives. We learn how to appreciate our religion and how to use it to guide us.
Religious leaders are also important because they provide guidance to the followers of that particular religion. It is just like any other organization-every organization has leaders to guide them. People of religious congregations look to their leaders for guidance and direction. Without leaders, religion would not be very organized.
Religious leaders clearly play a vital role in leading, inspiring, guiding and directing their people. Religious leaders act as intercessors to God, representing their people to God and acting as intermediaries to him by offering prayers and sacrifices on the behalf of their people. Because of this they are held in immense respect by their people and are dearly loved and/or feared. Consider the reveration that a figure such as the Pope is held in. He is clearly an amazingly influential and powerful figure that has the ability to impact the lives of many through what he says - consider his stance on not using contraceptives and how it is promoting AIDS.
Religious leaders are seen as important figures in the particular religion. They are seen as a type of expert in the religion and are see in that guiding light. For example, the Pope is seen as the ultimate interpreter of Scripture and the intentions behind it. Religious leaders can also serve as a source of inspiration as they take a leadership role in a particular religion in the name of it. This helps others to feel a certain level of pride in the religion and allows individuals to follow their leaders. Sometimes, religious leaders can help to provide counsel to others through their example and their own way of handling crises, which is another source of inspiration for followers.
Religious leaders are important to which ever group of people believes in them. This doesn't always mean that that particular leader is good though. There have been religious leaders who have led people to participate in mass suicide. This obviously is not the norm. Most religious leaders advocate for doing good. They set an example for how people are supposed to act and they set guidelines for what is right and wrong. They give people the hope and courage they need to stay strong in their faith.
In religious leaders, people find spiritual leadership, which is one of the important factors that causes people to follow religions in the first place. These religious leaders, whether they are pastors, the Pope, or televangelists help give firm and clear interpretations of the Bible and religious teachings so that the followers have some answers on how to live their lives.
In terms of the good religious leaders do, they can be incredibly motivating, especially for social goods. When the Pope calls on followers to respond to the crisis in Haiti, a massive outpouring of aid from Catholic followers around the world takes place. The power of one person to motivate large numbers of people to address tragedies and social injustices is undoubtedly a good thing.
Religious leaders are important to others who believe in the same religion (and sometimes even to those who do not). Religious leaders help the people who belong to their religion know what they are expected to do (what their religion wants them to do). These leaders can serve as examples for their people.
Ideally, religious leaders help to make the world a better place. For example, Mother Teresa helped many poor people in India to have better lives. Religious leaders can also help the world by persuading or inspiring their followers to act in good ways -- ways that will help others live good lives.
Leaders of any type are important to the people who follow them. Leaders take on the role of guide and organizer. They help to keep an organization or unit together. They serve as guides as they are often experts in their field.
Religious leaders have the charisma, intelligence, and ability to unitize a group of people of the same faith. Sometimes they even have the ability of converting others to their faith. Churches, Mosques, Synagogues grow just like any other business by brining in more workers and increased monetary support. Religious leaders have the obligation to try and increase the amount of members under their lead. By recruiting more people they are ensuring the continuance of the faith and expanding the beliefs of the church.