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ChurchSpiritual leadership

Is Leadership Over-rated?

By April 14, 20093 Comments

Leadership PosterRight at this very moment, I have at least a dozen books on leadership scattered about my house. Probably more.

Leadership is one of the hot topics of Christian ministries today–you’ll find rows and rows of books about leadership at Christian bookstores, conferences centered around teaching leadership, and even ministries whose sole purpose is to train leaders.

Now, to some extent this overwhelming focus on leadership seems warranted. In some measure, ALL Christians are called to be leaders–wherever we are, we lead by example, shining Christ’s light and guiding people toward the path of life, if only by our lifestyles.

However, such a trendy topic can sometimes cause us to overlook other, equally important roles in the Body of Christ. This point became very apparent to me recently when I read a blog post on the topic on The View From Her. The author wrote the following important perspective:

I’m not anti-leadership. I’m just very interested in the curious obsession we currently have with “Leadership.” It seems to have become elevated as more important than the other gifts listed in Romans 12, which flies in the face of the teaching there about being one body with many parts. It’s like the hand saying, “What the body needs is more hands! The future of the body depends on developing hands of influence!” (I Corinthians 12). “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (v.18).

If you have read my blog for any period of time, you know that I am passionate about equipping women to be leaders. No matter what their spheres of influence, I want to see women rise up and change their world for the glory of God.

But in light of the time I spend talking about leadership, and in light of the words above, I think it’s important that I pause to emphasize the significance of other gifts. You may not have the gift of teaching or preaching or planning and organizing a ministry, but your gifts are no less vital simply because they are less visible.

Whatever your gifts, you owe it to the Body of Christ, and more importantly your Father in Heaven, to hone that gift and use it with excellence. As I said, all Christians are called to leadership in some capacity, but it doesn’t have to fit the stereotypical mold–you can be a leader in prayer, be a leader in patience, be a leader in service, or be a leader in gentleness.

Whatever your gifts, remember that God gave them to you FOR A REASON. There may not be a million books glamorizing your particular calling, but it is no less crucial. As long as my foot acts like a foot, my nose acts like a nose, and my arm acts like an arm, then my body is going to work efficiently, effectively, and powerfully. The same is true of the Church.


  • j a n says:

    Thank you Sharon, for the link and your thoughtful observations. I love when a discussion gets started, and other people bring greater wisdom and additional insight, which you’ve clearly done here.

  • Joe Jones says:

    I’m not sure what definition of leadership ya’ll are using here? I’m not big dropping Leadership as the super Holy gift, but I wonder if people are elevating it to an excessive height because they mean, being the best an individual can in a given situation. If authors are advocating for leadership in that context would that not be the same thing as what you’re advocating here.

    Do you have an alternative definition of leadership that is being advocated against?

  • Sharon says:

    I think Joe makes an important point. I think there are 2 different types of “leadership.” The first is a universal form that is described in Scripture as an integral part of the Christian life. But there is another type of leadership that figures most frequently in books today, and it takes the form of heading up ministries, organizing groups, casting vision, etc. Though we are ALL called to the former, the latter form get a lot more air play.

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