5 Reasons Churches Should Talk a Lot More About Leadership

Leadership is extremely important. Few things happen in this world without it. We all recognize this. For example, when our favorite sports team is not doing well, who do we blame? The coach. Then, the team ends up hiring a new coach. People are excited . . . or worried. Why? Because leadership matters.

So, if the church is concerned about making people better and making this world a better place to the glory of God, then it should teach on leadership. However, I’ve seen mixed reactions to instruction on leadership. Here are a few of the objections/comments I have received to teaching on leadership. I put my answer next to it and then the positive reason for teaching on leadership in the church.

Reason # 1: Leadership is an inescapable part of the human way of life created by God.

1. Objection: Leadership is a secular topic. Answer: I do not call secular that which belongs to normal human life. It is part of God’s created order. Just as work, marriage, and education are part of life, so leadership is part of life. All of these are part of God’s creation. Faith in God and His Word reorients our way of thinking about all of life, including leadership. If God exists and created this world in which leadership matters so much, then we would expect that He would have something to say about it.

Reason # 2: We all do have and should have people we want to lead to a better place.

2. Objection: I’m not a leader. Answer: people often think of leadership in terms of a leadership position such as a boss, teacher, or pastor. However, leadership is a broader concept than that. We are leading someone whenever we want to influence people to move to a place where they could and should be. Anytime we are concerned about people’s behavior or character and want to see it changed, this involves leadership. Anytime we are concerned about a community, group, or individual, this is an opportunity for leadership. In addition, we not only are already seeking to lead, but we ought to have concern about the people around us and want to see them in a better place. This is our just duty.

Reason # 3: Most of the good that happens in the Bible happens because of leaders.

3. Objection: Leadership is not a biblical topic. Answer: Hold the presses! Read the Bible again! In the Bible, almost nothing good happens until someone steps up and leads. This can happen in a variety of ways. Tabitha makes clothes for the poor. Philip goes up to the chariot of a government official. Peter obeys the call to go to the house of an “unclean” Gentile. The scattered Jews preach to the Gentiles. Barnabas reaches out to a former persecutor named Paul. The action of the Bible occurs when people step up to lead.

Reason # 4: Influencing people to move to a better place is one of the most important effects of the Gospel.

4. Objection: Leadership is not the Gospel. Answer: True. The Gospel is about what God does for us and in us to bring us back to Him and what He created us to be. The result of the Gospel is that we are transformed to make a difference for God and His glory and the good of those around us. Both themes are part of the teaching of the church. The main thing we do in response to the Gospel is to become the type of person God has called us to be but a close second is helping others become the type of person God has called them to be. That means leadership.

Reason # 5: Leaders are called to become better leaders through learning and practice.

5. Objection: Leadership is just something God does in us without our effort. Answer: Because we believe in God’s grace, it’s easy to think that leadership is something that is automatic. God does it in us and then we just sort of automatically lead. I can see why people might think this. However, it’s not what the Bible teaches. It teaches that God’s grace develops virtue within us through the normal ways that character is produced, namely, through learning, re-thinking, action, perseverance, and patience. In other words, God uses our efforts to transform us over time, all to His glory. This is what Paul said to his apprentice Timothy about developing his leadership capacity: “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.”

Conclusion: The church should teach a lot more on leadership. This will help people make progress, and this progress in leadership is what will, under God and by His grace, move the work of His kingdom in the world forward.


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