I love the phrase I first heard on the lips of our last President, "They misunderestimate me." Grammatically off, humorously wonderful. To misunderestimate is to underestimate, and when it come to leadership in the Kingdom, there are many virtues and/or realities that we misunderestimate. This new series of posts will examine some of these.
We begin with leadership itself. With striking regularity I continue to hear people question whether we make too much of leadership. I think it's virtually impossible to do so.
It all begins with God. He then typically chooses to use leaders. He always has. Try as we might to convince ourselves that no one should have too much "authority" or that everyone has something to offer, we allow these beliefs, both true in their own way, to lead us to a "misunderestimation" of leadership itself. In fact, autocracy or failure to develop other leaders isn't proof that leadership's importance is overestimated–or that it's something to be feared. Abuse of power and poor leadership development are actually futher signs of a need for good leadership–which uses power wisely and is passionate about leadership development.
In this post, I'm not going to elaborate much on precisely what good leadership is. I've done so numerous times in other posts. This post's purpose is to say that for many people and churches, leadership continues to be misunderestimated. Some have been burned by bad "leaders." Some have simply never experienced good leadership and are thus ignorant of it's capacity. For instance, some churches believe it's "leaders" are leading because they occupy the office of leader (preacher, elder, board member, etc.) and thus gage leadership's value by the performance of those that occupy those offices. A leading office doesn't equal leadership. Leadership equals leadership, and ideally those with gifts of leadership would be chosen for leadership in the church. However, as we all know, it doesn't always work out that way.
This I know: Strong leadership is one absolutely vital component of a church or organization's ability to thrive. Maxwell's law of the lid is, if not 100% accurate…pretty close. A church or organization will likely not rise above it's leadership. So, we need to continue to pay attention to this one…understanding strong leadership as a blessing from God and a spiritual gift rather than something to be feared or kept in it's place.
Question: Do we make too much or little of leadership in churches? Do you think we seek it or fear it more?