Just for fun, I logged on to Amazon.com this morning and typed in a search for “books on leadership.” Amazon listed 183,294 titles. I then narrowed my search to “Christian Leadership” and 15,547 titles came up. There is no shortage of interest or information on becoming better leaders.
Is leadership innate or can it be taught? Based on the number of books available, we must believe one can improve, get an edge, find a better way to do what we Christians believe we have been called to do. Indeed, my library is covered with such books. I firmly believe we are called to be continuous learners. Nine times out of ten, when a congregation speaks to me about a new pastor, the leadership conversation emerges. I am convinced more than ever that leadership first begins with a deep understanding and awareness of:
- who one is as person
- how effective one is with the other considerable tasks of leadership.
The early Church Fathers taught the importance of living the examined life. And yet, I do wonder sometimes how many leaders follow their practice. John Wesley’s first question, “how is it with your soul?”, continues to be spot on. And yet, we construct masks of denial. We try to hide our own weaknesses. Trust is broken and betrayed. People suffer and organizations falter.
The Church today needs leaders rooted and grounded in Christ Jesus who allow the power of God’s spirit, over time to transform us into the likeness of Christ and to heal us in the broken places. I’m learning this, slowly, over time. In the covenant group that holds me accountable, we speak of Loving, Learning, and Leading. It is to live an integrated life inwardly and outwardly rooted and grounded in the love of God and to love who God loves.