Partnership and team workI recently read an article suggesting that America’s problem is the lack of leadership; that our culture has generally turned from leadership to management (to our peril). It used the following comparisons to make its case:

The leader innovates; the manager administers

The leader is an original; the manager is a copy

The leader develops; the manager maintains

The leader focuses on people; the manager focuses on systems and structure

The leader inspires trust; the manager relies on control

The leader has a long-range perspective; the manager has a short-range view

The leader asks what and why; the manager asks how and when

The leader’s eye is on the horizon; the manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line

The leader originates; the manager imitates

The leader challenges the status quo; the manager accepts it

The leader is his or her own person; the manager is the classic good soldier

The leader does the right thing; the manager does things right

At the time, I was so impressed with the article that I shared it with my connections; and I determined to write my own take on the subject; namely, why we need more leadership in the church.

Then I hit a snag. Perhaps you see it, too. More than a few of the manager characteristics are encouraged for those in the Body of Christ: Administers, is a copy, has a short-range view, imitates, is the classic good soldier. See what I mean. Well, it got me to thinking… and searching.

In the NKJV, “leadership” does not appear, at all. “Leader” can be found 164 times; but only 4 are found in the New Testament, and they all relate to the leaders of the Jews. The terms “leadership” and “leader” are not used by the Holy Spirit to describe the followers of Jesus Christ!

Furthermore, “lead” and “leads” appear 95 times; 32 are in the New Testament, where there is only one verse used to imply action by members of the church: Romans 12:8. Even here (one time in thirty-two uses), it is mistranslated. The Greek word means “to be over” and “to give aid”; not exactly the “leadership” that is encouraged in the Marketplace.

So, there you have it: As astounding as it may seem, the notion of Christians being “leaders” is noticeably missing from the Holy Bible. Instead, we see Christians in “leadership” positions described as stewards; managing the affairs of their master. Is God trying to tell us something in this?

I am still working through the implications of this discovery, and hope to share more in the near future. It would be helpful to hear from you. For now, let me leave with this summarizing thought:

Leadership in the Marketplace is not the same as leadership in the kingdom of God. We must be cautious in our adoption of the world’s ways and thoughts about leadership. They may be contrary to the ways and thoughts of God.

For more on this subject, check out Back to Basics – Leaders in the Marketplace.

Humbly your and forever His,