Monday, 7 May 2007

Leadership Thoughts Pt 3

What is leadership? It seems that really it is all about influence. A leader is someone who de facto has influence of some kind. A leader is trying to influence things in a certain direction. But the big question for Christian leaders is: how am I to influence? John Piper has a great definition of leadership: it's about getting God's people to God's goals in God's way. I stress this last bit because I think it's very tempting for Christian leaders to veer towards a "goal-justifies-the-means" way of thinking, mainly because the goals are so laudable. The end is so great that it's easy to forget that the path to it is just as important. It's very easy to start 'cutting ethical corners' with people, relying upon charm, half-truths, guilt and manipulation to get people to God's goals. If people do what you want don't want them to do (which is actually a pretty frequent experience in Christian ministry), you can be left a bit high and dry. So, it's easy to try to use a wrong kind of leverage in order to get your way. In other work contexts people are employed and have to do what the leader tells them to do, in the church it's all voluntary and you just don't have those normal means of coercion other leaders have. So, Christian ministry is a really bad place for insecure people because your position is always radically insecure. And, if your focus is not on getting people to God's goals in God's way, your insecurities can make you a really manipulative and unpleasant leader - in spite of the fact that you are also a Christian!