Does Not Compute

For this week’s Whiteboard Wednesday, we have Rick Veenstra, the leadership development catalyst for Luminex share with us the 2 basic characteristics in being a successful leader for the Church.

In Jim Collins landmark book Good to Great, he identified two basic characteristics that enable leaders to lead effective and successful companies for a sustained period of time. As Christian leaders, we too can apply these characteristics in our leadership.

First, these leaders have a deep sense of personal humility, and second, they have an unshakable will regarding the mission, vision, and values of the company (or in our case, the congregation or the Christian organization we are leading).

Our culture has a bias toward charismatic leaders. But research shows that effective leadership is not dependent on a “larger than life” personality. In fact, all the leaders of the eleven “good to great” companies were not well known people. Rather, they were people who demonstrated personal humility and an unshakable will and commitment to the purposes of their company. This is a very delicate area, because we are not against charismatic leadership. In fact, some charismatic, larger than life leaders like Bill Hybels have been a tremendous influence on countless people and churches.

The issue is not personality, whether the leaders is an introvert or extrovert. The issue is whether or not the leader is humble. Over the years we have noticed that arrogance in a Christian leader is generally accompanied by ineffective leadership. Sometimes it precedes a fall for that leader, in terms of that leader’s character or the way in which the leader conducts himself. This is not surprising for Christians, given that the Bible is filled with examples. Think about Peter, who was bold, confident and sure of himself, but failed when the rubber met the road. Peter denied Jesus three times, but later on, as a failed but forgiven disciple of Jesus, he served as a leader of the church and an apostle for decades to come.

So the issue is not personality, but humility … and an unshakable will to the task, the calling that is before a leader. Ultimately it is steadfast commitment to the mission, vision and values of the organization or congregation we are leading.

How are five-star leaders developed in our churches and ministry organizations? Through leaders who are humble and have an unshakable commitment to what matters most.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Jason V

    Hmmm. There’s more to unpack here. How does “unshakeable commitment” go in tandem with humility when someone on staff, including high level stakeholders presents something that you as the leader don’t think lines up to the vision/mission/values? In my experience, 90% of the time, the leader powers up (because he’s passionate about the vision/mission) and rejects what the other person has to say. Obviously the “powering up” shows a lack of humility. But what is a great-leadership, humble approach? The other person needs to know they were heard, truly heard and that their opinion mattered. Quickly explaining why they’re wrong and you’re right doesn’t show the true humility.

    I gotta read Good to Great. I heard him speak on this live years ago but never actually read it. :-/

    • Mike Gafa

      Hello, this is Mike Gafa responding on behalf of the Luminex team. First, thank you for your response! Secondly, you certainly raise a good point of concern, that absent humility an “unshakable commitment” to a viable mission can easily become a top down, unhealthy mandate. Our belief is that it is possible to be both relentlessly committed, and relentlessly humble. Jesus modeled the approach, and we are wise to emulate it. And it probably reinforces the need for the church or organization to discern its mission, vision, and values collaboratively, so that leaders already know what the organization holds as foundational, and what they are agreeing to support as they enter in. There is only so much that can be said in a brief reply, but thanks again for reading the post and sharing your thoughts!

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