This article is found in the Betenbough Companies Leader’s Guide.
Every person has influence. Some steward that influence intentionally, and others don’t. But regardless of whether you are a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a stay-at-home mom – you have influence, and in that sense you are a leader.
But there is a big difference between general influence and organizational leadership. We believe the Bible teaches that organizational leadership is a spiritual gift, and like every other spiritual gift, some people have it and others don’t. In fact, leadership is listed as a spiritual gift in a few places in scripture, including this passage from Romans 12:
Leadership is not more important than any other spiritual gift. You can see it is buried in the middle of the list – not the first or the last, just one of many. In fact, the verses that precede that passage specifically warn us to not view some gifts as higher than others.
In that passage in Romans 12, the NIV translation provides a specific footnote for the word “lead” in that passage that says it’s meaning there is “to provide for others.” The original Greek word used in that passage means to govern or oversee others, or to be responsible for the management or arrangement of an organization or activity. One Biblical scholar suggested it might be better translated as “if your gift is organizational leadership, lead diligently.”
It’s a common mistake for leaders to try to grow everyone into organizational leaders, but not everyone has that gift. If we wish everyone would take that path, it means that we value it more than other gifts, which God warns us against. God wired each of us uniquely, with different strengths and skills, and our job is to help everyone become all that God created them to be – some will become leaders and others won’t. If we want someone to be a leader who doesn’t have the gift, we’re saying God got it wrong with that person. It’s extremely arrogant to think we know better or that we should try to rewire them to go down the path we want. We’re charged with developing people, not just leaders. It’s about catching a vision of who God created someone to be, and coming alongside Him to help them take steps towards that.
When someone has the spiritual gift of leadership it simply means God uniquely wired them for capacity and “giftedness” in that area. He gave them the raw ingredients necessary for that role, but leaders must still work to acquire skills and mature in how they use that gift, which is a lifelong process. Great leaders aren’t born, but people with the gift can become great over the course of time, often after experiencing many setbacks, continually leaning into uncomfortable situations for the sake of their people, and humbly accepting feedback and correction from those around them – and from God. While God gives us all the raw ingredients we need to become great, He takes great joy in watching His children learn how to use the gifts He’s given them. Organizational leadership is a gift from God, but what we do with it is our gift to Him.
For more information, check out these related posts by clicking on the pictures below. Also, click HERE for more information on our Kingdom At Work Coaching efforts!