Does Leadership = Being in Charge
For the first year since the 1970s, I didn’t watch a single Red Sox game this year. I had a personal protest that ended once Chaim Bloom was fired. However, I did keep up with reading about the Sox and listening to podcasts. (trust me, this isn’t a baseball post:)
A common theme throughout the season was about a 38-year-old player in his first season in Boston, Justin Turner. Turner was one of the best hitters on the team this year, and several Boston media outlets have listed him as the team’s MVP.
And while Turner’s clutch hitting was mentioned frequently, the thing cited most frequently about him was that he was the leader of the team.
Now, Turner was not named captain; he was not listed as ‘leader’ on some team hierarchy somewhere. He was one of 26 guys on the team, and he was also one of the new guys. Yet over and over, what was said about him was, “This is his team”, and “He is the leader in the clubhouse”.
He had the ability to rally the team. He would take young players under his wing. He had experience and character and would share that with the entire roster. The examples went on and on.
Did he have authority? Yes, but it wasn’t because the team management gave him a role. It came from who he was. He didn’t need to declare over and over (or ever), “Hey, I’m the leader; I’m in charge”. How he lived over the season made in clear he was the leader, and every reporter who covered the team noticed it too.
Yet when the conversation turns to church leadership, for some reason, leadership means “I’m in charge. I’m the leader, and I have authority”.
One of the healthiest things that could happen in the church if we could understand that leadership doesn’t equal being in charge. In fact, if I need a position, or a role or some level of authority to make people follow, am I really a leader? You might be the boss, but that doesn’t make you a leader.
Leadership is far more about character than it is about being in charge. In fact, according to Jesus, leadership was about serving…not lording it over others.
We have to do a better job of making that clear.