‘Leadership is the Key’

Terry Walton



I Was Thinking…

Leadership is the Key.  I have always had a keen interest in ‘leadership’.  I noticed early in my life that leadership is what makes the difference from the playground among preschoolers to the board room among executives.  If solid leadership is in place then good things tend to happen.  If there is a leadership void, then chaos is likely. 

Tod Bolsinger in his book ‘Canoeing the Mountains’ writes, “Today, I consult, coach and am on senior leadership of a seminary dedicated to forming leaders for this changing world…The changing world around us and even the success we had experienced had brought us to a new place where we would need a new strategy.  To paraphrase Marshall Goldsmith, “what got us here wouldn’t take us there.”  So I had to lose some of my status, power and control.  I had to lose ‘say’ over certain aspects of mission, and mostly I had to lose my identity as the resident expert and learn to lead all over again.” (P.19)

As a twenty-two month old District Superintendent, I have decided so much of success in ministry boils down to ‘leadership’.  There are exceptions but generally speaking the ‘life-long learning leader’ who has a deep sense of an ever fresh call from God is the one who is finding the Spirit’s leading to be real, relevant and powerful.  Whether it is clergy or laity…leadership is an important key.  We can no longer rely on what worked in the 1980’s or the 1990’s.  We are in a new age that is hungry for fresh, reliable and deep spiritually rooted leadership.

“Leadership is a ‘way of being’ in any organization, specifically a church.  In the words of Ronald Heifetz, ‘leadership mobilizes people to tackle tough challenges and thrive’.  Leadership is always about personal and corporate transformation.  While management cares for what is.  Leadership is focused on what can or what must be.” (P.21)

We know that our world is changing rapidly and churches are facing change on an unprecedented scale.  Churches and church leaders are becoming increasingly irrelevant, even marginalized.  Shared corporate faith is viewed with cynicism...We have to learn to lead all over again.

Our choice is to be depressed and discouraged about all of this change or to see it as one of the greatest opportunities of our lifetime.  “…this moment requires those of us in positions of authority (and even most of us who are not) to embrace an ‘adventure-or-die’ mindset, and find the courage and develop the capacity for a new day. (P.23)

Everyone is a leader because everyone is an influencer.  Where are we leading?  As we approach Palm Sunday and Holy Week, I pray that I am leading people in the direction of the cross and empty tomb.  I hope beyond all hope that I am forever learning how to speak ‘Good Friday and Easter’ in a language that this modern and changing world can understand.  It all begins with my actions, relationships and responsibilities.  Lord, by your Holy Spirit, help us to lead in ways that make you proud.  Leadership makes the difference.  Leadership is the Key!

 Always Thinking…


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