Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Leadership Gifts vs. Leadership Roles

What is leadership? Some say it is a gift, while others say it is a role. The truth is, they’re both right! However, the two are not the same. Within the context of ministry, this is an excellent conversation that applies to both existing leaders and prospective leaders.

Leadership as a Gift
1 Corinthians 12:7 helps us understand that every person possesses within them a spiritual gift that can be used to help bless the Kingdom of God. Another way of helping us understand this incredible verse can be noted through a quote from author Henry Blackaby, who says that “A spiritual gift is a manifestation of God at work through you.” The spiritual gift of leadership is indeed one of the gifts that can be given to us through the Holy Spirit. Those that exhibit the spiritual gift of leadership have the ability to cast their vision, encourage others, and organize a project plan to assist in accomplishing a mission. Author John Maxwell often equates the term “leadership” with the term “influence,” and this ability to utilize one’s influence can be exhibited from any level of seniority within an organization. While having the spiritual gift of leadership can assist in leading groups within ministry, it is not a requirement to lead a group successfully.

Leadership as a Role
There are moments in our lives when we are placed in a role of leadership within our day-to-day activities. If anyone has ever become a parent, they quickly realize that they have now become a leader for their children, regardless of their level of readiness. If the company we work at needs a new product launch to be coordinated successfully, we may be tapped on the shoulder to see the plan through, even if our job title is not “Project Manager.” Likewise, if our church has an opportunity to expand and grow in an area that has huge potential for ministering to an unreached group of people, God may call us to help stand in the gap. In order for us to be able to identify and raise up new leaders within our church, we must focus on presenting ministry opportunities as leadership roles, instead of opportunities that require the individual to exercise leadership gifts.

Leading the People of God
We must not forget the commonly known phrase that the Lord equips the called instead of calling the equipped. Leading a group within the church does not mean that the spiritual gift of leadership must be required. If this was true, then those who do not possess this spiritual gift would become discouraged from stepping into a leadership role that allows them utilize their spiritual gifts that they do have. After all, Jesus’ disciples did not all have the gift of leadership. Nevertheless, they humbly took on leadership roles that would eventually help spread the good news of the gospel to the ends of the Earth. Are there any individuals in your group who are potential candidates to answer the call to fulfill a leadership role within the church? Help explain to them that the Lord has given them unique giftings that are meant to bless the Kingdom, and that the resources of the church will be made available to help them succeed in their leadership role in the best way possible.

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