ChurchStaffing Hiring Articles

  • Share:

Leading Today: Leadership or Management

By: Ron Walters

To the average layman, the labels "Leadership" and "Management" are synonymous—swatches of the same cloth, mirrored images of themselves. Although they might be in the same gene pool, cousin is as close as they get.

On the surface, they share a striking resemblance similar to a person's hands: The flesh tone is the same, the number of fingers match, everything bends at the same points; but the thumbs are on opposite sides.

So it is with leadership and management: One is a visionary, the other an administrator; one a telescope, the other a microscope.

Leadership can be defined as "doing the right things"; management can be defined as "doing things right."

Management skills will help you climb the ladder of success. Leadership skills determine which wall to lean the ladder against.

Leadership generates vision, values and purpose, which in turn creates action. Management on the other hand channels the action leadership creates and keeps it moving.

Leadership is mostly personal. Management is typically impersonal.

Leadership appeals to a follower's intuition and emotion; it points the way. Management speaks to a follower's raw intellect with facts and figures; it keeps us on track.

Leadership without management is all breadth and no depth, style without substance. Management without leadership is as someone said, "Like straightening deck chairs on the Titanic."

Our nation's history is hinged on both. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and George Patton provided the easel and canvas so that John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, William Seward and Dwight Eisenhower could paint the pictures.

Typically, once a leader always a leader, but sometimes it morphs. For centuries, the Roman Empire served as the poster-child of leadership. Its top priority was expansion—to march and conquer. In time, the imperial mood shifted and the approach was to take a defensive posture, building walls to keep out the dreaded barbarians. The walls became more than defenses; they were physical metaphors of the empire's policy change—a change they were ill-equipped to handle. Once mismanaged, the empire fell.

Leadership and management are the building blocks of every church, blocks tucked neatly around the Chief Cornerstone. Christ's bride couldn't exist without both roles firmly in place and executed at a high level.

Unfortunately, every pastor is expected to provide both qualities. Whereas there's a slice of the other in each of us, we're either one or the other. Nobody can do both well.

Scripture refers to these two roles as ruling gifts, and it should come as no surprise that both have been foundational in His work since the beginning of time. For example:

• Abraham was a leader; Jacob was a manager.

• Moses was a leader; Joshua was a manager.

• David was a leader; Saul was a manager.

• Isaiah was a leader; Hezekiah was a manager.

• Nehemiah was a leader; Ezra was a manager.

• Paul was a leader; Barnabas was a manager.

Each role is a full-time job, and each is a measuring stick by which our ministries are evaluated. Dull sermons we can forgive. Long prayers ultimately will end. Confused leadership or gross mismanagement is an unforgiveable sin.

Knowing and exercising your gift is the starting point. Finding and empowering others with the complementary gift is the follow-up.

The head and heart are critical to a body's life, but neither could do the other's job. The brain can't pump blood, and the heart can't think a thought. So it is with leadership and management to the body of Christ.

The ruling gift which God has granted you was designed to be critical to the health, well being and growth of the church. Your assignment and God-given tools are all part of the Master's plan for kingdom building. So, whether He's given you a hammer and saw or a computer and organizational chart, we need you on the job.

More Articles

How to Interview for Mission and Vision Alignment
Every church wants a staff full of people who are all aligned with the church’s mission and vision and moving in unity towards the same goals. Having church staff members who don’t match with ...   Read More
Whether you hire workers for your own business, train co-workers within the context of your current position, or equip others for ministry in your church, you should consider the following lessons from ...   Read More
Contextual Intelligence In the book In Their Time, Anthony Mayo and Nitin Nohria profile some of the greatest business leaders of the twentieth century. Those leaders lived in different eras, worked ...   Read More
Here is how a post like this develops. I meet with leaders weekly (largely pastors) either in person or online. It fuels me to invest in younger leaders and always challenges me as I learn from them. I’m ...   Read More
Leadership is about finishing life’s races. Too often we are great at starting something or pursuing a dream but we fall short of following thru until the end. Strong leaders don’t stop short ...   Read More
More Articles

Books & Resources

  • In Search of a Leader

    In Search of a Leader

    An excellent resource for the search committee looking for the right leader. It is well written and easy to use, the next best thing to having your own consultant. >> More Information
    Add To Cart
  • MinistryKeys Candidate Assessment (10 reports)

    MinistryKeys Candidate Assessment (10 reports)

    No more stacks of resumes! Pre-screen all applicants to your church or ministry position using our MinistryKeys pre-employment biblical DISC assessment. >> More Information
    Add To Cart
  • The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff CD

    The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff CD

    Based on a national survey, The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff provides reliable church employee compensation breakdowns. >> More Information
    Add To Cart
  • The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff

    The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff

    Based on a national survey, The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff provides reliable church employee compensation breakdowns. >> More Information
    Add To Cart