Leadership Dichotomy

One of the issues that cropped up at a meeting with a group of marketplace Christian leaders was about leadership style (for a lack of a better word). We noticed that corporate leaders, including Christian ones, provide strong leadership and expect everyone to follow through on agreed or accepted policies and objectives. However, when these same Christian leaders are in a so-called Christian context, like a church or a Christian organization, suddenly their views on leadership style changes.


For example, in the marketplace we expect a certain level of competency and commitment from those who work under our leadership. If they don’t do what is expected of them, despite all the help and encouragement afforded to them, we will eventually have to take some drastic steps. If they can’t do the job as required—they will be moved. If they won’t (say, because of an attitude problem)—they will be removed.

In the church, and even Christian organisations, however, leaders are expected to tolerate shoddy work and poor attitude (even bad attitude)—because, we reason, it is the Christian thing to do. Furthermore, the same people who exercise strong leadership in their place of work, will tell the pastor and elders that it is wrong for them to exercise strong leadership in the church.

There is something clearly amiss here. We have been deluded to accept a dichotomy between what we term, the “secular “and the “spiritual”. But as one preacher said, “Nothing is secular. Everything is spiritual, except sin.” There should not be a contradiction between the kind of leadership you exercise in your office and that in the church.

You can’t say, it is alright to dismiss someone who is not performing in his job, but it is not Christian to remove someone who is not carrying out his ministry responsibility seriously. If it is not Christian to do the latter, neither is it Christian to do the former. The place does not determine whether it is Christian or not. It is our attitude and the process that we take that determine that. Our leadership should be Christian regardless of where we exercise it; whether in the marketplace or the church. What we cannot do in the church, we cannot do in our office. What you believe you can do in your office, you should agree that it can also be done in the church. And to keep us on the road of good and godly leadership we have the best-selling guide of all—the Bible.

This blog post is not a discussion on leadership principles; to determine what’s right or wrong, good or bad leadership. The point I am making here is that we are not to dichotomise leadership in the marketplace and in the church. Leadership is to be the same in both arenas—Christian and Biblical.