I have always been passionate about developing leaders because of the enormous responsibilities they hold and the challenges they face. Over the years, I have had the privilege of developing many leaders – through training, coaching and mentoring – in Fortune 100 and 500 companies globally, especially middle and senior management.
So I know a thing or two about the value leadership development brings to organisations, such as improving team/department/organisation performance, morale, culture and much more. The difference is evident when leaders – great or small – are given the tools, knowledge, skills, support and confidence to lead effectively. Plus, we all know what it is like to be led by someone who, quite frankly, has no clue.
After seeing tangible results with the leaders I coached and trained outside of the church, my desire has always been for church leaders to have such opportunities and to benefit from the different avenues of development.
Is The Anointing Enough?
To some, this statement may be controversial, but I am trying to drive home a point here. Some years back, I remember recommending to a leader – a prominent member – of a church I used to attend, that we run a leadership development programme to tackle some inherent issues we were seeing. The shocking response I got, along with a scowl, was:
“What on earth can you possibly train leaders to do?
After all, they are anointed.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a woman of prayer, strong faith, and rely on God’s anointing for everything I do. However, some inherent issues needed to be addressed. And the development of some (if not all) of the leaders would have addressed the issues, rather than assuming the leaders had the necessary ability and know-how, or were indeed ‘anointed’ to deal with them.
With my leadership development hat firmly in place, along with a dollop of anointing, it was clear to me what the problems were and how to resolve them. However, my idea was cut down even before it could be considered.
Time For An Attitude Change
One fact remains: whether you lead in Christiandom or beyond, a leader is still human. Whilst we are fuelled by the anointing (that is, if we yield entirely to God), our human selves still need help in performing our roles, callings, etc. If that were not the case, there would be no need for schools, universities or training facilities, etc.
Our minds need to be renewed. Attitudes and mindsets need to change. We need to learn skills to manage ourselves, the people we lead, and the team/department/organisation we are responsible for. We need to unlearn certain behaviours and discover new ones. This (and more) was pretty much what Jesus was doing with His disciples. He was mentoring, coaching, training and assessing their performance in the three years He had with them, so they were ready for what was ahead.
When we look at the Bible, we see leaders who had training in one form or another. This included a time of preparation. Moreover, it did not stop when they assumed their role. So my question is: if Jesus saw fit to develop His leaders, why not us?
We only need to glance through the Bible to see the sad consequences when potential leaders are not prepared or developed, such as Samson and Eli’s sons. Of course, leadership development is not a guarantee of leadership success, and nor is the anointing – Samson had God’s hand on him, but still messed up – but it places the leader in good stead, coupled with a robust support system.
The Bible – A Leader’s Starting Point
When you look at current themes and trends in leadership development, a lot of them have their origins in the Bible: servant leadership, thought leadership, leading by example, becoming a visionary, leadership characteristics, emotional intelligence, managing diverse teams (or teams geographically dispersed), managing conflict, managing different personalities, etc. In fact, Jesus – the most exceptional Leader who walked on earth – exemplified all of these.
So the Bible becomes our starting point on our leadership development journeys, as it contains bucketloads of wisdom keys, principles and strategies for aspiring and experienced leaders. So we cannot dismiss the God factor when it comes to developing leaders.
Furthermore, God, being the creative God He is, knew His leaders would need further support. So He gifted the Church (and beyond) with those blessed with the anointing to develop leaders. John Maxwell and the late Dr Myles Munro are prime examples. There are many more, but you get the point. They are – whom I believe to be – the gifts bestowed to the Church to ‘…equip God’s people to do His work and build up the Church, the body of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:11-12, NLT).
When everything is said or done, I am mindful that the anointing of God unquestionably makes all the difference. It gives us supernatural abilities to do what we are not able to do in the natural. Just ask Moses, Elijah and Elisha. However, the anointing is not a reason for ignorance nor for discarding the need for learning and continually developing ourselves.
We should aim to be workers who don’t need to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15). Therefore, we have a part to play, while leaving room for the Holy Spirit to perform His part. In this day and age, when the spotlight is so heavily focused on the Church and its leaders, we have to play our role to ensure what the world sees is nothing but the light of Christ shining through us.
So, in all your getting, get understanding (Proverbs 4:7)!
Written by Grace Gladys Famoriyo – Coach, Speaker and Author of books including Overcoming Emotional Baggage, Quit Hiding, Start Living!, Bounce Back! and Healing A Discouraged Heart. www.gladysf.com