Effective Leadership Development – The Blind Men and the Elephant

Last week examined the categories for effective Christ-centered leadership development that make up its components. An organization or ministry may focus on one or more of these categories.

  1. character formation
  2. biblical literacy
  3. context-specific skills
  4. ministry development

By sizing up the task before us, knowing we are functioning in these categories, we think that all’s well that ends well, right? Yes, but here’s the caveat. Research shows that “while every emerging Christ-centered leader needs all four of these categories to be truly effective, no single school or service provider is proficient to develop leaders effectively in all four categories.

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Four Categories of Leadership Development

Leadership Development Over the past several weeks we have been looking at how the term “leadership development” means a lot of things to a lot of people and without a common understanding of terms we might get lost in the wild west of expansion. Last week we at Freedom to Lead defined Christ-centered “leadership development” as “adult-focused, intentional cultivation that seeks to establish and enhance effective Christ-centered leadership practices.” However, merely having a working definition of leadership development is not sufficient to make the way forward. We need to size up the task before us.

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Leadership Development: Emergence

It was William Shakespeare who said, “Some people are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Are leaders born or made? Are leaders in leadership because of natural giftedness or because they arose to the occasion at the time it was needed? Leadership Development or Leadership Emergence The first thing we need to establish if we’re going to have a working definition of leadership development is to differentiate it from leadership emergence.

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The Wild West of Leadership Development

Leadership development is often like the Wild West expansion in the mid 19thcentury. When I was in my elementary and middle school years you would most likely find me building forts in the woods creating a world of my own. My brother and I and our neighborhood friends would create new paths and “discover” new streams and ponds. These were simpler days when our time was set by the arrival of lightning bugs that signaled dinner was ready. One of my favorite forms of creative outside play was to imagine we lived in pioneer days, the days of covered wagons and panning for gold. Perhaps it was a unit we studied in school or this new computer program called “Oregon Trail” that inspired me, but I liked to imagine that quest of making our way west. At the time we lived just across the Hudson River from New York City. The idea of “westward expansion” to Oregon and California was mesmerizing.

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How do we define leadership development?

Leadership development. It’s become something of a fad. Today organizations love to talk about it. If a church or ministry offers a “leadership development” program, then they feel like they’re well on their way. How do we define leadership development?

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