Spiritual Leading Introduction
We have already explained how important ‘Respect of Leadership’ is on how effective a leader can be. We compared ‘Command’ versus ‘Demanded’ respect in that article (read here). I must admit that my involvement in the research and writing of that article several months ago altered my perspective on the best approach to spiritual leading. I want to explain how my perspective changed and why. The following is quoted from an article I wrote last year.
“Though there are many different approaches to church leadership, from my perspective they can all be condensed down into two main types. These two types of leadership are ‘Developmental’ and ‘Authoritarian’. I am sure there a many subtle variations of these, as well as a some other minor types, but, for my purposes it easiest to just go with these two.”
In that article I presented both of these types as equal yet different. I now know these leader types seem to match up with the two sources of respect already mentioned. Here is the remainder of the article, if you haven’t done so already, please read the Respect of Leadership article linked above before continuing.
“A developmental leader’s primary goal is to assist in the growth and education of those they are responsible for. Success is determined by how well this assistance creates self-reliant individuals in their membership. This is accomplished by leading through example, and teaching everyone how to find their own needed answers in the scriptures. Understanding is vital, ideas need to be supported by facts based on multiple references. Questions are always answered, even if it takes a few days to find them. This openness creates the important self-reliance necessary to follow the guidance found in Philippians 12 to “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. For this to happen, individuals need to know how, that means they require teaching, guidance, and examples that a developmental leader can and will provide.
An authoritarian leader’s primary goal is to make sure that everyone that they are responsible for follows their directions. Success is determined by how well their membership is able to follow what they are told to do and correctly accomplish it. Loyalty is vital, the leader determines what ideas the membership need to know. The leader knows what is important, so it is not necessary for anyone to fact check them using the scriptures. Members, who need to be told what to do, seem to thrive under this leadership style. You should compare these members to sheep, which for their safety, have come to belong to an individual ‘shepherd’ leader’s fold. The New Testament shepherd references seem to put Jesus in that position rather than an individual earthly leader, but the shepherd concept seems to be where the authoritarian leader type originated.
It is important to understand if your leaders are using ‘Developmental’ or ‘Authoritarian’ leadership techniques. This knowledge can help you to grow in your church, as well as help you find which type of leader is the best one for you.”
Spiritual Leading in Retrospect
When I read this article again after our crew finished the ‘Respect’ article an important concept became obvious to me. It is that most ‘Developmental’ leaders ‘Command’ respect, and most ‘Authoritarian’ leaders use ‘Demanded’ respect. While it is correct that for most truisms there are exceptions, you could have an ‘Authoritarian’ leader ‘Command’ respect which results in their membership following them. But I think that a ‘Developmental’ leader that ‘Demanded’ respect from their membership and told them to learn would have to be impossible.
In my experiences I have always admired and responded well to leaders that command respect. I now understand that this source of respect is why I best relate to ‘Developmental’ leaders. Learn about your leadership, be sure their ways to spiritual leading you are getting all your spiritual growth needs met.