Following the death of management guru Peter F. Drucker in 2005, Jack Welch, former chairman of General Electric Company (GE), dubbed him “the greatest management thinker of the last century.”
Welch’s assessment was no overstatement. Drucker encouraged leaders to think differently about the ways things had always been done. He was almost always ahead of the curve, with an uncanny ability to predict trends—or even create them. As noted by BusinessWeek in a November 2005 article, Drucker is the man who “originated the view of the corporation as a human community”—an idea he heralded back in the 1950s—a proposal considerably ahead of its time.
“Management,” Drucker once said, “is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.”
For leaders, these are words to live by, an important reminder of the differences between managing people or leading them, between performing a task or facilitating a vision, between settling for the status quo or striving for more.
This article series has been about doing right things. Making right choices. Staying ahead of the curve and at the top of one’s game.
We asked the Foursquare leaders we interviewed to wrap up our discussion by defining for us what they feel leadership is all about. Here, in their own words, we find more great words to live by.
Wayne Cordeiro, senior pastor of New Hope (Oahu South Foursquare Church) in Honolulu, notes that a good leader is a good servant.
“A leader is a servant who takes the initiative to serve, and to serve well,” says Wayne. “He possesses a sense of eternal assignment that comes in tandem with a bias for action. He not only loves people, but also the potential that lies within them.”
Sam Rockwell, district supervisor of Foursquare’s Gateway District, affirms this while making an important observation.
“I believe that leadership is mostly about challenge and growth, not just helping and healing,” Sam told Foursquare.org. “In other words, leadership is enabling greater capacity in others, not dependence. This is counter-intuitive for people in the helping professions, and why sometimes leaders may do more harm than good.”
Kimberly Dirmann, district supervisor of the Southwest District, reflects Drucker’s assessment on leadership when she says: “We must ask the right questions and make the hard decisions. At creation, God blessed and commanded mankind to be fruitful and multiply. We must not allow barrenness to remain a normal way of life.”
Two of our leaders mentioned “influence” as a key component of leadership.
“Leadership is influence,” states Farrell Lemings, senior pastor of Grace Covenant (Cornelius Foursquare Church) in Cornelius, N.C. “It is the ability to challenge, motivate and move people toward a common goal.”
Joe Wittwer, senior pastor of Life Center (Spokane Foursquare Church) in Spokane, Wash., concurs, further exploring the topic of influence.
“Influence is the result of who we are (character) and what we do (competence),” Joe explains. “Every good leader actively seeks to enlarge his influence by deepening his character (becoming more like Christ) and by developing his competence (sharpening his skills).”
Others we interviewed talked about effectively motivating people and staying focused on the goal, despite the many distractions that can occur in a vocational ministry setting.
Motivation and Vision
“Leadership speaks of the grasp and commitment to the larger picture, while being able to process effectively the pressing set of scenarios that are constantly before them,” says Glenn Burris Jr., interim president of The Foursquare Church. “Ultimately, leadership is the unique ability to motivate people and marshal resources toward the mission without getting sidetracked. The proper alignment of people, resources and mission pave the way for unlimited potential.”
Nate Poetzl, senior pastor of New Life Center (Everett Foursquare Church) in Everett, Wash., points out that too often, leaders simply shout directions and reroute people who take wrong turns. The result? Leadership gets reduced to moving a herd, he says, to a destination through sheer force of persona and will.
In contrast, Nate explains: “The highest caliber of leaders are ahead of the organization, forging the way and coaxing people onward in such a way that no one feels as if he or she is being pressed in a specific direction. The best leaders are inconspicuous in the entire process, focusing on impacting values and altering desires rather than forcing change.”
James Ranger, senior pastor of New Life Center (Bakersfield Southwest Foursquare Church) in Bakersfield, Calif., reminds us why we need to take our leadership calling seriously.
“To lead others is the most important responsibility and privilege a person can have,” asserts James, “because with it the mission succeeds; without it, the mission fails. Every family, business, church and nation rises or falls on its leaders.”
Leadership does involve a considerable amount of pressure, even in the most desirable of situations and the best of times. In today’s world, with the unparalleled challenges we are facing, the stress is perhaps greater than it’s ever been. The easy thing would be to just give up and fade into the background. But times like this are precisely when leaders are needed the most, says Jim Scott, district supervisor of the Northeast District.
“The leader must take courage that his or her greatest opportunity to contribute may be during the storms of life and the dark days of ministry,” Jim explains. “The leader and leadership are gifts to the body of Christ for certain and uncertain times.”
Gifts to the body of Christ. What a great reminder! You, as a pastor, have been called by God and are a gift to the community in which He has placed you. In your focus on the mechanics of leadership, never forget that, ultimately, yours is a spiritual call.
That’s why Ron Pinkston, district supervisor of the Central Pacific District, boils it down to three simple—yet sometimes easy to forget—principles.
“Good leaders listen, love and lead—in that order,” Ron says. “Listening gives us permission to love. Loving gives us permission to lead.”
And it’s not just about listening to others. One should never underestimate how crucial it is to listen to God.
“The most essential and demanding kind of leadership is self-leadership,” says Jason Albelo, senior pastor of East Hill Church Family (Gresham Foursquare Church) in Gresham, Ore. “Honestly leading ourselves and others is really about our ability and willingness to follow the voice and promptings of the Holy Spirit.”
Or, as Solomon once said: “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6, NKJV).
Those, surely, are the most important words to live by.
This is the third part of a three part series called “The Makings of a Leader.” To read the rest of the series, click below.
Part 1: The Makings of a Leader: Qualities of a Leader
Part 2: The Makings of a Leader: Potential Pitfalls
By: Bill Shepson, a Foursquare credentialed minister and freelance writer in Los Angeles