Two Leadership Insights from Two Theologians

I recently was honored to facilitate a discussion on Theology and Leadership at a Southern Seminary alumni luncheon with two seminary professors and theologians: Dr. Bruce Ware and Dr. Tom Schreiner. As facilitator, I chose a few doctrines and asked Dr. Ware and Dr. Schreiner how a proper understanding of these doctrines should impact how one leads. The whole conversation was great, and I learned a lot. But two insights impacted me the most.

1. The Father promoting the Son should impact our promotion of new leaders.

Dr. Ware highlighted that in the Scripture we see God the Father promoting the Son and moving the Son into the spotlight. The Son is exalted above every name and is the center of the Story. That truth should impact a leader. Christian leaders should be looking to move others into the spotlight, to promote others, to raise up other leaders.

Great leaders such as Peter Drucker have articulated that “leaders are responsible for future leadership,” but to have the challenge to nudge future leaders into the spotlight rooted in the character of God should give us a holy conviction to do so.

2. Leadership development must be viewed as a subset of discipleship.

Dr. Schreiner and Dr. Ware both articulated that leadership development must be viewed as part of discipleship, not distinct from discipleship. Because God ultimately wants us conformed more and more to the image of His Son, we must keep leadership development submissive to discipleship.

As we are discipling people, we must simultaneously be deploying them to influence the world around them. If we separate leadership development from discipleship, we aid in competence outpacing character. Leadership development divorced from discipleship creates skilled leaders who are not sanctified.