Understanding Church Leadership 1

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By Pastor Raphael Adegoke


¹⁶Woe to you, O land whose king is a youth, and whose princes feast in the morning. ¹⁷Blessed are you, O land whose king is a son of nobles and whose princes feast at the proper time—for strength and not for drunkenness. (Eccl 10: 16-17)

It is another wonderful week. It was great discussing “Understanding Purpose in Christian Ministry” in the last fourteen weeks, so I pray God grant us the needed grace to walk in the reality of that understanding. This week, we shall be laying a foundation of a series titled “Leadership”. This, we shall be discussing for a while.

The greatest challenge we have in the world today is not the problem of epidemics, natural disasters, climatic change or terrorism, but leadership, this is without the exception of the Church. That means, just as leadership is the greatest problem in the world today, so it is in the Church.

The fate or destiny of a people is often determined by its leadership. The concept of leadership has been grossly misunderstood today, more especially in the Church. How do I mean? While those in the world mostly regard only those in positions of power and authority as leaders, the Church regards every minister as a leader.

In the Church today, there are ministers who aren’t leaders, leaders who aren’t ministers and few ministers who are also leaders. There are so many materials today written on leadership and many seminars organized on the same, even by those who only occupy leadership positions, but aren’t leaders or lack leadership qualities.

There are many definitions given to leadership by many scholars and great leaders. Very popular amongst such is defining leadership as knowing the way, showing the way and leading the way. This is good, but sincerely speaking, must a leader always know the way? There are times a leader does not know the way, but through his leadership qualities harnesses all the resources needed in a people to know the way, then he leads the way. Leading the way here does not necessarily mean leading from the front, but can be from behind. That is why I prefer to define leadership as commanding a voluntary followership along the path of purpose fulfillment or a definite destination.

You are a leader because there are people following. Meanwhile, true leadership is not measured by the number of followership, but measured by the number of wholehearted voluntary followership. While it is true that some a born leaders in the world, it is also true that there are people with the gift of leadership in the Church.

Leadership gift is necessary in the Church, because secular leadership does not naturally translate to spiritual leadership. While leadership qualities can be developed by all, the spiritual gift of leadership cannot be developed by all, except those on whom the Holy Spirit has imparted the gift. Just like every other spiritual gift, it cannot be imitated. Even when being imitated, it can’t produce the same results.

There are qualities that show true leadership in the world and Church today. Some of this shall be our focus henceforth..


Pastor Raphael Adegoke is a Pastor in Christ Apostolic Church (Nigeria & Overseas) and a Lecturer in Christ Apostolic Church Theological Seminary.

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