BEGINNING When considering the subject of leadership, several truths come to mind.

First, we can never get far from our personality1. Furthermore, a leader needs to have character—not simply be a character, though the two are not mutually exclusive. One who leads needs a certain amount of skill in working with people and communication. Also, since the leadership we are considering is primarily leadership in the context of the Christian church, a leader needs a growing understanding of the Scriptures. When we speak of character we speak of “the inherent complex of attributes that determines a person’s moral and ethical actions and reactions.”2 Or, to put it more simply, as John Warfin says in the film Buckaroo Bonsai, “Character is what you are in the dark.” When no one can see you, applaud you, correct you, or encourage you, your character determines what you do. Ask yourself, "If there were no one there to punish me or correct me, or award me, what would I do?" Developing good character is a crucial step in the development of good leaders. Thankfully, character can be built. Ability to work with people and skills in communication are also invaluable in the social network we call “church.” How we talk, the tone we use, the questions we ask, and the way we listen are all part of these skills. These skills can be learned if one is willing to put in the effort required. Understanding Scripture is a life-long pursuit. If one is to become a leader in the Christian church, this has to be a primary pursuit. Formal education is not required; however, some type of structured, intentional, and accountable learning process is necessary. We run into many problems when we fail to learn from the great saints of old – and not so old. We believe that the Scriptures are plain and understandable in matters of salvation and yet, the personal interpretation of portions of the Scriptures have sometimes allowed too many leaders to fail personally, and worse, to lead astray many of those under their leadership and teaching. Along with continual study of the Scriptures, familiarizing yourself with some of the available Christian theology books will be helpful. Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem is a challenging tome that brings in various theological views. I enjoyed H. Orton Wiley’s Christian Theology while I was in seminary. There are others.


the complex of all the attributes--behavioral, temperamental, emotional and mental--that characterize a unique individual (personality. WordNet© 3.0. Princeton University)

character. WordNet® 3.0. Princeton University. (accessed: August 19, 2007).

For your Journal •
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Explain the difference between PERSONALITY and CHARACTER. What traits make up your personality? What PEOPLE SKILLS or COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS have you found compelling in other leaders that you know? What skills are you already aware of that need work?