Monthly Archives: March 2013

Are Leaders Born or Made?

This week’s post is another installment of what we discussed last week, namely identifying future leaders. This post is a guest post, however, written by Glenn Matlock. (If you would like to write a guest post, just email me at kris AT trinitywallawalla DOT org). Here’s Glenn’s thoughts, which I hope will spark some good discussion:

In follow-up to previous threads regarding identifying potential leaders, there is an interesting debate that lingers: are leaders born . . . or made? Certainly, there are several who hold opposing views on this subject. Jim Collins describes the traits of what he terms, “level 5 leaders,” in his book, Good to Great. This seemingly implies that some defining leadership traits are both rare and innate (something only a few possess).

However, James Kouzes and Barry Posner espouse an altogether different perspective in their landmark book, The Leadership Challenge. According to Kouzes and Posner, “leadership is not the private reserve of a few charismatic men and women. It is a process ordinary people use when they are bringing forth the best from themselves and others. When the leader in everyone is liberated extraordinary things happen.” They further conclude that leadership is not “the private property of the people we studied or of a few select shining stars. Leadership is not about personality; it is about behavior. The Five Practices [of exemplary leadership] are available to anyone who accepts the leadership challenge.”

What do you think?

Are some born with greater potential to lead than others? In other words, are some meant to lead while most are meant to follow?

Or is it possible that there is a leader waiting to be activated within everyone?

And are there any “third solutions” (neither “born” nor “made”) to this dilemma?

Moreover, is it healthy for everyone to pursue leadership? Why or why not?

Most importantly, what are the implications for ministry in the local church?

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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Uncategorized



Identifying Future Leaders

I’ve been thinking a lot about investing in other leaders lately. The old saying has been rolling around in my brain: “The church is always one generation away from extinction.” While I know that God ultimately determines the timing and the future of His church, the point still stands: if we fail to invest in future leaders, then we’re really not being disciples who make other disciples.

In conversations I’ve had, the biggest challenge is not desire. Most everyone wants to invest in other people and form deep spiritual friendships. The challenge is most often identifying people who are “on the way up.” When a new leader emerges, it is easy to say, “Oh, yeah, that person does have leadership potential. I wish I’d noticed it sooner.” What is harder is to identify someone in the early stages and be able to say, “That is a person who needs some investment. I’m going to take a chance on them.”

So how do you identify people who have leadership potential? The number one quality I look for is this:


People who have an understanding of themselves–of their strengths and weaknesses–are people with potential. They’ve demonstrated a desire to grow and develop, and they are usually ripe for input and investment. If you find a person with self-awareness, you’ve likely found a future leader.

What about you? What qualities do you look for?

What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to investing in future leaders?

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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Uncategorized


The Power of Story

As many of you know, I love a good story. I love how stories work, how they come together, and how they work. The folks at Pixar love a good story, too. They are, after all, the ones who brought us movies like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and many others.

One of their story artists posted some rules of story creation that captured my attention. The list is here:

I think it is a fascinating list, and I think it has a real ministry application. In dialoguing with and mentoring or apprenticing people, I often find that people are either struggling to understand their story and their place in it, or they are interested in writing a new story to their lives, and moving forward. Some of the tips on this list from Pixar struck me as excellent questions to ask in a mentoring/apprenticing context. For example, numbers 1, 6, 8, and 9.

What strikes you from this list? 

How could you incorporate these ideas into your own leadership context?

What other ways do you have to guide people forward?

Finally, here’s a bonus quote that I think also has some ministry application:

In the book Tell Me a StoryScott McClellan writes, “A story is progress, action toward an outcome. Characters without a pursuit do not make for a [good] story.”

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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


Prof Howard Hendricks

Dear Momentum Leaders,
Recently, the world lost a man whose legacy is difficult to describe. Howard Hendricks, known affectionately as “Prof” by the over 10,000 students he taught at Dallas Seminary, went to be with the Lord. It is possible that you have never heard of him, but I know that you have been affected by his leadership, without knowing it. If you’ve learned something from people like Chuck Swindoll or Andy Stanley or Pastor Brad or me, you’ve learned something that Howard Hendricks taught us.

You can learn something of his legacy here:

I also want to share this podcast with you, too:

The podcast is lengthy, about 40 minutes, but it is power-packed. Prof talks about leaving a legacy, something he certainly knows about. (If you only listen to part of it, listen from the 33 minute mark on).

Finally, I can’t link to this, but I will recommend it to you. If you go to the iTunes store, scroll all the way down and click on iTunes U. Search for “Dallas Theological Seminary” and then view “All Courses.” From there, you can download two of Prof’s classes, “Bible Study Methods” and “Leadership Dynamics.” You won’t be disappointed.

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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized