On Becoming a Leader

Justin Taylor has highlighted an interview with Michael Lindsey about his new book View from the Top. It is a look at how the powerful see the world and insightful in the conversation is how people become leaders. Asked if there was one defining characteristic or shared trait in the stories of how leaders got to where they are, Lindsey summed up his findings with this:

"So a lot of your major demographic characteristics do not matter on your likelihood to succeed. What does matter is the formative influence of an adult who speaks into your life and who has a sustaining relationship with you that you carry with you. Each of us could identify one, two, or three people outside of our family who had a formative influence, and my hunch is that the relationship you had was not for months, or for semesters, but for years. That’s what Christian Institutions can create and that’s one of the things that we found that was really special."

You can be born anywhere, have nearly any experience, and if an adult pours into you, mentors you, you can become a leader. This is the proof of mentoring with research to back it up. You can read the rest of the interview here.

The implications of this reality for the church is an obligation to make the legacy of the church, and the older members of our church, our ability to influence and care for the next generation. Who are we inviting to the conversation. Who are we choosing to spend time with to build up and encourage.

This doesn't mean you have to mentor everyone. And sometimes those you choose to mentor are not a right match for you. But we keep on, giving our experience and encouragement to a new generation of leaders. I too can name the few non-family members that providing the greatest encouragement and opportunity and now I recognize the importance of these discipleship relationships within the church. Let's be about it.


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