Competent vs. Spiritual Authority

St. Michael The Angle

“The leader is rarely – possibly never – the best performer. The best leader is rarely the best pitcher or catcher. The best leader is just what’s advertised: the best leader. Leaders get their kicks from orchestrating the work of others – not from doing it themselves.”

– Management guru, Tom Peters

In my early years of leadership of CRM, I received some stinging criticism that I was “out of touch with the field” and “needed to go back and get my hands dirty doing the same thing as those we were sending around the world to do.”

With my proverbial tail between my legs, I had a chat with Bobby Clinton. In his indomitable wisdom, Bobby helped me to see that leading from a posture of “competent” leadership was quite limited and that I had already outgrown the ability to lead in such a manner. I should not expect (nor should others) that I could minister as competently as the growing number of those whom I led. Their skills, language abilities, and specialized competencies far outstripped mine. I could never keep up. Instead, he suggested I focus on two things:

1. Spiritual authority was the preferred posture that I should grow into where people follow because I have grown in my ability to hear from God and then lead from his perspective.

2. When faced with such criticism, to respond by saying: “You’re exactly right. I can’t do what you do as well. But neither can you do what God has called me to do in my leadership of the whole.”

That was liberating!

2 Responses to “Competent vs. Spiritual Authority”

  1. Bill Caya Says:

    Hey Sam,

    Another dynamic to focus on… is very basic and simple:

    Has God blessed your leadership style and delivered growth theCRM?

    Love ya Sam, best to Patty.

  2. tony Says:

    i found your blog from a link on the Brantley’s blog. I find your history and comments very informative. this one on leadership impressed me very much. thank you for your insights. Lord bless your works.

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