Leaders and Followers

By Not Known

Leadership renewal seems to be a hot topic recently, not only in political circles but in church circles. The last edition of the Presbyterian Express, the magazine of the English-speaking Presbyterian churches in Singapore, was almost entirely devoted to articles on leadership.

When I returned from Singapore to England in 1998, I was offered a refresher course at Westminster College in Cambridge, and for some reason I chose to do a three month module on leadership. I learnt quite a number of buzz words and catch phrases. One that attracted me in the light of my Singapore experience was “A good manager does things right. A good leader does the right things.” The author was making a distinction between good managers and good leaders.


Good managers    



Focus on structures/systems                          

Rely on control                                

Ask ‘How’ and ‘When’                      

Imitate and copy


Good leaders



Focus on people

Inspire trust

Ask ‘What’ and ‘Why’



Alongside the differences between good managers and good leaders, I learnt about the many different styles of leadership ― inspirational, idealistic, opportunist, persuasive, perfecting, holistic, inventive and conquering ― and increasingly the servant leader. The Christian concept of the servant leader is interestingly having an impact on business and commercial leadership thinking.

The servant model of leadership is basic to Scripture. But the servant model of Jesus is often misinterpreted. It does not mean that as Christians we are like doormats, or like maids having a subservient relationship. It does not mean even that we have a kind of employer/employee relationship with God. God exalts the servant relationship. He raises us to his level. Servant whether it refers to an individual like Abraham or David, or whether it refers to a corporate relationship (Israel is God’s servant) implies a trusting, obedient and special relationship with God. We are always followers before we are leaders.

And the difference between church leadership and leadership in the world is that our position never changes. We are first and last followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our ministries as pastoral staff, elders, deacons and members are secondary. Perhaps our concentration should be less on renewal of leadership or lack of leadership, and more on the renewal of discipleship. Jesus first and last words to Peter were “Follow me”.


Derek Kingston