Give and take

Leadership as a spiritual practice

Is leadership, specifically pastoral leadership, a spiritual practice? Dorothy Bass has defined practices as “those shared activities that address fundamental human needs and that, woven together, form a way of life.” Does leadership address a fundamental human need?

Effective leaders engage communities, congregations and institutions in addressing their most difficult and pressing problems, and mobilize those organizations to address their most important challenges. In these ways leadership does address a fundamental human need—our need to respond to challenges. When no person or team of persons provides leadership, communities and congregations are disabled.

Craig Dykstra adds, “Practices are those cooperative human activities through which we, as individuals and communities, grow and develop in moral character and substance.” If leadership is a practice, then it forms not only those who are led, but also those who lead.


This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $2.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.

This article is available to subscribers only.

To post a comment, log inregister, or use the Facebook comment box.