Why lead? Discipleship as leadership
Leadership is big these days. And I've become suspicious of our emphasis on what looks more and more like leadership for leadership's sake.
The signature that was automatically included at the bottom of the student’s e-mail message listed her college major, the semester that she’d spent studying abroad, a work-study job and her participation in various honor societies, choirs and councils. If the e-mail had been responding to a job offer, I’d have understood why she added this information. If I were a talent scout, perhaps I’d get used to the litany of credentials. But as a college professor I found all this information to be a kind of unsolicited festival of her leadership potential. Is it also a symptom of a misguided concept of leadership?
Leadership is big these days. The pages of the Century are filled with ads for church leadership conferences. Duke Divinity School runs a leadership blog. I myself direct a program in faith and leadership for a church-related college. On my bookshelf are titles such as Leadership on the Line, The Spirit-Driven Leader and Leadership for a Better World. My students are hounded from their first week of orientation until graduation with invitations to attend leadership workshops, build their leadership résumé and be sent into the world ready to lead.
I have nothing against leadership or leaders and sometimes claim the role myself. But I’ve become suspicious of our emphasis on what looks more and more like leadership for leadership’s sake. We may be missing the point.