Leadership Letters
Leadership Letters

Writings on Christian leadership and leader development by Malcolm Webber

June 2001
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Some Fundamental Realities of Leadership Development #5

Malcolm WebberMalcolm Webber

In this letter, we continue to look at certain broad and overarching themes related to leadership building.

18. There are several distinct “hats” that a leader will wear in his relationship with an emerging leader. There are many areas of overlap but each practice has its own place relating to content, process and purpose.

First, a leader-builder will be a Trainer. Training is the instructional process by which specific knowledge and skills are transferred to the emerging leader. It usually occurs early in the relationship with an older leader. Training also occurs at any time when new skills are required. It is an ongoing and never-ending process of continually improving the “technical” capacities of the new leader. The leader must know what he is doing.

Second, at times he will be a Counselor. Counseling is helping people who have personal or interpersonal issues – inside or outside of their work or ministry responsibilities – that are interfering with their ability to properly function.

Third, it will occasionally be necessary to be a Confronter. Confronting is how we deal with negative attitudes, disruptive behaviors or substandard performance. Goals and objectives must be clarified and the emerging leader helped to move toward positive solutions. Underlying character issues may also need to be dealt with.

Finally, the leader-builder will always be a Mentor. Mentoring is the process in which one leader shares his wisdom, his experience and his life with emerging leaders on a one-on-one basis. He helps the new leader with his relationships with God and with others, and he assists him in understanding his overall life’s purposes in God and how those purposes relate to his current situation. He also helps facilitate the young leader’s personal networking. The new leader learns by the example and personal influence of the older one.

The content of mentoring is the new leader’s relationships with God and his community, the process deals with the development of spiritual and life issues and its goal is that the leader recognizes and fulfills his purposes in God.






Technical skills

Personal problems

Negative attitudes or actions

Relationships with God and with one’s community



Personal growth issues

Deals with character problems

Development of spiritual & life issues


Establish and meet goals & objectives

Physical, mental, emotional & spiritual health

Overcome substandard performance or persistent concerns

Recognize and fulfill one’s life purposes in God

Clearly, to build new leaders properly requires a great personal investment of time, as well as emotional and spiritual energy!

19. Leadership capable of leading God’s people into the future is one of the scarcest resources in the church today. Consequently, a Christian organization that is successful in raising up new leaders, will likely become a net “exporter” of their leaders to other churches and ministries. This is to be expected due to the general scarcity of effective Christian leaders. Knowing this in advance can help us to adopt the right attitude. God has called us to be givers and not hoarders. It is far better to “send” our leaders out as a gift to the Body of Christ and to the Kingdom purposes of God, than to think of them as having been “stolen”!

20. You cannot make someone become a leader against his own will. For example, Demas (2 Tim. 4:10) fell away after having ministered with Paul, the great apostle! Demas saw Paul’s life and heard his teachings, and he walked with God for a while, yet fell away. Moreover, Paul didn’t blame himself for Demas’ apostasy; it was Demas’ own choice. Judas Iscariot walked with Jesus Himself and yet fell away!

A person may have great potential, but he still must choose to respond to the opportunities offered him.

Leadership is hard. It comes with suffering, rejection and pain. There is often a high price to be paid to lead. Consequently, not everyone – sometimes including people who are clearly called by God to be leaders – desires such responsibility. Many, unfortunately, hide their “talent” in the ground and never develop their potential (Matt. 25:25).

The Lord Jesus Christ was the greatest Builder of leaders who has ever lived. In the next Leadership Letter, we will begin to examine Jesus’ example of leadership development.

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