Relational Connection, Christian Leadership, Pt. 5
Relational Connection, Christian Leadership, Pt. 5By: Todd Hudnall
Leaders have different temperaments and personalities but all Christian leaders must love and care about people. The investment in relational connection is a key to effective leadership. John Maxwell refers to this as “first touching a person’s heart before asking for their hand.” To leaders Maxwell writes, “Never underestimate the value of building relationships with people before asking them to follow you.” Such relationships are not to be forged based on the utilitarian value of people but for the fact that people are themselves valuable. Ken Hemphill explains:
To be an effective leader, you must believe in the value of people. They are not subjects or simple laborers to be commanded. They are not objects on which to try our techniques or pawns to help the pastor achieve his growth goals. They are unique individuals created in the image of God. They are His precious gifts entrusted to leadership in stewardship; and thus, the goal of the leader is to enable each individual to fulfill his or her God-given potential. You can’t lead people unless you truly love people.
Christian leaders also needs to learn the art of helping connect people to one another in relationship and ministry service. Doing so is invaluable for accomplishing ministry in the church. Leith Anderson writes:
The effective leader understands how people connect with one another. The effective leader cares about people and enables them to find satisfying relationships within the church. The effective leader never ignores the importance of relationships for the sake of accomplishing a task.
Christian leaders need to be able to understand the value and dynamic of relationships with people. Yet, they must also be able to live in the reality that the relationship that matters utmost is their relationship with the Lord. This allows the leader to love people without needing people to provide them with approval and affirmation. Brad Powell explains:
In order for a leader to effectively guide people through the whitewater of change, they must have the courage that stems from playing to the audience of One. The leader that needs people to love, respect, and accept them, will never have the courage necessary to lead them where they need to go. The right leader never plays to the audience that pays them. They play to the audience that made them. Too many church leaders play to the wrong audience. They live in fear of what their people might do. It takes courage to do right in the face of being wronged. But if the church is going to clearly reflect Christ, it must follow Him in doing just that. It takes courage to lead the church as and where Jesus would lead it.
 John Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc., 1998), 101.
 Maxwell, 106.
 Ken Hemphill, The Antioch Effect: Eight Characteristics of Highly Effective Churches (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1994), 88.
 Leith Anderson, Leadership That Works (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1999), 144.
 Brad Powell, The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping, 2037-2041.