How does effective leadership start with you becoming a great follower?

Some love it, some hate it, but we all need it. Dave Newton talks leadership.

Where did all this talk of leadership come from? When did we stop talking about ministry, pastoral care? Has the business world taken over the church?

The term leadership is a little bit like Marmite. You either love it or you hate it. For many, it conjures up images of vision, movement, direction, energy and achievement for others it portrays images of hierarchy, a drive to succeed at all costs and unhealthy authority.

Multiple leadership books have been written, revised and recited backed up by a wealth of training programs, podcasts and conferences. So what is the fascination with leadership all about? Why is it so important? Why has Elim stated it as one of our priorities?

Bill Hybels simply suggests, “leadership is a function to help an organisation move from here to there.”

The Bible is packed with examples of leaders who took God’s people from 'here to there'. David stepped out to free his people from the tyranny of the Philistines and their champion Goliath, Moses led a nation towards the Promised Land, Joshua led the people to overcome the imposing walls of Jericho. Prophets like Jonah and Ezekiel who spoke God’s truth into situations.

In the New Testament Jesus himself recruit, trains and deploys a team to build the foundations of the early Church, Paul and Barnabas embark on their church planting missions and support leaders to grow and establish these churches.

Each example demonstrates people willing to respond to the call of God and lead a group of people into new territory or an exciting opportunity. It is vital to note however that all great leadership especially Christian leadership start with us being great followers.

Leonard Sweet states, “The cry for leadership is deafening amid our social disintegration, our moral disorientation... The Jesus paradox is that Christians only lead by following.”

Jesus called us to be followers when he expressed “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Michael Hyatt contends that if you want to be a great leader, you must first become a great follower.


Joshua followed Moses for more than forty years. Elisha served Elijah for ten years before he took up his master’s mantle and went on to perform even more miracles. The Peter followed Jesus for three years, interestingly making many mistakes along the way. First and foremost Christian leadership has to flow out of our deep-rooted desire to follow Christ.

Elim is seeking to developing leaders by identifying, training, equipping supporting and releasing Christ-like servant-hearted leaders in all spheres of church and society; leaders who regardless of age, gender and ethnicity are exemplary in character and service; leaders who navigate and are fruitful through the seasons of life; leaders who equip, empower and give opportunity to the next generation to take their place in fulfilling the purposes of God.

Leaders walking with humility

The word humility comes from the same root word as humus, which is the natural fertilizer from leaves, twigs and plants. Humility creates an environment for growth.

Leadership in the future of our Movement must seek to be more about releasing of others. The task ahead of us is far too big for one or two gifted leaders who build platforms and ministries for themselves. We need to develop a culture of releasing and growing expansive leaders who go further, grow deeper and do more.

Leaders with prophetic imagination

When did leadership lose its prophetic edge? In order to lead people from here to there, we need to hear from God in order to know where there is! Hearing and responding to the voice of God however mundane or imaginative it seems is an essential quality of leadership. Fruitful leaders will always operate out of intimacy with the creator rather than personal initiative or intuition.

Leaders who influence with Kingdom culture

When did we restrict leadership to within the church? So often we think about church leadership we think about those who have ministry roles within the church. Whilst this is essential our view of leadership has to extend its boundaries.


We need Christian leaders in health, media, politics, finance, business and beyond. Leaders who are shaping society, participating in bringing God’s Kingdom to bear on the earth. Championing justice, forgiveness, kindness, offering freedom and being carriers of Good News in a largely broken society.

As Elim embarks on our Vision 20/20 this is the kind of leadership that will be our focus. Are you feeling the call to lead for a cause greater than your own? We would love to hear from you.

Enjoy this article? Don't forget to share



It’s worth taking time to evaluate, argues Dave Newton.
The past few years have left the country divided, but we can all do something, urges Dave Newton
Director of Training Dave Newton suggests it’s time to stop debating the meaning behind a much-used title
The Coaching Academy will help you to turn your leadership from focusing on self into developing others as an intentional long-term strategy. Registration is now open.
We need to play the long game in growing the next generation of church leaders, says Mark Ryan

Additional Reading >

If you want to find out more about what is on offer from Elim Training, please get in touch.      01684 588947

a ChurchInsight siteCopyrightT&CsPrivacyCookiesRegistered Charity 251549 (England & Wales) SC037754 (Scotland)