Over the past few years I have spent a good chunk of time pursuing leadership growth and development. I’ve read leadership books, invested time perusing blogs, articles, and listening to podcasts. My desire has been to grow as a leader in order to be a better servant of Christ’s church. My guess is that the time investment has been helpful at some level.
I think leadership growth can be boiled down to growing in wisdom and knowledge. Leadership takes a certain level of skill, and that skill is built on wisdom and knowledge. Fools lack knowledge, do not make not good leaders, and therefore should not be followed (Prov 14:7). So it makes sense that leaders, especially spiritual leaders, should want to grow in wisdom and knowledge.
In my Scripture memorization I came across Colossians 2:3 recently. It reminded me that it is Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” What a relief and hope this word is for leaders! We don’t need to read all the bestselling leadership books on the market to be effective leaders. We don't need to be connected to all the popular leadership podcasts or blogs. Those things may be helpful, but they are not essential.
It hit me later on as I thought about church history. God used many men in great leadership roles, from Athanasius and Augustine, to Luther and Calvin, to Spurgeon and Lloyd-Jones. The surprising thing is that they all actually lived in the days before the current leadership buzz. They ministered before there was a mass push to publish and produce leadership material from the “experts.” These godly guys somehow greatly influenced the world with the gospel, and yet never attended a conference or breakout session on coaching, mentoring, or organizational leadership. But these men had access to all the leadership material that God saw they needed: wisdom from above (Jas 3:17) found in Christ. These men studied Christ and he was sufficient for their personal leadership growth and development.
I’m thankful that the same is true today. Truth be told, all the leadership stuff out there has a pretty short shelf life. Blog and podcast content quickly disappear from memory, at least for me. The latest leadership bestseller will eventually be sold at steep discount on Kindle for $2.99 when the new stuff rolls out. On the other hand, the eternal and enduring Word of Christ does not have a short shelf life. It has been powerful and effective to lead leaders throughout church history (Col 3:16). Simply put, the source of wisdom and knowledge in Christ has proven the test of time. It is still the most certain way to grow gospel-centered leaders who trust God that their work has eternal rewards.