Many Christian training programs for leaders are just simplified versions of academic programs. But are these programs effectively helping leaders to develop the skills and knowledge they need to be effective? Elliston and Kauffman (1993) suggest that one way to decide what type of program might be needed is to think about five types of leaders (Figure 1).

They make two important observations: (1) Effective churches need to invest the greatest share of

Type Functions & Context Characteristics
Type 1 leader Small group or ministry Intensive, face to face, not extensive
Type 2 leader Coordinator of ministries Intensive, direct and indirect
Type 3 leader Pastor of the church/district Less intensive, direct and indirect
Type 4 leader Regional context More extensive, mostly indirect
Type 5 leader International context Very extensive, mostly indirect

Figure 1. Five Types of Leaders (Elliston & Kauffman, 1993).

resources into training Type 1 and 2 leaders since they are the most likely to reach non-Christians.

(2) Designers of leadership training programs need to ask, what type of leaders are to be trained? Each type of leader has different needs.

  • Type 1 and 2 leaders need short hands-on practical training in specific skills and Informal or non-formal models of training, modeling and apprenticeships may be most effective.
  • Type 3 leaders often need a formal seminary degree to function in a church It should cover knowledge in management and leadership.
  • Type 4 leaders may need a broader knowledge of theories and their application because they function in so many different

Non-formal, less structured education models may be most helpful.

  • Type 5 leaders need to have not only theories but to develop an ability in theory construction that allows them to modify theories of action when required by different contexts. Informal models, mentoring, and apprenticeships may be the best What kind of leadership programs does your organization offer? And for what type of leaders? Does the design of your programs match the intended type of learner? Do you invest enough in equipping your Type 1 and 2 leaders? If not, what will you do about it?

Source: Elliston, E. J., & Kauffman, J. T. (1993). Developing leaders for urban ministries. New York: P. Lang.



Bringing out the best in people is something effective leaders aspire to achieve. Yet some leaders seem to consistently hold teams back by draining their intelligence and underutilizing their collective capacity. Why are some leaders able to unleash the ideas, skills, and interests of their people, leading to superior performance and long-term success. The difference can be traced to distinctive leadership styles Wiseman and McKeown (2010) call multipliers or diminishers.

Diminishers may hold their teams back despite their good intentions, unaware of the restrictive impact they have on others. Researchers cite three signs:

  • Being a visionary. Some leaders are good at laying out a compelling vision and persuading others to buy into the But they leave little space for people to think through the challenges themselves.
  • Having the gift of Some leaders are passionate and articulate, taking up a lot of meeting time. But what they intend to be infectious is, unfortunately, stifling.
  • Being a creative person. Some leaders are a sparkplug of creative thinking, continually generating new But team members suffer from organizational whiplash as they try to keep up with every new idea imposed by this “creativity.”

It may be time to listen to those who dare to stop you in your tracks to let you know how your leadership style is affecting them so you can develop ways to become a true multiplier.

Source: Wiseman, L., & McKeown, G. (2010). Bringing out the best in your people. Harvard Business Review, 88(5), 117-121.



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