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How to conduct these 10 biblical leadership principles

| by Gerry Lewis

Have you ever attended a concert by an amazing choir? I don’t mean the sixth-grade choir that is amazing because your kid is on the front row, but a choir that inspires you to spontaneously leap to your feet in wild applause with one selection and takes your breath away in silent wonder with another. With a background in music, I have remained a participant and observer of the power of music and concluded that there are significant biblical leadership principles found in observing really good choral conductors.

Here are 10 biblical leadership principles:

1. Leaders who do not listen to their followers will not lead well. The first task of the conductor is listening to the singers. He is responsible for tuning, dynamics, tempo and rhythm. None of these can be adjusted without listening to the choir.  

2. Biblical leadership is not performance. The only way to develop emerging biblical leaders is to focus on them. The conductor’s focus is toward the choir. That means that her back is to the audience.  

3. The best leaders demonstrate how to humbly pass along the credit for success.The conductor will receive applause. It’s the nature of being the one in front.  However, the best conductors know how to accept applause with grace and pass recognition on to the choir.  

4. Leaders are not afraid to intentionally step into disharmony so that focus and alignment can be restored.The conductor helps the choir stay in tune. It is not enough to listen and hear that the choir is out of tune.  He must help the singers listen to each other and constantly blend in clear unisons and lush harmonies.  

5. Biblical leadership teaches that any focus on “me” detracts from the power of “we.”The conductor helps the choir make music as a unit. No individual voices should stand out unless it is an intentional solo.  

6. Success in leadership is most accurately measured by what is accomplished by the organization, not by the style of the leader.The conductor is keenly aware that the audience came to hear a concert, not watch a conducting demonstration. The choir, not the conductor is the hero.  

7. What leaders strive for is to bring out the best from this group at this moment and place. The conductor is not trying to get the choir to sound like any other choir, but for this choir to sound its best. Imitation may be the greatest form of flattery, but it is a poor substitute for empowerment.  

8. The best biblical leadership keeps the organization mission-centric. The conductor understands that the choir’s performance is built around songs. What the choir wears, how they are arranged on stage, how lighting and sound are adjusted—all these matter only in how they assist the choir to deliver their best performance of songs. Songs are the mission.  

9. Effective leaders do not focus on positions to be filled, but people to be empowered. The conductor seeks to draw the best out of each singer. That is, he puts each person in a position to succeed. He doesn’t ask a soprano to fill an open position in the bass section.  

10. The best biblical leadership is never led on autopilot, but interprets the moments, so the mission remains vibrant.The conductor interprets the music within the moment. The same music may be performed slightly differently for a different audience or in a different venue.  

Every choir I have ever sung with has changed conductors at some point. Every church or organization will experience a leadership change. Will we conduct these biblical leadership principles in such a way that we are equipping emerging leaders, who will continue the mission after we’re gone?

Photo source: istock 

Gerry Lewis

Dr. Gerry Lewis serves as Executive Director of the Harvest Baptist Association in Decatur, Texas. He is also Founder and CEO of YLM Resources, which includes Next Step Coach-Sulting and Life Matters Publications. He is also an author of four books, including Why “Bible Study” Doesn't Work. He and his wife live in Azle, Texas and have two grown children and three (so far) grandchildren. His weekly Life Matters blog and Your Church Matters podcast can be found at

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