Leadership Development Requires Character Development

Strategy is a necessary part of a church’s success. For a church, strategy is the development of a plan to guide a ministry in relation to the community that surrounds it (Jain, 2014). For a ministry leader, strategy is the approach taken toward developing vision, processes, and tactics that will propel the ministry toward the realization of its goals and objectives (Hughes et al., 2013). Strategic ministry leaders require intentional development and ongoing growth. There are a number of competencies that leaders focus on and spend time developing to become more proficient in, but one competency that can easily be overlooked is the development of a leader’s character.

A leader who is strategic is able to take advantage of emerging opportunities as they present themselves (Liedtka & Rosenblum, 1998). A strategic ministry leader needs to develop high level character in order to properly know which emerging opportunities to take advantage of. Character is vital to being a strategic leader. Character is doing the right thing despite outside pressure to do the contrary (Likona, 1991). For a strategic ministry leader, this is an essential leadership attribute (Barlow et al., 2003). Through a properly developed character, a ministry leader can lead with the needed moral excellence followers desire and rely on (Hendrix et al., 2003).

Any development program for strategic leaders should have a character development portion included. Without a proper development of a leader’s character, the strategy of a leader may be called into question or it may lack the trustworthiness necessary. A developed character provides leaders with the self-confidence that allows them the clarity they need to make strategic decisions and develop a strategy that followers can trust, rely on, and follow (Northouse, 2013).


Cowan, C. C., & Todorovic, N. (2000). Spiral dynamics:: the layers of human values in strategy. Strategy & Leadership, 28(1), 4–12. http://doi.org/10.1108/10878570010335912

Hughes, R. L., Beatty, K. C., & Dinwoodie, D. L. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader: your role in your organization’s enduring success (Second edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Jain, M. (2014). Organizational Effectiveness and Strategic HR. Journal of Social Welfare & Management, 6(4), 199–207.

Lickona, T. (1992). Educating for character: how our schools can teach respect and responsibility. New York, N.Y.: Bantam.

Liedtka, J. M., & Rosenblum, J. W. (1998). Teaching Strategy as Design: A Report from the Field. Journal of Management Education, 22(3), 285–303.

Sarros, J. C., Cooper, B. K., & Hartican, A. M. (2006). Leadership and character. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 27(8), 682–699. http://doi.org/10.1108/01437730610709291

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