Dimensions of Christian Leadership

  • 30 September 2017
  • Randy Wollf

Giza pyramids

I love building capacity in seasoned and emerging Christian leaders. As I do this, I find it helpful to focus my energies on seven key dimensions of leadership (see the Christian Leadership Pyramid below). I often ask myself how I'm personally growing in each of these areas and how I can help others grow in these dimensions as well. Here is how each dimension builds upon the other:  

Biblical Truth   

Biblical truth must guide every aspect of our leadership. It is imperative that we increasingly live and lead in keeping with a thoroughly biblical worldview. This comes as we grow in our ability to meditate on God's Word continuously[1], to handle it accurately[2], and to be a courageous practitioner of the Word[3].

A Growing Relationship with God

The desired foundation of Christian leadership is a growing relationship with God. The Christian leader must continue to live in Christ, rooted and built up in him[4]. As we abide in Christ, he will bear fruit through us[5]. I find that the practice of spiritual disciplines, when done in a meaningful way, rallies me to God and His plans for my life. One of the most useful tools I have found for establishing and growing these disciplines is the Rule of Life. A Rule of Life is an intentional plan to deepen one's relationship with God and to position oneself to love and serve others more effectively. Similar to what Peter Scazzero says in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality [6], I am learning that one's Rule of Life should encompass all of life. This would include practicing traditional spiritual disciplines such as prayer and listening to God through His Word, but also cultivating healthy relationships, fostering emotional health, and taking care of my body (among others).


Character is the second layer of the leadership pyramid. As we increasingly submit ourselves to Christ's Lordship and experience an ongoing filling of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to imitate God and follow Jesus' example of love[7]. Scripture describes many admirable character qualities such as the fruit of the Spirit[8], being wise[9], holy[10], just[11], humble[12], and courageous[13]. Growth in these kinds of qualities greatly enhances our ability to reflect Christ and lead in God-honouring ways. I believe we will acquire these traits in increasing measure as we surrender ourselves to God, deal with sin in our lives, associate with godly people, leverage Scripture to bring about necessary change, allow trials to shape our character, and expose ourselves to opportunities that foster growth in desired areas.


A Leader's Most "Effective" Character Quality

  • 14 June 2016
  • Randy Wollf

I’m convinced that character is foundational to long-term leadership effectiveness. The link between a person’s character and their influence is too strong and too consistent to be ignored. Character is not only one of seven key dimensions of leadership, I believe it is the defining characteristic of leadership. As Wayne Cordeiro has said, you can teach others what you know, but you can only reproduce what you are. 

Yet, the specific character qualities that most greatly impact a leader’s effectiveness are unknown. This is why I’m conducting an online survey on the character qualities that contribute to long-term leadership effectiveness. The results will help me develop a "character map" that I can help leaders follow as they seek to strengthen the character qualities that are essential for leadership over the long haul.

I would like to invite you to take the survey. If you choose to participate, you will be asked to articulate 10 character qualities that you believe are important for long-term leadership effectiveness. You will also be asked to prioritize them and describe how each one looks in the life of a leader. The online survey will take about 20 minutes to complete.

As a small "thank-you" for the time given to this strategic study, you can choose to enter into a random draw for one of two $25 Starbucks gift cards (provided you participate by June 30, 2016 and choose to provide your e-mail address). 

Thanks for considering this request. To participate, click here, read the consent form, and proceed with the survey.

Randy Wollf is the Director of MinistryLift and Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Leadership Studies at MB Seminary.  

Five Strategies For Growing Your Character

  • 13 January 2016
  • Randy Wollf

I once took an assessment that measured my character. Big mistake! My lowest score was compassion. As a pastor, it struck me that it might be helpful to grow in this area. 

To be honest, I was tempted to ignore this unexpected (and probably inaccurate) result. Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that compassion was important and it needed a boost in my life. I could look compassionate when necessary (and for a time), but it wasn’t usually coming from a heart of compassion.

I decided to try to become more compassionate.

Have you started this year with some New Year’s resolutions? Many of our resolutions focus on external behaviours like exercising more or eating less. What would happen if we started the New Year with a desire to change our hearts?

I truly believe that character is one of seven key dimensions of Christian leadership. In fact, I believe it is the defining characteristic of leadership.

Years have passed since I took that character assessment. Even though I’m still not the most compassionate person in the world, I believe that I have grown in this area (at least, I hope so).

You and I both have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to character qualities. What is one character quality that you would love to see increase this year?

Here are five strategies to help you grow in any desirable character quality:  

1. Pray for God’s Help