· Church Renewal

It’s how we play the game that counts


By Bishop James Swanson


Leadership appears to shine, and it is a position coveted by many.


However, few people understand that leadership shines because of the tragedies, disappointments, heartaches, gut-wrenching decisions, and difficulties that have polished the leadership positions with which they have been blessed.


It is the shining that beckons men and women to pursue leadership positions and sometimes blinds them to the cost they will be required to pay in order to meet the demands that the position places upon them.


In the midst of COVID-19 ––at a time calling for racial healing ––during an era when, governments fail to find moral footing ––and when the church is wounded by disagreement and the inability to heal itself ––we find ourselves in desperate need of leadership.


“John Kotter, former professor at the Harvard Business School, contrasts management with leadership.

He says management is simply maintaining the status quo. It is only concerned with winning the game by throwing the darts as close to the bull's eye as possible.


In contrast, leadership is knowing which game we should be playing and why; only then do leaders use their talents and strengths to play well.


Are we seeking to win the game, or have we even stopped long enough to even discuss knowing which game we’re playing and why?


If we’re really Christian leaders, how we play the game says more about us than winning the game. As Wesleyan Christians it’s not about winning, it’s about going on to perfection in love.


Men are notorious for desiring to win at all cost. If anyone needs to change the orientation from winning to modeling Christ, it is men.


Bishop James Swanson, president

General Commission on United Methodist Men


Back to News Articles