What Separates Good Leaders from Great Leaders?

Randy McWhorter speaks at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary on October 15, 2009 

“There is a Biblical answer to the question of what separates good leaders from great leaders,” announced Randy McWhorter, speaking to Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary students, faculty and staff. “In modern times, no one epitomizes great leadership like Winston Churchill. In Biblical times, Hezekiah was an example of great leadership.” 

Randy McWhorter, the Healthy Church Group Leader for the California Southern Baptist Convention as well as a Golden Gate Seminary graduate and adjunct professor at the Southern California campus, noted that these are difficult days to be a Christian leader. “Now more than ever before in America, we need competent and creative leaders. The church is in crisis and we need great leaders.”

“What separates a good leader from a great leader?” McWhorter asked his listeners. “A great leader uses his head.” He explained how Hezekiah was a good leader for eleven years, yet became a great leader during a crisis. 

“Hezekiah evaluated the current situation and decided what needed to be done. He learned from his mistakes and came up with solutions,” said McWhorter. “He not only analyzed the problems, but found solutions. A great leader thinks for himself, but rarely by himself. Hezekiah had consultants,” noted McWhorter, quoting 1 Chronicles 12:32 “…men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do…” 

Another characteristic of a great leader is someone who uses words to inspire, to speak with passion. McWhorter told how in 2 Chronicles 32 v. 7, Hezekiah spoke passionately to his followers, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.” 

A third characteristic of a great leader is one who uses prayer, he noted. “Prayer separates a good Christian leader from a great Christian leader.” McWhorter explained that prayer was not a substitute for leadership. “Hezekiah did everything he could do first, and then trusted God to do what he could not.” McWhorter observed how it is human nature when in a tight situation to call out to God. “Sometimes that is praying out of desperation, but that is not what Hezekiah was doing. It was part of his routine to go to God.” 

McWhorter concluded by challenging the seminarians, “I believe God is calling us to be this kind of leader. Ask God to use you to rise to the call, to become a great leader and to glorify God.”