Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Imitate Me as I Also Imitate Christ!

Written by: on March 14, 2023


Peter Northouse book on Leadership: Theory and Practice is an amazing book on Leadership. After reading this book my head is spinning and I feel as if there is many different ways one can lead. Comparing to the Spiritual Gifts in 1st Corinthians 12 we can come to the conclusion that the most important spiritual gift that is needed, is the one that is needed at the time. Therefore there is not a perfect leadership course, as leaders we have to decide how to best lead in the situation we are faced with. Most of all, how is the Holy Spirit leading us.

Northouse Summary

Northouse takes his book to a high level and provides many examples through the years on leadership. We can see a common thread that leaders are to perform and perform well.  Chapter 1 of the book serves as the main theme throughout the entire book.[1] If you 0nly have time to read one chapter of this book, make sure it is chapter one. We can breakdown the main points of the book into these disciplines:

  • Leadership is a process
  • Leadership involves influence
  • Leadership occurs in groups
  • Leadership involves common goals

Each chapter of the book is built on a specific leadership model. However it is up to us as the leader to make sure and choose the correct model for application. This is why it is so important to apply what we learned in Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow. [2] This can be more difficult than it seems because not every situation is the same. Meaning there can be different people involved, different cultures or ethnicity at work. Or even different classes and financial backgrounds. Often, we just end up throwing as much money at a problem until it goes away.

Leadership from the Bible

1st Corinthians 11:1 “Imitate me as I also imitate Christ. As Christian leaders we are to be examples of Godly leaders that Paul puts before us in the Pastoral Epistles. From the Pastoral Epistles we see that character is very important and that the bible gives us clear expectations on a Godly leader. Not only do we have the characteristics expected, but we see from the Identity gifts in Romans 12.

  • Prophet
  • Servant
  • Teacher
  • Exhorter
  • Giver
  • Ruler
  • Mercy

Ministry Gifts 

In Ephesians 4 we have the ministry gifts, also known as the five-fold ministry gifts. From this list we have Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers. Depending on what ministry gift of the leader it can greatly influence the church or culture of that particular church. For example, a leader who is an evangelist is going to be driven by doing events, while a pastor anointing will want to meet and talk with people. A teacher anointing will want to have a Sunday school class for the church to make sure the congregation is growing in the Word.


The need, more than ever, is for healthy leaders to lead the way. During Covid, many people lost respect and hope in the current leadership and government. The problem is so many leaders have learned great skills and administration, however their character and moral attributes are lacking and need development. Or sometimes they are undisciplined and from the book of Proverbs called a sluggard. The opportunity is simple, for character growth to happen. James 1:2-4 states that we should be complete as leaders and lacking nothing. We can see that Northouse’s book on leadership lines up that leadership involves grace. Leadership is a process of maturing and making the right decision over and over. I want to stress the need of the six main points from Kahneman, which he calls the big idea that will help us in selecting the right decision.

  • Understanding System 1 & 2
  • Understanding Anchoring
  • Understanding the Science of Availability
  • Understanding the Loss of Aversion
  • Understanding Framing
  • Understanding Sunk Cost Fallacy


Northouse’s book on Leadership; Theory and Practice is very sound and insightful. It is a wealth of knowledge ready for us to apply in our leadership. Wisdom is when we take knowledge and apply it to a situation or problem with success. This is why experience and wisdom is sought out in the world today. In a world of quick fixes a steady hand at the wheel is often what the world needs. Often in a storm or panic, everyone is trying to grab the wheel for control, when often we just need to ride out a storm and keep our current heading.

[1] Peter G. Northouse, Leadership: Theory and Practice 5th ed. 2010.

[2] Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (April 2, 2013).


About the Author


Greg McMullen

Pastor Greg resides in Lake Stevens WA and pastors a small rural church in the Machias area . The Well Church has a large food ministry in which many different cultures come each week to gather food and counsel. The Church has a small school that is bearing good fruit. Pastor Greg has a large family of 10 children and enjoys fishing and hiking.

9 responses to “Imitate Me as I Also Imitate Christ!”

  1. Kristy Newport says:

    Hi Greg,
    It looks like you jumped into Northouse and enjoyed learning about different theories on leadership.
    Your blog brings many questions to mind. Here are a few:
    You state that Northouse sees leadership taking place in the context of a group. I am curious how you may see leadership in a context other than a group, if this is possible?

    You provide a list of Identity gifts in Romans 12. I am curious if you see this list as being exhaustive or are there other “identity gifts” that may be found in the Bible?

    I like this: “Leadership is a process of maturing and making the right decision over and over.” I am curious to hear more of your thoughts on this. Is there a strategy that you have found to be effective from Kahneman?

    Thank for your blog….got me thinking.

  2. Kristy,
    These are really good questions. Here are my responses.

    1. To answer your question about Northouse seeing leadership in a group. This is how I seperate a leader and a boss. A leader will have a group of followers. A boss will have employees who are paid to do as that boss/manager directs them. However, a leader who has followers, those followers see something in that leader they desire, respect, or value.

    2. The most effective leadership I have seen in a church or organization is when all seven of the identity gifts are present on a leadership team. Jesus was all 7 (complete) of the identity gifts which we have one primary identity gift we operate in. Individually we make up 1 of the 7 identity gifts.

    Similar to the seven churches in Revelation and the characteristics of those churches and cities they were in, each identity gift has their own characteristic. For example Peter was an apostle, the identity gift of a prophet, and had spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit to aid his ministry.

    For example, the church of Laodicea was the seventh church in the book of Revelation. The people of Laodicea were known for their silk, mainly black silk. Also Laodicea did not have any wells, they had to irrigate water to Laodicea. However when the water got there it was usually warm and contaminated.

    This goes with the Mercy gifting. They are usually into fashion and how things feel. King David was a mercy gifting, you see the deep range of emotions David had in the Psalms. I also believe that the Mercy gifting make the best worship leaders, because they feel the heart of God.

    The identity gifts were big in Foursquare. It used to be that Church planters had to know about the identity gifts so they discipled and put people in the best suited ministries according to their giftings.

    In the identity gifts come from God. The five fold gifts come Jesus Christ. The Spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit. Everyone has an identity gift, not everyone has a 5-fold anointing. The Spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit. They are gifts we must pray for.

    Even though we have access to all the spiritual gifts, we have primary spiritual gifts that aid us in ministry or our calling. For example, when I get tired I will usually rest or rely on my prophetic gifting. When I do this also gives me energy.

    3. Kahneman has really helped me with slowing down. For two years during Covid we provided food for over 5,000 people a week. I would preach 3-5 times a day. We learned in System 1 thinking it is more reactionary, while System 2 thinking is more analytical and critical.

    In emergencies, System 1 is an incredible help. The more experiences we have with emergencies, the better decisions we make through experience. However System 2 allows for more time to process and reflect.

    In System 2 thinking or “the seat of rest” we are not rushed to make a decision. We can take time to not react emotionally but to use logic, critical thinking, and come to a conclusion that benefits the most. Most of all, this allows for the Holy Spirit’s leading.

    In my recent coaching, my coach referred to me as a prophetic Winnie the Pooh. I was a little apprehensive at first because of my own chubbiness. I still want to be that amazing, handsome, skinny jean wearing evangelist with great hair.

    But my coach was on to something I had not realized about myself. I actually like organic over heavy systems, I love the freedom of adventure and whoever I bump into I usually minister to. I enjoy freedom and friendship.

    This probably while I find such freedom in a rural church over a mainline church that is heavily systematic. Other gifttings such as an exhorter gifting would love the bigger church or mainline ministry.

    To summarize, Jesus did what He saw the Father doing. The best leadership is to have ears that hear, eyes that see. The more God can trust us, the more He can entrust us with.

    I hope I answered your questions Kristy, please let me know if I can answer anything else.

    Bless you Kristy 🙂

    • Kristy Newport says:

      Wow! It was like you had another blog in you to write! Sometimes I believe I have more to say…after the 1000 word limit! I appreciate your thoughtful response and sharing your personal coaching experience. Prophetic Winnie the Pooh…I can see how this fits! Your prophecy is very encouraging.
      Identity gifts- It appears there is a lot to learn in this area. Thanks for taking the time to respond

      • Kristy,

        You are welcome. The Identity gifts were heavily used in the church and used to be a requirement for church planters to know and learn. However, there was a big shift in the early 1980’s where discipleship no longer seemed as important.

  3. mm Becca Hald says:

    Greg, Wow, what a great post and response to Kristy. I love how you bring in the importance of Biblical leadership and the examples of different leadership styles (in your response to Kristy). Also, I love the description of a “prophetic Winnie the Pooh.” I think it aptly suits you. Your character is similar to Winnie the Pooh in the optimism and the love and friendship you have for others.

    You wrote, “Leadership is a process of maturing and making the right decision over and over.” What are some of the things you do over and over again to grow your leadership capacity?

  4. Becca,
    Honestly the best leadership skills I learned was doing high rise construction. A poor leadership choice cost the jobsite time and money. Sometimes even a person’s life.

    Every construction project of excess of 100 million dollars, usually two people die on the building of the project and four people are permanently injured.

    For example, on a 200 million dollar construction project the average loss is 4 people lose their life and 8 people are permanently injured. A leader is always looking for hazards, dangers, and opportunities. Most of all, a lot of construction workers have families, those families are dependent on that wage they bring in.

    I actually learned chaplaincy skills from losing friends on the jobsite and consolidating their spouse and family. Leadership always comes with responsibilities. Leaders are the first on the job and the last to leave the job.

    One of my favorite movies on leadership is Mel Gibson in We Were Soldiers.

  5. Alana Hayes says:

    You stated: “Often in a storm or panic, everyone is trying to grab the wheel for control, when often we just need to ride out a storm and keep our current heading.”

    How can leaders use Northouse’s book on leadership to gain wisdom and practical advice, in order to effectively lead their teams through any situation, especially through the panic?

  6. Alana Hayes says:

    You stated: “Often in a storm or panic, everyone is trying to grab the wheel for control, when often we just need to ride out a storm and keep our current heading.”
    How can leaders use Northouse’s book on leadership to gain wisdom and practical advice, in order to effectively lead their teams through any situation, especially through the panic?

  7. Greg, I too was struck by the quote that Alana cited, “Often in a storm or panic, everyone is trying to grab the wheel for control, when often we just need to ride out the storm and keep our current heading.” This is so good and oh so true. There are many metaphors that go along with this but I really appreciate this idea. This would be why followers are so important to leadership. Have you had experience steering a ship that was in this type of panic and grab for power? Do you have wisdom on how to navigate it?

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