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

Level 5 Leadership

Written by: on September 8, 2016

Level 5 Leadership

In his “extra chapter,” Jim Collins really brings some great insight into the difference of leadership between a “for profit” business and the social sector or “not for profit” organizations.[1]   I have been keenly aware over the past year that most of the “great” authors of the books that we have read are willing to address this one issue before they move on into the context of what they are proposing or researching.    Collins follows the same path about leadership.  Looking at language and then addressing it for application.

“That’s when it dawned on me, we need a new language.  The critical distinction in not between business and social, but between great and good.  We need to reject the naive

imposition of the “language of business” on the social sectors, and instead jointly

embrace a language of greatness” [2]


So what is it that separates good from great in the social sector as well as in business?


What is the change of language?


First it would be about money.  [3]


Business has the parameter of money to establish its greatness.  Social only has money as an input not as a measure of greatness.   It is interesting that social takes in money but most of them find ways to give this away.  So is it how much to you give away that makes you great?  Or is it doing what you have set out to do, thus making your mission of greater importance.   Fulfilling the mission of the organization becomes the driving force and the question did you make an impact is a change of language.    So when the measurable output changes from money to sometime immeasurable elements like, “life change” there has to be a shift in what defines greatness.   I find this incredibly refreshing that someone has finally address the difference between the two.


Second, it is about what you measure.


“It doesn’t really matter if you quantify your results.  What matters is that you rigorously assemble evidence, quantitative or qualitative, to track your progress.” [4]  There must be a way for all organizations to measure what they are doing.  Sometimes within the social sector the measurement of success or failure are based on non productive measurements.   How do I measure the success of our ministry efforts?  Is it life change.  Is it living for Christ for 15 years while making Godly choices?  Defining what is going to be measured and then what is done with the measurable is what brings greatness into focus.


Third, it is about delivery on the mission.

To synthesize what I am reading is there a way to measure what is happening within our youth ministry?  At Xtreme we have a three-fold mission.  Friends, Family, Faith.

Do students who come into Xtreme experience these three things?

Friends?   How do you measure friends?   What if you came to Xtreme and you knew no one but you keep coming back for 4 weeks in a row.  You found a group of people that would accept you and talk with you about your highs and lows of the weeks.  A group of people who would actually listen while you expressed yourself?   Are they your friends?


So how do you measure family?   Has xtreme become a second family to each student?   I guess the measure of this would be statements like this from parents, “my kids would live here if they could.”


And last but not least is faith.   How do I measure if a student has acquired faith for life?   I want them to but ultimately it is their choice and they are making choices every day.  I can lead them to the word as a guideline for their faith but I am never sure during these hormone driven years that even one thing I an teaching will stick.   So the return on this is down the road.   I talk about it being for life….   But I don’t always know.   Fortunately, I have stayed in the same location long enough to see second generation students come through our youth ministry. So in their case faith really did take hold of their parents and now they are being raised in the same environment.  But that takes years to see those kind of results.  Measuring a soul that is truly saved and redeemed is a tricky business.


So what do you do to be a level 5 leader in this setting?


I really love what the author presented.  The whole point of being a level five leader is not about business or social sector but it is about this:   “To make sure that the right decisions happen- no matter how difficult or painful for the long term greatness of the institution and the achievement of its mission, independent of consensus or popularity.”[5]


So what is the right decision?   If it is all about me than the decision is based on the premise but if it about Xtreme being the best place on the planet, then it has to be about others.   So if I want to be that level 5 leader than I must decrease and others must increase.  Humility plus great decision making is the key to all of this.   So my plan is to continue to become less to become more and to become more like Christ and less like me.





[1] Jim Collins, Good to Great and the Social Sectors:  A monograph to accompany Good to Great,  New York, Collins Publishing, 2005. 0.

[2] Ibid., 2.

[3] Ibid., 5.

[4] Ibid., 7.

[5] Ibid., 11.


About the Author


Kevin Norwood

My name is Kevin Norwood and I have been in youth ministry for the past 34 years. On February 14th, 1994, 27 years ago, we moved to Owasso OK and wow what a ride. My wife, Ann, is an RN and specializes in Clinical Documentation working from home. Maci is a my 21 year old daughter and she loves and shows horses. Her horse's name is Charlie. She is currently working with animals and loves to go on trail rides with her horse. London is my 10 year old son and he keeps me young. He absolutely loves life!! Golfing, baseball and Hawaii is his latest adventures. He skied for the first time in Colorado this year. I have started a coaching business for pastors at www.kevinnorwood.com and it is exciting the doors that God is opening. I earned my Doctorate in Leadership and Global Perspectives from George Fox on Feb 10, 2018.

12 responses to “Level 5 Leadership”

  1. Hi Kevin. I love this blog! It sounds like you enjoyed this book as much as I did. What I like most about your writing and ministry is that you have stayed in the same place to be able to lead a second generation. I hope you do appreciate how rare and completely amazing this is. Longevity and effectiveness in the same position (especially youth ministry now-a-days) for me, are two of the most blatant indications that you, my friend, are a Level 5 leader. Well Done! And God continue to bless you.

    • Kevin Norwood says:

      The reward of seeing teenagers becoming adults and then becoming fully devoted followers of Christ is incredible. I know I am not the sole reason for any of that but I believe at pivotal points I spoke something or said something that kept them on the right path. The next generation takes even more than the first to reach, touch and teach. Keep going and you to will be there, slowly but surely.


  2. Aaron Cole says:


    Great blog! I really liked how you converted the business ideology and really focused in on the non-profit perspective. I think you really raised a great question with the limits to quantify minisistry. On the subject of measuring spiritual growth/faith, what metrics do you use to do that?

    See you in London,

    • Kevin Norwood says:


      I believe students who have gone on into ministry is one of the “marks” or signs that I am looking for. The students who don’t go into the ministry but that do become a pastor’s right hand support is another way that I quantify what impact Xtreme has had.

      Seeing families come from and then continue to be a part of our local church is like the gold star though. Quite often our students have “outgrown” where they were raised and go down the street to another church. Can’t explain why but that is where life really is. Raw I know but that is kind of what I look at.


  3. Phil Goldsberry says:


    You said: “Defining what is going to be measured and then what is done with the measurable is what brings greatness into focus.” That was so powerful in light of our field of study – Leadership in Global Perspectives!

    Greatness is reflective of our Savior! He is untouched in all His ways. Should we not have the same desire to pursue His Will and His Ways?

    What are a couple of ways we can “measure” our greatness quotient?

    See you in a few.

    • Kevin Norwood says:

      Thanks for the kind words. I really believe that measurables are based on making disciples. That is what we are instructed to do and if I really help to create a true devoted follower of Jesus Christ then I have done what I have been instructed to go and do.

      I do a bunch of going and doing and not all of it is focus on this one task so finding the correct balance within my time and my efforts is what I see. I am always retooling how to make disciples. There are days I think I might have it figured out but more often than not I think I pretty well stink at it.

      Looking forward to London.


  4. Rose Anding says:

    Kevin, welcome back this semester!
    A great post with the questions…needing answers from all of us in ministry(Social Sectors) should seek answers for each one.

    when I think of greatness within the non-profit sector, the outreach ministry…behold our greatness in found in carrying out the great commandment. One of Paul’s primary personal goals and ministry objectives was to reach greater and greater levels of spiritual maturity and to see all Christians do the same.
    We are to operator our business: passion, excellence, and the economic engine The goal of evangelism is never just seeing people come to Christ. Indeed, the primary command of the Great Commission is not evangelism, but making disciples. Making disciples naturally includes evangelism, but it goes far beyond that. Again, it should be stressed that no one ever totally arrives here; there will always be room for growth, so these are things that we must ever keep in focus ( 2 Pet. 1:12-15). Today, the church has, to a very large degree, lost its distinctiveness. It’s often very hard to tell believers from unbelievers from the standpoint of their character, values, priorities, and pursuits.
    Thanks Kevin,you have given us something to chew on for a long time, while learning how to measure our greatness. Thanks Rose Maria

    • Kevin Norwood says:

      Rose, Thank you!

      It is really so true that our one directive is to makes disciples and that has truly been the focus of what I have done for the last 18 years. Before that I believe I was the rock star leader who was doing it with charisma but when I realised that I couldn’t transform anyone, that only the Holy Spirit could truly do that it changed what I do for ministry. Creating disciples is what consumes me. There are days I think I might have a pretty good handle on it but then there are days when I feel like a complete failure because one student that I never thought would walk away chooses to. Making choices and helping students make great choices is my life work at this point. Hope all is well in your soul as you have walked through so much chaos in the past months. Praying for you.


  5. Claire Appiah says:

    I love the way you can think critically about all of the readings and contextualize them with your ministry and life experiences. Your ministry has proven Collins to be correct when he says, “A great organization is one that delivers superior performance and makes a distinctive impact over a long period of time.” So, in the end it is empirical evidence that tracks your progress and performance over time. If you maintain your humility and desire to lead like Christ, you will continue to be a level 5 leader. As Collins states, “Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”

    • Kevin Norwood says:


      Thanks for your words. It is true that in ministry that longevity is the only way to measure the trend of being effective. Do people live for Christ and become disciples or not? I know it is not that simple but sometimes it is right there in front of you. Can I help others follow Christ and become a disciple maker in the process.


  6. Marc Andresen says:


    Would today’s youth grasp the concept and value of being a Level 5 leader (and person)? What are the youth-culture issues you must confront in order to hold up Level 5 leadership as a value? Would they see Level 5 in Jesus and value it?

    • Kevin Norwood says:

      That is what I have invested my life in is developing high capacity or level 5 leaders. I believe there are some things that can be taught and leadership is one of those things. Not everyone one of the youth today get it because they are lazy or apathetic but that is part of the challenge of every generation.


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