Your high school English teacher might argue the case, but “leadership” is a verb, not a noun.
Why do we say this?
First, a verb defines action and action, more than anything else, defines leadership.
A verb also connects a subject with its object and leadership involves engaging people in the critical issues required in transformational change – issues involving deeply held values and beliefs.
Unlike a noun, a verb is rarely static. Its work never ends. It’s a quest more than a finished journey.
Leadership as a verb is not about who makes the decisions. In transforming churches, leadership is about the leader mobilizing others for ministry.
A verb demands energy – something happens! – and transforming churches are nothing if not energetic places. Sometimes the energy is exhilarating. Other times, it is laborious – the work of rooting out dysfunction and unhealthy patterns is tough work.
It takes energy and courage to lead well. Exercising transforming leadership generates resistance – and pain. People are afraid they will lose something that is worthwhile. They are afraid they are going to lose something they are comfortable with, and invested in.
And they might.
But it’s worth it, because leadership shares power in the service of an engaging, involving mission. It invites rather than coerces. It recognizes rather than manipulates. It engages rather than separates. it serves rather than rules.
See those active verbs? Shares…invites…recognizes…engages…serves.
They are the stuff of transforming leadership and transforming churches.