Leading From The Middle


Is it possible to lead when you are not the top dog?

The answer is a resounding yes. Leadership doesn’t always start at the top, but it always manages to affect the people at the top.

The story of David and Goliath is a great example of leading from the middle. David wasn’t even enlisted in the army and yet he managed to have influence over the king and change the direction of a nation.

Here are five leadership principals that we can learn from David.

1.     Seek to Understand then be Understood

David understood Saul’s problem.  “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26) Understanding is more than intellectual knowledge. Understanding means that you feel the same emotions that your leader feels. Many people that serve in youth and or children’s ministry do not feel that their pastor understands them. The key to getting someone to understand you is for you to understand them. The key to influencing some one that out ranks you is for you to allow yourself to be influenced by them.

2.     You Will Get Shot At

As soon as David started to lead his older brother took a shot at him. (1 Samuel 17:28)  If you try to lead from the middle people are going to shoot at you. If you are getting shot at it just means that you are leading. Don’t take it personal. You need to develop thick skin and a soft heart. How did David respond to his brother? He ignored him and kept his focus on the enemy. It’s rare that the person shooting at you is the enemy.

3.     Keep Your Motives Pure

If there is any hint of self-promotion you lose all credibility.

4.     Lead by Asking Questions

Don’t act like a know it all. Learn from what David did. He was asking questions that he already knew the answer to. “He walked over to some others and asked them the same thing and received the same answer.” (1 Samuel 17:30) Be a problem solver, but don’t just come to your leader with one answer. I find that pastors like multiple-choice tests.

5.     Know when the door is Open

Pastors are busy people. Don’t try to force your idea. Wait until he is asking questions. “The David’s questions was reported to King Saul and the King sent for him” You know that the door is open when your leader is asking questions.

There you have it. Five leadership principals we can learn from David.

How do you lead from the middle? What works for you and what doesn’t work?

Wanting to dig deeper into how to lead from the middle and take your ministry to the next level?

Check out our one on one leading up coaching session with Mark, you’ll get a personalized game plan and have the opportunity to pick his brain about your children’s ministry. CHECK IT OUT HERE



3 thoughts on “Leading From The Middle

  1. Jeanne Bowser says:

    I ask questions too, but not always at the right time. I am getting better at understanding my Pastors; trying to listen more and talk less.

  2. Virginia Shunkwiler says:

    Timing…something I learned (and sometimes still am learning) the hard way. I didn’t understand why my questions, ideas or suggestions (and I always seemed to have them) made me look like I was inflexible and difficult to work with. You, Pastor Mark, helped me to see that there are certain times and places to voice those things. 🙂

  3. Jeanne Bowser says:

    Yes, I’m glad you posted this again. I was at your conference in Fla. when you taught principles of Leading from the Middle with Tony Cooke. Thanks again for sharing your wisdom from God, Mark.

Share Your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.