15: Faith and Leadership: Playing God

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The power in leadership lies in the ability to create, build, and empower. Leadership neither destroys nor oppresses. In this episode, we hope to shift the mindset about power in leadership.

0:27 How does my faith help my leadership?

  • Our goal in this series is to help us integrate our faith with our leadership. 
  • You may want to go back and listen to the first episode where we talked about the Four Most Common Mistakes of Christian leaders. 

1:55 Our wrong view of power

  • Leadership is all about ability, strength, and power. And these are words that we need to redeem and these are words that we need to see from a Christian perspective.
  • We often see these words in a negative sense. There is an unintegrated sense of power which means that our faith is disconnected with our leadership.


  1. We become ashamed and apologetic about the use of power. Even with the strengths and giftings that we have, we are wary about using them.
  2. False humility. We cannot accept compliments and we can’t tell the truth about whether something was good or bad.
  3. Mitigated speech.
  4. Lack of decisiveness: “You’re not a leader, you’re a moderator.”
  5. I use Christianity for being nice but I will get my leadership from other sources.

11:37 How God uses power and how we can use the power He has given us

  • Book Recommendation: Playing God by Andy Crouch
  • “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1   
  • “Power is the ability to make something of the world…Here I am borrowing unabashedly, just as I did in an earlier book, from the journalist Ken Myers, whose simple and profound definition of culture will serve us so well: culture is what human beings make of the world, in both senses—the stuff we make from the raw material of nature, but also the meaning we make…Power is simply (and not so simply) the ability to participate in that stuff-making, sense-making process that is the most distinctive thing that human beings do.” (Crouch, Andy. Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power (p. 17). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition)
  • God has no problem in using power.

14:33 First truth about using power

1. Power is for creation, not destruction.                        

  • “Let there be” does not have to assert power, it assumes it. It does not have to impose power, it indwells it…. when the words let there be ring through the universe, they accomplish very literally what they describe—the creation of being where there was none before.” (Crouch, Andy. Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power)
  • God’s power is creative, calm and controlled as opposed to destructive, agitated and out of control. 
  • We see examples of power being used for destruction: weaponry, fighting people, hurting people, putting people down. It’s not only bad, but it’s inferior. It’s a substandard power. It’s a show of power with a heart of weakness. It’s insecurity. It’s a flex. 

19: 25 Second truth about using power

2. Power is for the flourishing of others, not for oppression. 

  • “Power is for flourishing. This means power is a gift worth asking for, seeking and—should we receive it—stewarding.” (Crouch, Andy. Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power)
  • Power is a gift worth asking for. Have we thought to ask God for it? Or are we ashamed to ask God for it?
  • Read Genesis 1:11, 20, 22, and 24 — True power creates the space for people to flourish. It’s not threatened by the lack of order or the wildness.
  • “The Creator is not seeking a world full of pets, individually domesticated animals bred to be attentive to their human masters. He delights in wildness. Swarming and teeming are part of what makes the world good—the overflow and excess of life. All of this gives greater glory to God, who has breathed into existence the vast spaces of earth, sky, and sea where these creatures can teem, than would a meticulously tended back yard. The Creator loves teeming.” (Crouch, Andy. Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power)
  • Part of flourishing is empowering others to lead. That’s what God did. He didn’t just make robots. He made humans with their own abilities to participate in His creation.
  • How are we using our power to empower others?

25:57 Losing power vs Multiplying power

  • Sometimes we think that when we empower others, we are giving away our power. But that’s not what God did. Did God give any of His power away when He gave it to us? No. It just created more people who would trust Him and be dependent on His power. 
  • “Yet ‘let there be’ also suggests a multiplication of power… New beings come into existence, each with their own capabilities, potential and sphere of influence. Indeed, “Let there be” bequeaths power to others, making room for more power. By saying “Let there be,” the Creator God makes room for more being, for more agents who could utter their own “let it be.” (Crouch, Andy. Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power)
  • Why would we be apologetic for power when God is the One who gives it? And we should know how to use it.
  • When we give power away, we actually multiply it. We don’t lose it. 

30:00 Develop our power

  • God has no problem with us looking to increase in our leadership for the right reasons. He Himself gave that mandate.
  • And what are they commanded to do? To develop their own power: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28). The command is to teem and become agents of teeming. These image bearers will become the kind of persons who can themselves say “Let there be” and “Let us make,” not just deputies or functionaries in a heavenly bureaucracy of command and control, but agents of creativity in a universe designed to create more and more power.” (Crouch, Andy. Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power)
  • As a leader, our goal is to develop our team and grow our team. We release them, we empower them, we set them loose and we accomplish our mission together. 
  • Power has a temptation… An allure… a dizzying, intoxicating quality… It can be abused… And it’s this response to the abuse that makes us resist it. Lord Acton’s famous statement, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is true especially in the political sense. But it’s not true in every sense. 
  • Why are the vast majority of parents not corrupted by their tremendous power? Because they are overtaken by love…. It is an almost precise inversion of Lord Acton’s observation: the more power we have over our children, the more we are willing to sacrifice for them. Love transfigures power. Absolute love transfigures absolute power. And power transfigured by love is the power that made and saves the world.” (Crouch, Andy. Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power)

35:35 Third truth about using power

3. Power must be tempered by love.

  • The advantage of a Christian leader, someone who has faith in God, is you don’t automatically view power as destructive.
  • “Power is nothing—worse than nothing—without love. But love without power is less than it was meant to be. Love without the capacity to make something of the world, without the ability to respond to and make room for the beloved’s flourishing, is frustrated love. This is why the love that is the heartbeat of the Christian story—the Father’s love for the Son and, through the Son, for the world—is not simply a sentimental feeling or a distant, ethereal theological truth, but has been signed and sealed by the most audacious act of true power in the history of the world, the resurrection of the Son from the dead.” (Crouch, Andy. Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power) 
  • As Christians, we look at the cross, we look at the resurrection, we look at the empty tomb, and we should see absolute power and absolute love combined. 


  1. Thank God for your strength, ability, and power. 
    • It comes from him.
    • Your skill, talent, etc.
  2. Use it to serve others.
    • Help them flourish
    • Help them discover their own power.
  3. Cultivate your strength, ability, and power.
    • Learn how to grow what God has given you. 

The ENC Leadership Podcast is hosted by Joseph Bonifacio.

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