Dag Heward-Mills
Dag Heward-Mills

Avoid ‘the leadership of a child’

The art of copying is great because it helps you to achieve things faster.


There is also the blessing of having something done for you to see so that you never make that particular mistake. 

It is important to study leadership, understand leadership, and practice appropriate principles of leadership otherwise you may practice the leadership of a child. But that style of leadership is one you must avoid!   


The leadership of a child is characterised by not building anything.

A child is not a builder!  A child plays games and enjoys what has already been built!  If nothing has been built, he lives and abides in what there is and enjoys it, not understanding what he does not have or what he could build.  The leadership of a child is characterised by only using things but not building anything.  Woe to your nation if it is led by a child!  

And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying that he was worthy for whom he should do this:  For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. Luke 7:4-5

Many third world countries have cities and villages, which are not built up. The stark difference between western cities, towns and villages and third world cities, towns and villages is the absence of buildings, roads and other infrastructure.  


The leadership of a child is characterised by a lack of concentration.

Children have a short attention span.  When a leader does not concentrate on his core functions, he achieves nothing. This style is described as the leadership of a child.  

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; Ephesians 4:14

One of the key principles of warfare is to bring all your forces to bear on one point in order to overcome it. That is the principle of concentration!  This is why when a bridge is the target of an army, all the air, land and sea forces focus on destroying it. 

It is no wonder that some leaders are unable to achieve much because they do not concentrate on the work they have been elected to do.  Let us concentrate on our core mandate and achieve the goals we have set ourselves.


The leadership of a child is characterised by fighting over position.

Children enjoy positions that are meaningless to grown-ups. Children are happy when they are able to sit by the door of the car, have their bath first or even have their bath last.  The leader wants the title and the position but no will to do nothing to help the people.  

I had to feed you with milk and not with solid food, because you couldn’t handle anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 (NLT)


The leadership of a child is such that no one would work under him if they had a choice.

So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, what portion have we in David?  Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, o israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.” 1 Kings 12:16

I once visited a slave castle in an African coastal city.  The tour guide did a good job and took us through the horrifying dungeons that had been used to keep the captured slaves.  At the end of the tour, we came to a little door that was called “The door of no return.”  He told us how anyone who passed through that door never came back to the African soil.  He either perished at sea on a slave ship or died as a slave in America.

Then I asked a question and got an answer that astounded my entourage of African American visitors.  

“If this slave ship were to come back to this castle to take slaves to America again do you think anyone would go on it?” I emphasised, “I don’t mean a normal ship. I mean a slave ship to take you away as slaves and not as tourists or visitors.”


The tour guide answered, “The ship would be filled to capacity and even sink from overloading.  We would rush to get on board so that we could go to America as slaves.  My African American visitors could not believe their ears.”  

Why would anyone want to go to America as a slave?  Are they trying to escape from the good weather that is found in Africa?  Are they trying to escape from the richest continent, which has the most natural resources?  The answer is ‘No’.  

They are escaping from the kind of leadership that has turned the continent into a chaotic wilderness without the basic amenities found in other places.  

We pray for leaders to know who understand what they are doing.  May our prayers not be to avoid our leaders if we had a choice!


The writer is the founder of the Lighthouse Group of churches.
E-mail: [email protected]

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