In the ConneXions Model, we define a “healthy” leader as one who is strong in 5Cs – Christ, Community, Character, Calling, and Competencies. But a “healthy” leader is not a “perfect” leader; no one will ever be perfect in any of the 5Cs. A healthy leader is one who is strong and growing in the 5Cs.
The fact that a leader is growing, by itself, is not enough. If a leader is distinctly weak in any of the 5Cs, he is, by definition, a disconnected, unhealthy leader; he is not healthy simply because he is growing – although, he may, indeed, be growing toward health. In a parallel, a physically sick man is not immediately healthy simply because his sickness is improving.
On the other hand, a leader should not be described as “healthy” simply because he is strong in all 5Cs; he needs also to be growing. Continual growth is a core and indispensable component of being healthy:
…speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Eph. 4:15-16)
All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. (Col. 1:6)
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (Col. 1:10-12)
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Col. 2:6-7)
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. (2 Thess. 1:3)
2 Peter 1:5-11 urges believers, in reference to a number of qualities, to add to what they have already become – those who are increasing in these qualities will be fruitful in the knowledge of Christ, foresighted, protected from stumbling, supplied with ongoing kingdom life and authority in union with Christ.
Paul, in Philippians 3:12-16, does not rest on what he has already attained or apprehended; he presses on for more in Christ. In fact, his depiction of maturity is of one who continually presses onward.
Knowing that we need to be growing protects us from perfectionism with all its attendant guilt and condemnation on one hand (when you know you’re not perfect), and pride and self-reliance on the other (when you think you are perfect). And it aids us in evaluating leaders. Perfection is unobtainable, and “maturity” can even be difficult to define. However, in the context of two points in time we can assess more concretely the progress of a leader (for example, we can ask it this way: “Describe three or more ways you have grown in the past six months as a result of your commitment to live in the accountability of community…”)
Thus, a healthy leader is continually growing. This is a biblical idea, and a realistic one. Before the resurrection, no one will ever be perfect. But we do all need to be continually growing.