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Food for the Soul

Food for the Soul, devotionals to help you in your busy life, written by NEWIM board members and staff. 

Owning Responsibility as a Leader

Kim Johnson

  • (Adapted from

"And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord" (2 Chronicles 20:3-4).

When Jehoshaphat became king of Judah, he assumed responsibility – the duty and obligation to lead the people and manage the resources of the nation. There were challenges of course. The biggest came when an army comprised of warriors from three countries made plans to attack Judah.  As the leader of that nation, Jehoshaphat had a choice. He could run, he could hide or he could show up – and show up he did.

As leaders, we face this same challenge, sometimes on a daily basis. It can come from anywhere and from just about anyone, even from someone in our inner circle. The test is not found so much in the trial, but in how we respond and what we allow to result from it. There are things that can sometimes be out of our control, but we choose how we react when faced with unpleasant issues. 

How we elect to respond in the face of a crisis says much about our leadership. Accepting the responsibility of being a leader is the one thing a leader cannot delegate. We can share the vision, assign duties, authorize decisions, and manage volunteers. When it comes to the bottom line, however, the “buck stops here.” It is ours to own and the excellence of our leadership depends upon our willingness to continue to step up. It doesn’t matter if we stand alone, we still must stand.

  • Dropouts:        Leaders who give up and fail to take responsibility
  • Cop-outs:        Leaders who make excuses for why they are not responsible
  • Hold-outs:       Leaders who waiver too long to take responsibility
  • All-outs:         Leaders who own the responsibility and take action (Jehoshaphat).

                                                                  The Maxwell Leadership Bible