Lincoln Leadership Lessons: Self-Led Growth

June 29, 2012 — 2 Comments

Today is part three of a five part series exploring Leadership Lessons from Lincoln Applied to Christian Ministry


Lincoln was a self-grower: meaning he worked hard to grow personally and professionally so that he could read, write, speak well, and lead.

Lincoln Leadership Lessons Applied to Christian Ministry

In this way, he pushed himself to do what was needed to be done and he grew along the way.

The level of Lincoln’s accomplishment is amazing when considering his limited formal schooling. Several sources show that Lincoln probably only had as much as a year of formal schooling. One biographer comments on his ability to learn and grow: “He developed a confidence that he could dig into books for what he wanted, and would so repeatedly in the years ahead. And that confidence in his powers of understanding what was written on the page seems to have encouraged a broader self-confidence, in his judgment and his critical powers-let us call it a moral self-confidence.”[1]

Later when the Civil War started Lincoln himself admitted he knew nothing about military strategy, tactics, or how to win a war. Concurrent with his past history of digging into books to find the answer he needed, Lincoln began studying war tactics, maps of the South, and actively working with his military generals to the point that he was a well versed military man by the end of the Civil War.

In the context of Christian Ministry and Leadership I too must have self-led growth. Eighteen months of education in Christian Ministry and Leadership is not going to teach me all the things I must know to effectively serve and lead others. To be as great of a leader as Lincoln was, I will need to practice self-led growth by regularly reading books, attending conferences, and spending time with others who will stretch me to grow and develop.

As we will see next, Lincoln’s self-led growth will be the most important aspect that allows him to actively lead.

Question: How do you practice self-led growth in your professional and personal life?

                [1] William Lee Miller, Lincoln’s Virtues: An Ethical Biography (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2002), 53.

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

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  • HAIM

    HELLO !
    Incredibly it only shows that although people with disabilities are able to transcend their limitations and do things that ordinary people can not do as in the case of Lincoln.

  • Yes,
    It is amazing how people are able to transcend their abilities to do great work. Lincoln was definitely one of them considering the small amount of formal education he actually received.
    Thank you for stopping by and for commenting.