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On Being a Loving Leader By Andrea Leigh Capuyan

Becoming a Loving Leader is Our Greatest Challenge

With Jesus’ command to love God and to love others, the focus of a leader’s attention and interest changes. The best leader is not simply a strategic thinker or visionary; they are a loving leader. They move toward others to see them for who they are. They listen and care about another person’s longings, dreams, and pain. This is the vital activity that must define our leadership today. With insight and compassion, we are attuned to the good of another—to love them. Becoming a loving leader is our most challenging and most critical activity.

Receiving Love

There was a season when I recoiled inside whenever anyone said, “I love you,” because I did not believe them. I found expressions of love to be saccharine, superficial, obligatory…and empty. That skepticism and distrust translated into avoidance. I failed to notice when others offered me kindness because of their love for me. Distance blurred my vision. Withdrawal is deadly for a leader and an organization. I am grateful that change is possible. I needed to change my perspective, adopt a new posture, and shift my goals.

Trusting Love

Love is a risk because we must release our desires for control. No other activity reminds us of our limitations and fragility. Love grounds us in our humanity. In love, we can find ourselves on an uncertain path; sometimes, the ground quakes beneath us. To give and receive love is to risk vulnerability and exposure. It makes sense that we default to self-protection and self-centeredness when we face this kind of risk; apart from God, it is how we remain safe. Returning to Jesus’ command, we find an invitation – not to certainty but assurance. As we surrender our whole being to love God, God enters and empowers how we respond to others.

To love others as ourselves is to give others what we need. Our deepest needs are security, belonging, nourishment, protection, and guidance.  Our heart, mind, and soul are well-ordered pathways that steer us toward God and others’ needs.

The Law of Love

Jesus’ words are not simply an invitation. He instructs us in a fundamental law of the universe – the law of love is as powerful over us as the law of gravity. We are meant to turn to God and move toward other people. Connection with God and others is part of our hardwiring and human nature. It is part of the creation imperative that is not good for us to be alone. It is what makes isolation, neglect, and withdrawal so devastating.

I remember a car mechanic explaining the necessary and dependent connections between a steering column and tie rods. In off-road vehicles, it might be beneficial for tie rods to snap easily, and the repair will be easy enough. However, if the adjoining steering column is made of thin metal, it is predisposed to break if the tie rods give way. And that damage is exponentially worse, more extensive, and more expensive to repair. The connections between us and others are conjoined with our connection to God. We need a strong steering column to withstand the rocky terrain of relationships and love, especially when our connection with others might easily break under pressure.

Becoming Love

Through God’s presence in us, we are reshaped. We become open and inviting, seeking to cultivate intimacy in our relationships.  Our minds, hearts, and souls are now ready to enter into meaningful relationships that require patience, repentance, and sacrifice. We can now be a living presence – willing to be curious and take the time to explore more than surface issues with others. We are eager to remove masks and dismantle walls. A loving leader invites God’s love to transform them first.

Restoring Love

God’s transformation restores us to who He made us to be—His image-bearer—an integrated reflection of goodness and beauty. This allows us to move out of self-obsession, and then we can connect and attend to others with our mind, heart, and soul – our whole self. Our restored mind draws our attention to the well-being of others. Our mind invites us to pause and reflect – we can now listen to what the Spirit is prompting within us. Our mind invites us to self-knowledge and to be fully aware of what is happening within and outside us. A mind turned toward God is not avoiding others. Instead, we are preparing for deeper engagement.

Our heart becomes a tuning fork – inviting us to attune to others and, with curiosity, listen more deeply to what is happening in their life. With our hearts, we continually practice heeding the direction of the Holy Spirit so that our whole being sings harmoniously with God. And the Spirit invites our soul to a posture where we can receive other people in gratitude. We correctly see that relationships are gifts God entrusted to our care. We move toward others, embrace them, and bring them close. At the same time, we can release our demand on others. We release our expectations for perfection and our striving for control. We no longer attempt to shape others into our image. We release them because our soul delights that they are image-bearers of God.

An Invitation

This becomes the daily calling and commitment of a loving leader.

Dear leader, I can imagine your day looks similar to mine. There are tasks to be done, emails to reply to, and budgets to be addressed—all important. Today, I invite you to pause and consider how Jesus’ command to love God transforms your relationships – in all parts of your life. As we yield to a more profound love for Him, we will discover a deeper love for others. Through the Spirit’s renewal of our mind, heart, and soul, we become a loving presence for others. In these final days of Lent, we are fixed on resurrection. In Jesus Christ, we are raised out of death – we are resuscitated and revived.  We are ready for love. I pray that Jesus will gently revive you today as you faithfully lead others in love.


Andrea Leigh Capuyan serves on the Center for Steward Leader Studies board and is executive director for the LPC – a local ministry helping individuals impacted by unintended pregnancy, reproductive loss, and post-abortion recovery. Andrea also provides coaching and consultation, assisting others in experiencing abundance as a leader. She is a Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader (CCNL) with the Christian Leadership Alliance. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from York University.

Andrea Leigh Capuyan will be serving as faculty at the Outcomes Conference 2024.

Here is the session she will be leading in the Personal Leadership Track:

The Integrated Leader

Interpersonal discord often reveals deeper internal conflict. Unconscious motivations and unspoken vows create turmoil and a vicious cycle where actions betray beliefs. Learn how to break this cycle. The Holy Spirit wants to work with us to bring awareness, repair, and change. Outcomes: 1) Discover areas of formation that impact interpersonal relationships, 2) Transform hard conversations and difficult relationships through deeper awareness and curiosity, and 3) Identify places of fragmentation and imbalance where God is inviting integration.

There is still time – Register Today!


What is Christian Leadership Alliance?

Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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