Extreme Sports & Leaders

Extreme Swing“What’s the fastest you’ve ever driven?”

“Have you ever been skydiving?”

“How many times have you bungee jumped?”

These are not questions that we tend to ask potential leaders in the church, but a recent study*** shows that sensation seekers may have a great inclination to lead in significant ways.

The study included nearly 1100 extreme sports participants, asking about their civic involvement and their desire to lead. There were some very significant findings. While the participants did not seem to be more involved in civic organizations than any other broad base of people, they did report a preference to lead. “Higher sensation seeking was also significantly related to a desire and preference to lead an organization that will act as a change agent in society.” This was true for both male and female respondents.

If there is to be movement and innovation in the church, the leaders must be willing to take risks. We could choose to not think about leadership as a risk taking venture, and in fact, we could lead without taking risks. However, the kind of leadership that does not risk most likely does not have reward for the individual or for the gospel of Jesus Christ. We take precautions, but we know that movements are made when leaders are thrilled when daring to go beyond our current situation.

It sounds like the Book of Acts was full of sensation seeking leaders.

***  Wymer, Walter, Donald Self, and Carolyn Sara (Casey) Findley. “Sensation Seekers and Civic Participation: Exploring the Influence of Sensation Seeking and Gender on Intention to Lead and Volunteer.” International Journal of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Marketing 13.4 (2008): 287-300. 


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