The Problem With the Combination of Talent and Charisma

Talent and charisma
You can have talent and charisma as a preacher, but is your character ready? (Flickr )

Talent and charisma aren't bad. They're good. They're gifts to be stewarded.

In the Bible, Joseph and Daniel are two striking examples of both attributes and how God uses them to put us in places of expanding influence. The problem, however, with both talent and charisma is that they expand our influence whether our character is ready for it or not.

"Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." (1 Tim. 4:16, MEV).

Joseph and Daniel were prepared, even through adversity, for the platforms to which God led them. Other leaders have not been so well prepared.

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Every time we hear of another moral failure of someone we respected in leadership, a range of thoughts go through our minds:

  • This didn't have to happen! What a waste!
  • Those poor, innocent and unknowing spouses!
  • The children caught in the crossfire!
  • The church now dealing with the aftermath of a scandal!
  • The reproach upon the kingdom!
  • The ammunition we give to the naysayers!

At the end of the day, such stories should drive us to our knees in both repentance and in prayer for protection and purity. Satan is on the prowl and wants to devour everyone he possibly can, especially those who have talent, charisma and the influence they purchase.

The problem with talent and charisma isn't that they are negative attributes. It's that they can create a stage presence for which we aren't ready spiritually. They fall short without character and integrity.

So if you're talented, if you're charismatic, if your audience is growing, heed this: You need more! You need deep roots in the form of a solid and growing relationship with God, a sincere humility, transparent accountability, safeguards to protect you and your loved ones, and a determination to be a person of integrity.

The word integrity comes from the same root as the mathematical term integer, which is a whole number, not a fraction. In other words, integrity means being one, undivided individual. Integrity excludes double living.

The problem with talent and charisma is that they fool us into thinking we're important and invincible. So make sure you have the character to withstand the pressure that talent and charisma bring.

Brandon Cox has been a pastor since he was 19 and has served churches, large and small, including serving as a pastor at Saddleback Church. He is planting a purpose driven church in northwest Arkansas. He also serves as editor of and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox, and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders. He's also the author of Rewired: Using Technology to Share God's Love. Brandon also coaches pastors and leaders in partnership with and is happy to have a conversation about how coaching can help you get unstuck and grow forward! Reach out to him here.

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