How do you define loyalty?

“A strong feeling of support or allegiance” is the dictionary definition.

Many people feel that loyalty is when a person adheres unquestioningly to something or someone. In church work I’ve seen this exemplified when staff and members look to their leader(s) and express support for whatever he or she wants to do. And in return, the leaders expect their staff and most members, to follow whatever they say regardless of what it is. That is loyalty to some, but not to me. To me, that can even be a betrayal of trust, the opposite of loyalty.

Loyalty is when a person supports and has allegiance to a person or principle, but is willing to ask hard questions and not be satisfied with simplistic answers. Loyalty is challenging a leader privately on his statements before (and after) he goes public. Loyalty is being willing to speak truth to power knowing it may cost you your job and career. Loyalty is being constructively critical for the benefit of the leader and of the entire organization.

That kind of loyalty helps your leader be a better leader. A leader may not like this kind of feedback but in the long run it will help him or her. After all, it is better for a leader to hear criticism from members of his own team who want the organization to succeed just as much as the leader. I challenge leaders to invite constructive feedback, not just accolades. Constant praise or at least non-criticism does not help a leader grow.

Be loyal by helping the leader be better to help the church be better through appropriate and constructive private criticism and public support.


Lead On!



  1. Refreshing truth!