I find myself saying this phrase often.  I think one of the most challenging things about leadership is that most times things are not clearly black and white… answers are not always obvious… making decisions is not easy.  If they were, leadership would be easy and, dare I say, perhaps not even necessary.

Leadership is grey… sometimes many shades of grey.

As a leader at a very fast growing church I have experienced some very grey seasons.  I don’t mean grey as in gloomy, dreary or sad.  I mean grey as in complex, unclear, layered, not black and white.  I’ve spent the last year trying to help our team turn the corner from being a church with another campus to truly being a multi-campus church.  This has required a significant shift in our mindset, our structure, our communication, our strategy and more.  Many times of late, one of our ministry leaders will come to me with a question about how to handle a decision that affects all of our campuses and it will cause me to pause and sort through the layers of grey.  Some of these decisions are immediately clear.  Most times they are complicated and require the work of leading through the layers of grey.

All of this greyness has caused me to ponder this element of leadership that I refer to as “leading in shades of grey”.

Good leaders lead through the grey. They don’t get lost in it.  They don’t get bogged down by it.  They push through it to find clarity.

Good leaders give hope to a grey existence. They offer hope through grey circumstances.  They are aware of how unsettling greyness is to the team and they continue to motivate and encourage them through the process.

Deciphering the grey is not an exact science.  It’s as easy to get wrong as it is to get right… and you’re not always going to get it right.  It takes guts, courage, intuition, discernment, and prayer.  It takes energy, patience, hope and determination.  Leaders step up to help make decisions and to guide the way, especially when things are messy…

…and grey.

Are you facing some grey areas in your leadership?  What can you do to push through the grey?


Jenni Catron serves as the Executive Director of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN where she leads a staff of 30 at three campuses.  She loves a fabulous cup of tea, great books, learning the game of tennis and hanging out with her husband and border collie.  She’s passionate about leadership and equipping others to lead well.

Jenni Catron
Executive Director
Cross Point Church



Jason Curlee · 11 Feb ’10 at 11:03 pm

Great post Jenni…and right on…leadership is really messy and God dwells right in the middle of all of it!!!

Leah Stockholm · 11 Feb ’10 at 11:27 pm

You really hit a lot of spots in my life, it seems as the more I try to really start to step into leadership, the more Grey areas I hit along the way. It can be so frustrating and also confusing. But reading this really has helped me and kinda made me re4alize that no mater what we have to push through the Grey in order to reach our full potential as leaders and also to be a part of a greater purpose!

Thank you!

Christoper Hopper · 12 Feb ’10 at 7:15 pm

I know I’m not supposed to be commenting, but I just couldn’t help myself. This is SO true, Jenni. And coming from a seasoned vet like you, means all the more. Not only does it encourage those of us leading to keep going, but it reminds me to look at my leaders with similar eyes. Wow, do they have to deal with a lot of grey or what?! It gives me more grace when serving them, as I hope those I’m leading will with me. Thanks for being such a great guest poster!

OK…I’m dome now. 😉 ch:

David · 13 Feb ’10 at 2:30 am

Jenni, this post makes it clear just how unclear leadership is. Thank you for summarising my life!

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