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Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

Hi there! I'm Kimberly Yow, a passionate journalist with a deep love for alternative rock. Combining my two passions, I've found my dream job. Join me on this exciting journey as I explore the world of journalism and rock music.

Yes, Charisma Has a Place in the Pulpit

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But let’s not mistake it for calling.

Charisma has fallen on hard times in the church. Or at least some of us have become suspicious of it. The cracks have been showing for a while. Nine years ago, long before Oxford University Press crowned rizz (slang for the kind of charisma that inspires romantic attraction) its 2023 word of the year, Rick Warren observed, “Charisma has absolutely nothing to do with leadership.”

But we all know that it does, don’t we?

We like leaders with dynamic personalities. We are drawn to them, in the church and in politics. For good or ill, charisma is a factor. The charismatic leader is a common feature of the origin stories of many Christian (and non-Christian) organizations and denominations. Many movements trace their beginnings to a larger-than-life personality with a great ambition for God whose effectiveness seems to be due as much to personality as to God’s call.

For example, Scripture says that Saul, Israel’s first king, was “as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else” (1 Sam. 9:2). The impression made by Saul’s physical appearance suggested that he would be an ideal king.

Subsequent experience proved otherwise. When the prophet Samuel looked for Saul’s successor among the sons of Jesse, the Lord warned him not to be swayed by such things. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at,” he said. “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).

However, when David was brought before him, 1 Samuel 16:12 notes that he was “glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.”

Charisma, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. …

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