From the Second Chair

Wendy Douglas —  August 2, 2011

I am a second chair leader.

When someone first mentioned this to me, I immediately went back to my band days in school. If you were second chair in band, that meant that there had been a competition and you had lost your chance at first chair. Everyone’s goal was to be first chair and there was a weekly competition for it. That isn’t this kind of second chair experience.

According to Mike Bonem and Roger Patterson, authors of the book Leading from the Second Chair, the definition of a second chair leader is “a person in a subordinate role whose influence with others adds value throughout an organization.”

They go on to say, “This definition highlights a number of factors that every second chair must recognize.

A second chair leader is:

  •  Subordinatenot the lead leader, but a follower and a leader.
  • A person of influencehis or her leadership is not based primarily on position.
  • Adding value throughout the organizationhe or she has the big picture of the ministry in mind, and is repeatedly willing to do what it takes to strengthen the larger organization.

Effective second chair leaders think, lead, and shepherd beyond the parameters of their own ministry. They think of the whole, care for the whole, and seek to enhance the whole. Second chair leaders are expected to be bold initiators and faithful followers, creative thinkers and detailed implementers. The ongoing challenge is to do a wide variety of tasks and do them well.”

So what does being second chair look like for me today?

I see myself as serving both our Children’s Pastor and our team along with the families of our church. Every Children’s Pastor with a vision needs a team to help make that vision a reality and I am a part of that team. I do that leading from the second chair.

Wendy Douglas

Posts Twitter Facebook

Wendy is married to a warrior for the last 18 years and Mom to three boys. She volunteers in KidzPlace at The Gathering Church in Sevierville, TN. She reads almost anything she can get her hands on. In addition to contributing to Kidmin1124, she maintains her own blog called Saved Sister at

3 responses to From the Second Chair

  1. Great post Wendy. Every CM staffer should read this (including Children’s Pastors, because we play second chair to our Senior Pastor).

  2. Wendy~ I loved this post. Not every leader leads the same way, and it’s so important to understand this. And, for the record…you are an AMAZING leader…whatever chair you’re in! THANK YOU!

  3. Thanks Jeff and Katie!