Here are some of my thoughts on starfish characteristics in the body of Christ and leadership.

When Jesus exercises His leadership through individuals in His body, this leadership has the characteristics of being multiple in nature, catalyst in style and temporary in existence. Any other form robs the head and the body and takes on a worldly, controlling, lording it over, Papal style. Unfortunately this is seen in Christian leadership throughout the body of Christ and is all too common the default setting in our lives.

Multiple in nature:

Everyone is a leader simply by their example in all that they do, either for good or bad. Sobering thought! This is lifestyle leadership and it ideally shows and encourages each other in:

1. the need of dependence on Jesus

2. the outcome of dependence on Jesus

However, besides this lifestyle leadership, the group should give room for anyone at any time to be a catalytic leader.

Catalyst in style:

Anyone may be required or called upon to lead at any one time in a specific area, as a catalyst to bring about change/movement/direction. We know that the head is the real leader of the body, but it is not uncommon for a body part to be chosen by the head to lead the body at a particular time. For example, when marching we lead off with our left foot, or our hand might lead the way forward in the dark, etc.

Temporary in existence:

A catalytic leadership serves a brief time of existence and exists solely for sake of the body, ready to be called on again in the same or another capacity.

Imagine the impact of a people who are both individually and corporately solely dependent on Jesus and who help each other grow in this dependence on him (the role of elders).


I would like to suggest that the slideshow The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (Marina Noordegraaf’s  visual adaptation of the message and content of the book “The starfish and the spider” by Ori Brafman en Rod A. Beckstrom) that I found on the internet shows some of the traits I have mentioned. I think we can learn something from the starfish on how we as a body (the Body of Christ) can function in lifestyle, only we’re even better off in that we also have an indestructible Head in Jesus who will lead us.

Make room for each other. We can all hear the voice of the Lord!

Rob Morley