Debunking the “It Doesn’t Matter Who Gets the Credit” Myth

Like Don't move Unlike

Originally posted July 8, 2011

There is a well-known leadership axiom used in many churches that could be doing damage you’re not even aware of.

It’s simply this: “If God gets the glory it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.”

It sounds so…so…right. It sounds so noble…It even sounds somehow biblical.

But if you have embraced this in your ministry setting, I believe it could be undermining your leadership.

Oh, I understand the sentiment underlying the statement. The idea is that we don’t want our ministry cultures to be infected by a grandstanding players, vying for individual attention. I wholeheartedly agree with that.

And we all want to be a part of ministry teams intent on glorifying God.

I agree with that too.

But the idea that you, as a leader, ought to be unaware as to who keeps coming up with your team’s best ideas is ludicrous.

It REALLY DOES MATTER who gets the credit.

You need to know the relative strengths of your team players. You need to know who it is that is consistently, and disproportionately, generating the initiatives that are creating the most ‘wins’ for your organization. And for that to happen it needs to be “okay” in your culture for those top performers to be recognized.

They need to get the credit.

Jack Welch calls this ‘differentiation’. On his website, Welch puts it this way; “Companies win when their managers make a clear and meaningful distinction between top and bottom performing businesses and people.”

You might say, “Oh, but that’s corporate culture…Not ministry culture.”


Luke 10 tells us that Jesus sent out 72 followers. Did he treat them all the same? No, there was a clear group of 12 that he differentiated. And among the 12 there were three, Peter, James and John, that he further differentiated. And even among the three there was one, John, designated as “the disciple Jesus loved”.

If you have bought into the idea that “it doesn’t matter who gets the credit” step back and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I know who is generating our best ideas?
  • Do I know who is launching our most successful initiatives?
  • Do I know who is producing the most results?

If you do, give them the credit.

Your whole organization will benefit.

And God will still get the glory.

How do you recognize your top performers?


the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *