Leading From the Second Chair

Today’s post comes from friend and fellow leader Trisha Davis. Thoughts and insights on leading from the Second Chair.

I am so blessed and excited to be a guest writer on Jenni’s blog today! Jenni and I met 8 years ago when my husband Justin was on staff at the church she attended. We have recently reconnected as my husband took a job at Cross Point Church where Jenni serves as the Executive Director.

One thing that Jenni and I have in common is our passion for leadership. Each time we get together we enjoy deep discussions about how to be better leaders, how to help others be better leaders and what leaders are currently impacting our lives.

So you may be wondering what do I do for a living? What is my title…. Are you ready? Well sorry to disappoint you but I don’t have a title. I have always led from the SECOND CHAIR. Let me further explain. Justin has been a pastor for 13 yrs (you can read our story HERE). I have not only been his #2 leader at certain times in ministry, I have played that role for many other leaders without a title or pay. I have had offers and opportunities but for the past 13 years my primary focus has been being a full-time stay-at-home mom to my three awesome boys and a part-time/full-time leader from the second chair. So I am sure your are asking yourself… “then what does this chick know about leadership?”

Webster’s defines a leader as “Someone who leads.” Leadership is not defined by a title or the number of people you are leading. I have met many people that have big dreams or feel as if they don’t have a big enough dream that are either waiting for a title or a belief in themselves to make those dreams a reality. While they wait, they see others who are less gifted to lead take off in pursuit of their dreams. Often, frustration and defeat sets in and the once big dream has now turned into bitterness and resentment. While I don’t believe that all of us are wired to be CEOs or Executive Directors, I do believe that God has given all of us the gift to lead from the second chair!

Leading from the second chair for me has been birthed from two passions and three principles. I have a passion to help people find their way back to God AND to help them discover God’s purpose and plan for their lives. In order to make these passions a reality from the second chair, I have lived by these three principles:

  1. Leadership is about influence and using that influence to spur others toward a common goal.
  2. Leading from the second chair eventually requires you to learn to lead from the first chair or to submit to someone else’s leadership.
  3. A GOOD leader leads… a GREAT leader teaches others to lead.

I have had the privilege to see first hand three women who lead from the second chair although there are many more I could write about! Angie has taken her pain of loss and grief and turned into a website and soon to be book. Although she is not counseling every person that’s on a similar journey, from the second chair she has provided encouragement, affirmation and hope! She and her best friend  Jessica also started a book club to provide further encouragement! My dear friend Brandi’s second chair leadership has MANY different facets, but one of my favorites is her blog. She uses her second chair to inspire, encourage and just make people laugh, that yes, even pastors’ families aren’t perfect.

Any further insights or experience you have had in leading from the second chair?

You may also like


  • Jessica September 23, 2009  

    Dreat Blog! So glad to have you in Nashville 🙂

  • Pingback: Leading from the Second Chair | Refine Us September 23, 2009  
  • Diane (Mom) September 24, 2009  

    Trish, your blog posting is a wonderful insight to leadership, humility and wisdom. What you wrote touched my spirit and my soul — especially the part about waiting for a title to make our dreams a reality. Harboring resentment and anger certainly robs us of our energy and joy. Many a times, as you know, I struggle with this. You encourage us. You inspire us. Thank you. I am so proud of you 😉