Monday, April 30, 2007

Scripture as Source for Authentic Leadership Development

Here is an interesting and helpful quote from a suprising source: “I thoroughly believe in a University education…but I believe a knowledge of the Bible without a college course is more valuable than a college course without the Bible. Everyone who has a thorough knowledge of the Bible may truly be called educated.” - Dr. William Lyon Phelps of Yale University

May we return to a deep hunger, respect and zeal to study God's Word.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Transformational Leadership Seminar at Project Bridges (Washington D.C. - April 28)

I will be presenting a seminar on Tranformational Leadership with Dr. Bramwell Osula this Saturday, April 28, at Project Bridges from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden (3600 Brightseat Road, Landover, MD 20785).

For more information see the following link:

Explore the Biblical and Christian Roots of Leadership


This is a short note to remind you of two exciting upcoming events that explore the biblical and Christian roots of Leadership.

May 8, 2007:
Biblical Perspectives in Leadership Research Roundtable

June 15-24, 2007:
Studies Abroad: In the Footsteps of St. Paul and St. Francis of Assisi
(Italy: Rome and Assisi)

We still have limited space available for both of these events, so now is the time to register online or contact me at for more information.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Authentic Christian Leadership in the Face of Evil

I discovered the testimony of the Staines family yesterday. Randy Alcorn from Eterenal Perspective Ministries ( tells about the impact this family ha had on him:

"In April 2000 I had the privilege of speaking at a JESUS Film Conference in San Diego, California. There are many things I could say about the conference, many reports that gave me goosebumps, but let me just tell you about Gladys and Esther Staines. Nanci and I and our daughters had dinner with them one night and got to know them through various conversations.

In January 1999 Gladys’s husband and sons, Esther’s father and two brothers, were martyred for Christ in India. (Graham Staines, a missionary from Australia who specialized in work with lepers, had showed the JESUS film to many, thus the connection with the JESUS Film Conference.)

On January 23rd of 1999, Graham and his two sons, Phillip (11 yrs.) and Timothy (6 yrs.) were murdered by a large mob of militant Hindus. They had gone to a Christian camp in the jungle, where Graham was ministering. At midnight the mob attacked, setting fire to the jeep in which Graham and his sons were sleeping. They were burned alive. When the fire finally cooled, they found the charred body of Graham Staines with his arms around the bodies of his sons.

Graham served the Lord in the jungles of Orissa for over 34 years. He was described as 'a wonderful, gracious, self-effacing man of God, full of faith, confidence and humility; warm-hearted, and a wonderful father.' At his funeral, the streets were thronged with masses of people—Hindus, Muslims and Christians. They were there to show respect for Graham and his family and to show their solidarity against the actions of the killers. Despite the fact that persecution of Christians has increased in recent years, the president of India came forward and said, 'that someone who spent years caring for patients of leprosy, instead of being thanked and appreciated as a role model should be done to death in this manner is... a crime that belongs to the world’s inventory of black deeds.'

The response of Gladys and Esther was on the front page of every newspaper in India (with one billion people, soon to pass China as the most populous nation on earth). Gladys said, 'I have only one message for the people of India. I’m not bitter. Neither am I angry. But I have one great desire: that each citizen of this country should establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who gave his life for their sins...let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ’s love.'

Gladys shocked nearly everyone, because people assumed she and Esther would move back to Australia or somewhere else in the west. She said no, God had called them to India, and she would not leave. (In fact, she’d been very hesitant to even come to San Diego, as she didn’t want to leave the work even for a brief trip.) She said, 'My husband and our children have sacrificed their lives for this nation; India is my home. I hope to be here and continue to serve the needy.' When asked how she felt about the murder of her dad, Esther, as a thirteen year old, said (in words that sound straight off the pages of the book of Acts), 'I praise the Lord that He found my father worthy to die for Him.'

After Gladys spoke at the conference, an Indian national leader stood up and said that the impact made by the response of Gladys and Esther has been amazingly powerful, with many Hindus coming to Christ because of their witness. The people of India have looked at this situation and asked, 'Why would a man leave his wealthy country and serve lepers in India for 34 years? Why would his wife and daughter completely forgive the killers of their family? Why would they choose to stay and serve the poor? Who is this God they believe in? Could it be that all we’ve been told about Christians has been lies? Could it be that Jesus really is the truth?' The people of India are seeing embodied in the Stains an otherworldly perspective and strength in Christ.

I look forward to meeting Graham, Timothy and Philip in the world for which we were made, the one made for us. And if I get there first, I’m putting in a request to be there for their reunion with Gladys and Esther.

The words of Hebrews 11:35-38 are appropriate not only of Graham and the boys but of Gladys and Esther. The passage speaks of the sufferings of God’s people: 'Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them.'

The world was not worthy of them....

Please pray for Gladys and Esther, as well as funding for the forty-bed leprosy hospital Gladys is hoping to be built in memory of Graham, Philip and Timothy.

If you would like to contribute toward the leprosy hospital, 100% of designated gifts to EPM will be sent directly to the Mayurbhanj Leprosy Home for the new hospital."

For more information on Randy Alcorn's ministry and the legacy of the Staines family see:

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Forum on Science, Technology and Renewal

Science and the Spirit: June 2007 - Regent University, Virginia Beach Campus
What does Christian faith have to do with modern science? How does the worldview of Christian renewal fit, if at all, with a contemporary scientific worldview? What is the relationship between renewal theology and the religion-and-science dialogue?

The Regent University School of Divinity’s Ph.D. program in Renewal Studies announces its first forum on renewal and science. With funding provided by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers has been brought together to explore the questions at the intersection of renewal Christianity and science. In conjunction with this research initiative, three public lectures will provide an opportunity for these scholars to interact more broadly with the Regent, Hampton Roads, and wider southeastern area communities on these issues.

Tuesday, June 19, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
“Screening the Spirit: Resonances between a Charismatic Epistemology and the "Supermedium" of Film”
James K. A. Smith
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Calvin College

Friday, June 22, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
“Beyond the Battlelines: Why Christians Need to Engage with Science and How We Can Do It Successfully”
Philip Clayton
Ingraham Professor, Claremont School of Theology and Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the Claremont Graduate University, and visiting professor Harvard Divinity School (2006-2007)

Thursday, June 28, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
“Divine Healing, Religious Revivals and Contemporary Pentecostalism”
Margaret Poloma
Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Akron

All events will be held at the:
Regent University Library Auditorium
1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23464

For more information: E-mail: | Phone: 757-226-4400

Women in Pentecostal-Charismatic Leadership Colloquium

The role of women in church ministry and leadership remains a major issue facing the Pentecostal/charismatic movement into the 21st century. Throughout the history of the movement, this issue has set Pentecostals apart from much of the rest of the Evangelical church while at the same time, galvanizing them. Yet though women have been vital in the movement since its inception, opportunities for leadership have gradually eroded and many highly-trained women are moving into traditions which provide them a more public role.

Leading scholars from around the world and from both within and outside the movement will join Regent faculty and Ph.D. students in a year-long colloquium designed to look at the historical struggles, contributions, current trends, and future challenges related to this issue which is vital to the future of the renewal movement.

The symposium on Women in Pentecostal/Charismatic Leadership is the first in a five-part series reflecting on major trends within this vital movement which has shaped not only American, but world Christianity in the 21st century.

Global Perspectives (June 9, 2007)

Gaston Espinosa, Ph.D. – Dr. Espinosa is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Claremont McKenna College. He is a graduate of Princeton (M.Div.), Harvard (M.Ed.), and UC Santa Barbara (Ph.D.). He served as manager of the $1.3 million Pew Charitable Trusts-funded Hispanic Churches in American Public Life (HCAPL) project, which surveyed the religious and political attitudes of 3,000 Latinos across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Espinosa is the author or co-author of four books, nineteen refereed articles, book chapters, and reviews, 54 encyclopedia entries, 76 scholarly keynotes and presentations, has made eight television and radio appearances, and has served as the director of six conferences. In 2002 he spoke at the National Hispanic Presidential Prayer Breakfast with President George Bush and Senator Joseph Lieberman. In recognition of his work, the Generations Center of Princeton named him one of the nation's 100 Positive Men of Color.
Paper title: "Third Class Soldiers: A History of Hispanic Pentecostal Women in Ministry in the United States"

Pamela M. S. Holmes, Th. D. (candidate) – Pamela Holmes is an ordained pastor who has ministered in Edmonton, Alberta, Ottawa and Trenton, Ontario. Spurred on by concerns arising from both her own and other women’s experiences, Holmes returned to school to work on an advanced degree in systematic theology focusing on the possibilities of a dialogue between feminism and Pentecostalism. Her dissertation entitled “Feminist Critical Theory of Religion and Pentecostal Spirituality and Praxis: An Examination of Select Themes” explores the relationships between ideology and power particularly as it influences and affects Pentecostal women in leadership positions. Currently she is teaching and overseeing the Field Education programme at Queen’s Theological College, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario an ecumenical, United Church of Canada college. Pamela and her husband, Tom, reside in Trenton, Ontario and are the proud parents of two sons and two daughters-in-law and one baby granddaughter.
Paper title: "Canadian Pentecostalism and its Ministering Women: A Pentecostal Feminist Critique"

Deidre Helen Crumbley, Ph.D. – Deidre Helen Crumbley is an Associate Professor of Africana Studies in Interdisciplinary Studies at North Carolina State University. Her forth coming book, Sprit, Structure and Flesh: Gender and Power in African Churches, explores the interplay of gender, power, doctrine, and ritual in African Instituted Churches (AICs). Her current research project focuses on the intersection of race, gender, migration, and religious innovation in the rise of an African American, female-founded storefront church. In addition to her terminal degree in anthropology from Northwestern University, Dr. Crumbley also holds a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. She is on the editorial board of Religion, an international and interdisciplinary journal, and she is an active member of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion.
Paper title: "Sanctified Saints – Impure Prophetesses: A Cross-Cultural Study of Gender, Purity, and Power in Two Afro-Christian Spiritual Churches"

Julie Ma - Ph.D. - Julie C. Ma served as a faculty member of Anthropology and Biblical Theology of Missions at Asia Pacific Theological Seminary, Baguio City, Philippines (1996-2006), while serving as a field missionary with her husband, Wonsuk, since 1981. She has also served as editor of Journal of Asian Mission (2003-2005), published When the Spirit Meets the Spirits (Peter Lang, 2000) and Mission Possible: Biblical Strategies for Reaching the Lost (Regnum, 2005), and edited with Wonsuk Ma, Asian Church and God's Mission (2003). She is now preparing a third book, Pentecostal Mission in Asian Context. Her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Intercultural Studies and Theology are from Fuller Theological Seminary. Currently she is serving as Research Tutor of Missiology at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.
Paper title: "Phenomenological Change of Woman's Image in Global Setting and It's Influence on the Role of Women in the Church"

Here is a link to this Colloquium:

Reclaiming the Covenant Service

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Egyptian Desert Fathers of the Fourth Century on the Values of the Christian Teacher

"The same Abba (father) said that a teacher ought to be a stranger to the desire for domination, vain-glory, and pride; one should not be able to fool him by flattery, nor blind him by gifts, nor conquer him by the stomach, nor dominate him by anger; but he should be patient, gentle and humble as far as possible; he must be tested and without partisanship, full of concern, and a lover of souls."
- Philokalia.

Friday, April 13, 2007

New Book on Charismatic Leadership in the Old Testament

There is a new book out on stages of characteristics of Charismatic Leadership in the kings of the United Kingdom of Israel. The book by Tamás Czövek, which is an edited version of a dissertation from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, is entitled "Three Seasons of Charismatic Leadership: A Literary-Critical and Theological Interpretation of the Narrative of Saul, David and Solomon." It is published by Regnum Studies in Mission (Oxford, UK: Regnum Books International, 2006)

Here is a link to Czövek's dissertation abstract:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What blinds the eyes?

How does one find happiness and fulfillment in life? How does the call to authentic leadership factor into this search? Why do I want to lead? Jesus addressed this human, existential cry for meaning with a paradoxical approach: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." (Luke 9:23-24, NIV).

The self-denial that Jesus is speaking about is the denial of the false, illusion-driven self that shadow us, self created in our quest to be the source of our lives. Thomas Merton in his great book, "The New Seeds of Contemplation" gives a great description of the nature of the false self and how it is the origin of dysfunctional, sin behavior: “All sin starts from the assumption that my false self, the self that exists only in my own egocentric desires, is the fundamental reality of life to which everything else in the universe is ordered. Thus I use up my life in the desire for pleasures and the thirst for experiences, for power, honor, knowledge, and love to cloth this false self and construct its nothingness into something objectively real. And I wind experiences around myself and cover myself with pleasures and glory like bandages in order to make myself perceptible to my self and to the world, as if I were an invisible body that could only become visible when something visible covered its surface.”

Who do we struggle to focus on the inner presence of Jesus as the source of our lives? For me, one of the better descriptions of this often misdirected focus on that which is outward and external, is found in the lyrics of Sam Phillips' great song, "Five Colors" (from Fan Dance - 2001). Even though Phillips is obviously speaking about her own struggle within the music industry, the lyrics do speak poetically about the futility of following the "false self" and the promise of the "small, forgotten road":
I don't mind if I am getting nowhere
Circling the seed of light
I've been greedy for some destination
I can't get to where are you?
Turning reverie to perfect solids
Bone and shells to hide ourselves
I tried but can't find refuge in the angle
I'll walk the mystery of the curve

Five colors blinds the eyes
See the world inside
Amazed alone

Opening my hands
closing wounds I made myself
Raise the dead and bury all my fears
Listen to the rain
And the bells that ring in my dreams
Turning time to break it's line from here
To the small, forgotten road
Where we see the concrete world disintegrating

Authentic Christian Leadership starts with the denial of the "false self" and the acceptance of the "true self" created in the Image of God through Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul gives us clear directions: "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. " (Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Power of the Small Way

In our increasingly competitive and pragmatic world we often think that is is doing large and impressive deeds that provides us with measure for effective leadership. So leadership meetings are often oppertunities for parading our strengths and insights. I am not better. During a providential discussion this morning I was reminded of the power of doing small things for the love of God. Thérèse de Lisieux (1873-1897) was a simple Christian leader that valued the power of child-like simplicity in her approach of spirituality and leadership: "Sometimes, when I read spiritual treatises, in which perfection is shown with a thousand obstacles in the way and a host of illusions round about it, my poor little mind soon grows weary, I close the learned book, which leaves my head splitting and my heart parched, and I take the Holy Scriptures. Then all seems luminous, a single word opens up infinite horizons to my soul, perfection seems easy; I see that it is enough to realize one's nothingness, and give oneself wholly, like a child, into the arms of the good God. Leaving to great souls, great minds, the fine books I cannot understand, I rejoice to be little because 'only children, and those who are like them, will be admitted to the heavenly banquet'."

For Thérèse the power of the "small way" starts in our relationships with others: "Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love." For me the "small way" includes accepting advise, admonition and rebuke from our brothers and sisters. To have the humility and grace to accept when we are wrong, the willingness to be corrected and the constant desire to learn from the those around us.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta who was deeply influenced by the "small way" of Thérèse de Lisieux once summarized this approach of leadership as follows: "Small things with big love. It is not what you do that is important, by how much love you put into it that matters."

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Anima Christi (Easter Prayer from the 14th Century)

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from You.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me.
And bid me come to You.
That with Yours saints I may praise You.
Forever and ever. Amen

Friday, April 06, 2007

Easter Poem attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153 AD)

O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown:
how pale thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish which once was bright as morn!

What thou, my Lord, has suffered was all for sinners' gain;
mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor, vouchsafe to me thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever; and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love for thee.

Easter Letter from John Michael Talbot

The following is the entire text of the 2007 Easter Letter from John Michael Talbot. JMT makes several really good points here:
Peace and Good in Christ!

We enter into Holy Week starting with Palm/Passion Sunday, going through Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and culminating with Easter Sunday. It is a journey that most of us have made many times. Yet each year the Lord has something new for us.
The word "holy" means "separated; set apart." In that spirit, this week we are called to set aside time and space to walk through the Passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, both as a gathered Church, and in a very personal way. We are to "set aside" this week as a special time of prayer and conversion.
This year I have read much in the religious press about "religion vs. spirituality," and how religion can sometimes actually hurt humanity. Some statistics show that the more religious a culture is, the higher its crime rate (especially drugs and sex), and the more warlike that culture tends to be. This is a shocking statistic. It is true that religion either brings out the best or the worst in human beings. When it works it can be wonderful. When it does not work, it can be like a bad dream.

The journey through the Passion of Christ also addresses this reality: Jesus was rejected by the most "religious" people of his time, and handed over by them to be crucified by the Roman government. Indeed, as the gospel stories unfold during the last days of Lent, we see a growing confrontation between the spirituality of Jesus and the religiosity and legalism of the Jews of that time.

This conflict gives me pause to reflect on a song I recorded on my first Christian recording in 1976 entitled "Would You Crucify Him?" I must ask myself: Would I crucify Him if He were among us today? Each of us must ponder that question during this Holy Week. Of course, Jesus founded the Church and her "religion," and bestowed upon us the Holy Spirit to guide us. Yet, there are plenty of examples from Church history of terrible popes, bishops, clergy and laity who were obviously very far from the teaching of Jesus in their own lives. So none of us are above the question.

Religion can tend to rely upon zealous fanaticism and legalism. In contrast, spirituality relies on enthusiasm in the Spirit and divine love. Simply said, religion is about law, while spirituality is about love. Religion tends to judge, while spirituality forgives. Religion, especially fundamentalism of any kind, can breed religious fanatics. Spirituality calls its followers to be wholesome and balanced radicals. While religion tends to produce fundamentalists, healthy spirituality develops solid fundamentals. There is a huge difference between the two. Most of us can tell the difference in the inner recesses of our heart, even though it is sometimes hard to verbalize. Somehow we just "know" when it is right-when it is in balance. This is the work of the Spirit within us.

How do we get to that righteous balance that is true spirituality? I personally get there through personal and communal prayer that is confirmed and strengthened by good teaching, receiving the sacraments, and dedicating myself to a life of prayer and charity. For me this takes on the expression of daily charismatic thanks and praise which fills me with positive rather than negative thoughts and emotions, and seated meditation using what I call "breath prayer," which allows me to physically, emotionally, and intellectually become still enough to allow the last vestiges of self- preoccupation to simply fall away from me. These practices give a whole new meaning to my daily life, permeating everything from doctrine to sacraments. Then doctrine, sacraments and daily life are "born again" as I am born again daily. These help me to more totally let go of my old self so that my actions in daily life slowly become more like Jesus. Though there may be initial periods of breakthrough, these practices are most often part of the normal lifetime journey toward deeper spiritual growth. For me, this is a powerful process.

After much reflection, I realize that what many others might deem a dichotomy between "religion versus spirituality," is in truth more about "vain religion" versus a "spiritually rich religion" that comes from and glorifies God. The true issue is not so much a matter of semantics or doctrine as it is a matter of the heart. It is upon the human heart that the new covenant of God is written by real relationship with and in the real Jesus.
What then is the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Remember, it is good news! We have only to look at the Beatitudes, or St. Paul's chapter on love in I Corinthians: 12, or to the fruit of the Spirit in Paul's letter to the Galatians. These scriptures describe the divine gift that every human being longs for in the depths of their heart. We are created for such God-glorifying love.
I believe in the wonderful news that the old man or woman can die with Christ on the cross, be totally forgiven our sins, and the person God really wants us to be can be raised up as a "born again" child of God through the resurrection of Jesus. The essential message of Jesus and call for Christians is nothing more complicated, but nothing less challenging.
This year we must make a decision: Are we going to settle for just being "religious," or will we really be born again, and let Jesus make us into the person God originally made us to be? Will we crucify Him by our stubborn adherence to vain religion, albeit under the name of "Christian" or "Catholic," or will we "let go and let God" by allowing Him to raise us up as a new creation-- a new man, a new woman? That process will help bring about a return to the original purpose of spiritually rich religion.
I will pray with you this year as we all make the journey through this Holy Week.

In Jesus,

John Michael Talbot

Founder, Spiritual Father and General Minister
The Brothers and Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Retrace the Footsteps of St. Paul and St. Francis of Assisi in Italy (June 15-24, 2007)

I am leading a studies abroad trip this June to Italy. If you have a passion for discovery, consider joining us for an incredible learning journey as we retrace the footsteps of the Apostle Paul and Saint Francis of Assisi.

This year's Study Abroad program, offered by the Regent University School of Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship, will take you to some of the most significant sites of our Christian history and examine, firsthand, the dynamics that changed the world .
  • Retrace the footsteps of the Apostle Paul and Saint Francis of Assisi
  • Explore key historic sites through private tours.
  • Examine biblical perspectives, archaeology, theology, religion, humanities and the arts.
  • Gain spiritual insights and a deeper understanding of biblical leadership and its contemporary applications.
  • Enjoy the program as a leisure traveler or enroll for optional graduate-level credit (M.A. or Ph.D.).

For the first few years, the Leadership Study Abroad Program concentrated on the work, ministries, and leadership of the Apostle Paul in Asia Minor and Greece, covering most of the sites of Paul's first, second and third missionary journeys. The 2007 PROGRAM brings us to Italy, where we will walk in the Footsteps of the Apostle Paul and Saint Francis of Assisi.

Here is a link to the website of this trip:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Inaugural Biblical Perspectives in Leadership Research Roundtable

The School of Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship will host the inaugural Biblical Perspectives in Leadership Research Roundtable on May 8, 2007 at The Founders Inn & Spa located on campus of Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA.

The Biblical Perspectives in Leadership Research Roundtable aims to provide a discussion and research forum for scholars, researchers, practitioners and ministers that work in leadership from a biblical perspective.

Roundtable Info
Date: May 8, 2007
At: Founders Inn & Spa
Online Registration >>

About this Roundtable
Representing the multidisciplinary fields of biblical, social-science, historical and leadership studies, the Biblical Perspectives in Leadership Research Roundtable hopes to explore, engage and extend the field of knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon of leadership as found within the contexts of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.

The following are a few of the topics that the Biblical Perspectives in Leadership Research Roundtable hopes to explore:

  • The use of exegetical methods to explore leadership

  • The relationship between scripture, faith, theology and leadership

  • Models of biblical spirituality and leadership

  • Models of tribal and other forms of leadership in the Pentateuch

  • Models of ruling, leadership, governing and organizational structures in the history of early Israel

  • Leadership values in the wisdom writings of the Hebrew scriptures

  • The relationship between prophecy and contextual leadership in the prophetic material of the Hebrew scriptures

  • Comparative studies of leaders and leadership models across the Hebrew and Christian scriptures

  • Historical studies of leaders in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures
  • Group dynamics in the Gospels

  • Historical Jesus and leadership research

  • Pauline perspectives in leadership

  • Organizational design and dynamics in the early faith communities of the Christian scriptures

  • Follower-leader relationships in the Christian scriptures

  • Organizational and leadership values in the Christian scriptures

  • Models of spiritual and leadership formation in the Christian scriptures

  • Models of future studies and strategic foresight in the apocalyptic material of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures

To stimulate scholarly debate and a free flow of ideas, the proceedings from the Biblical Perspectives in Leadership Research Roundtable will be posted online and papers of high quality will be considered for the Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership (JBPL).

Monday, April 02, 2007

Leadership and Boundaries

One of the most important tasks of leaders is to define boundaries in which followers and organizations can live and operate. There is an increasing misconception that "no-boundaries" are the stuff of cutting-edge leadership, thus leaders are no longer held accountable to any standard of truth, integrity or holiness. David Steindl-Rast offers this perspective: "Our lives have many structures - our jobs, our families - because it's only within limits that anything meaningful can happen. If all possibilities were available at all moments, if there were no limits, no boundaries, no definitions, we'd be lost. People mistakenly think that happiness comes from removing all limits."
The early Christian Monastic Leaders provided boundaries for their followers by constructing "rules of life" based on the Scriptures. These ancient spiritual rules might look like a long list of requirements and legalism to the casual reader, but their real purpose and vitality lied in providing a moral context in which authentic Christian Leadership could occur. Henri Nouwen comments on the power of these rules:"Instead of giving us methods to control, direct, and determine our own life, a spiritual rule wants to offer an open and free space within and among us where God can touch us with His loving presence. It wants to make it possible for us not so much to find God as to be found by God, not so much to love God as be loved by God." In our search for authentic Christian Leadership we might have to think and consider what a spiritual rule of Christian leadership could look like.
Further Reading:
Steindl-Rast, D. (1995). The Music of Silence. San Francisco: Harper.
Nouwen, H. (1986). Rule for a New Brother. London: Darton, Longman and Todd.