Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Martyriological Model of Leadership

Jack Niewold's paper, entitled "Beyond Servant Leadership," in the new edition of the Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership (JBPL) makes a good case for a renewed and determined examination of our models of Christians Leadership in the light of the sacrifice of Christ and his early followers.

The abstract of the paper reads as follows:
I argue that the servant leadership model that has been widely adopted by Christians has not been an unmixed blessing. Servant leadership in its secular form is based on non-Christian secular and religious ideas. But even in its Christianized form it is reflective of a heterodox and distorted Christology, which it in turn helps to perpetuate. I attempt to identify the elements of Christology that modern evangelicalism and its version of servant leadership neglect. Next, I endeavor to rehabilitate these neglected aspects of Christology in order to formulate a new model of leadership that I call martyria, a biblical term that I briefly explicate. Following a short exercise where I speculate what martyria might look like today, I argue that it is within this new martyriological model of leadership that the servant motif finds its true home. The implication is that when servanthood is lifted from its matrix as adjunct to martyria and permitted to usurp a central role in leadership formation, the result is weak leadership ill-suited to the exigencies of our time. Martyrological or witness-based leadership, on the other hand, contains the role of servant, but is much better suited in critical ways to the present historical kairos.

For the full article, see:

Picture by Leon Gerome