Thursday, September 25, 2008

Leadership Conversion

Louise Kretzschmar approaches the study of Christian Leadership from the perspective of a Christian ethicists and philosopher. Set in the context of the moral failures of apartheid leaders in South Africa, Kretzschmar process description of leadership “conversion” that could produce “moral leadership.” Building in the insights of Franciscan spirituality, Kretzschmar invites discussion concerning five distinct elements in the moral formation of Christian leaders:
· Intellectual Conversion. Christian Leaders “constantly rethink or evaluate” their own and others “moral framework” and this involves the disciplines of “self-awareness and critique” in order to develop the virtue of prudence (correct judgment).
· Affective Conversion. Christian Leaders have a high regard for othokardia (right heartedness towards God). Leaders consider the ultimate location of their affections and adopt ascetic disciplines (such as the traditional Monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience) to guide their hearts back to God.
· Volitional Conversion. Christian Leaders seek to have a “redeemed human will” that moves from willfulness (identified as arrogant self-sufficiency) to willingness (described as flexible receptivity).
· Relational Conversion. A Christian Leader’s “moral conscience” is formed and challenged in community. Christian Leaders engage in “moral relational power” that brings personal and communal transformation to perceptions and applications of leadership.
· Moral Action. The intellectual, affective, volitional and relational conversions of Christian Leaders result in “moral action” that facilitates the wider conversion of the world in which these leaders operate.

Kretzschmar’s work provides an erudite base for the inclusion of moral theology and spiritual formational studies to the ongoing quest to define Christian Leadership. It deepens the discussion from mere concern of leadership effectiveness to the moral dimensions of personal and communal leadership.

Kretzschmar, L. (2002). Authentic Christian Leadership and Spiritual Formation in Africa. Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, 113:41-60.
Kretzschmar, L. (2007). The Formation of Moral Leaders in South Africa: A Christian-Ethical Analysis of Some Essential Elements. Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, 128:18-36.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Merton on Self-knowledge and Knowing God

Do you want to know God? Then learn to understand the weaknesses and imperfections of [others]. But how can you understand the weaknesses of others unless you understand your own? And how can you see the meaning of your own limitations until you have received mercy from God, by which you know yourself and Him? It is not sufficient to forgive others: we must forgive them with humility and compassion. If we forgive them without humility, our forgiveness is a mockery: it presupposes that we are better than they.

Thomas Merton. No Man Is An Island. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1955: 163.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Richard Foster on Leadership

Leadership is an act of submission to God. To be a leader means listening to all kinds of people and situations. Out of that listening, we are hoping to discern the mind of God as best we can. This is the price of leadership—it's an act of sacrifice. So leadership is part and parcel of the work of submission to God.

I could be perfectly happy to go up into those mountains and disappear. But at least up to this point, that has not been my lot. There is a sense of call to take leadership roles. You're serving people and submitting to God as best you can.

We all learn submission because we all have "bosses," whether we're presidents of companies or not. The easiest place to learn it is in family. Paul's words were, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ"—there is subordination, husband and wife, parent and child. We're doing that all of the time, looking to the needs of our spouse or our children, even though we have to make certain kinds of decisions they may not like. It's an act of submission to help.

I think of Pope Gregory the Great. He wanted the cloister. He wanted to pray and study, and yet he was thrust into this administrative job, and he submitted to that. And in that submission, he became a great leader. You could say that the only person who is safe to lead is the person who is free to submit.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Journal in Strategic Leadership

Strategic leadership is at the forefront of the newest online journal published by Regent University's School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship (GLE).

Launched in early September, the Journal of Strategic Leadership (JSL) is led by the school's dean, Dr. Bruce E. Winston, and provides a forum for leadership practitioners and students around the world—publishing articles that address applied topics of strategic leadership at all levels within a variety of industries and organizations. The published work reflects the top papers submitted by Doctor of Strategic Leadership students and graduates.

"We believe that students studying strategic leadership have something of value to offer the leadership academy and have produced the JSL as a logical outcome of this belief," said Dr. Winston. To stimulate scholarly debate and a free flow of ideas, JSL is published in electronic format and provides public access to all issues free of charge.

To learn more about the Journal of Strategic Leadership and to register for a free subscription, visit