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.