The Call to Deny Oneself,
Take Up a Cross and Follow Jesus
Applies to How We Do Leadership!
Sometimes we call it: Spiritual Leadership (not to be reductionistic, but to point to the fact that it is a way of leadership that will happen only as a profound spiritual transformation is taking place in us.
Other times I use the longer title: The Counter-Cultural Way of Leadership (meaning it runs against prevailing models of leadership that are found in almost all the cultures of the world).
Occasionally I describe it as: The Jesus Way of Leadership (although it is found all throughout the Scripture).
If you are looking for simple, very accessible, but also profoundly insightful books on this theme, check out any of the following. You will benefit from any of them. (Skip over this indented section if you aren't interested in seeing about the books I use for this course.)
Leading With a Limp by Dan Allender (longer, but extremely important to get at the upside down nature of Christian leadership).
The Servant Leader by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges (very short and loaded with nuggets of devotional insight about this well known but little practiced way of leadership).
Leadership Divided: What Emerging Leaders Need and What You Might be Missing by Ron Carucci (which I often use in the Emerging Paradigms course, but which is really mapping out a new way of leading in our post-modern world that is so on track with the biblical worldview).
Leadership Reconsidered by Ruth Tucker (which is a very nice counter-cultural look and challenge, from a woman's perspective).
Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton (which is not so much on the counter-cultural model as much as it is on the spiritual formation ways to become the kind of leader who can actually lead this way).
The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways that Jesus is the Way by Eugene Peterson (this one is probably the more challenging, but there is almost nothing like it. It is a Jeremiad (almost) and is one of the most important books there is for biblical theology and spirituality on this subject).
THE BIG PICTURE
The curriculum I use is material I have in The Exercises Volume Five: They Had Been With Jesus. It is a study of leadership in light of a Creation - Fall - Redemption model.
LCI partner, Mike Johnson taught this material in Argentina this past year and I just did it in Chile and will be it in Paraguay in May.
We look at the nature of power and authority (which is what leadership is), the source of power and authority and the intended purpose (plus desires results) of the use of all power and authority.
We look at what power and authority were ORIGINALLY LIKE before the fall.
We then see what sin has done to power and authority.
We then see God's plan to redeem and renew power and authority.
First, through Old Testament Israel (who failed miserably and became just like all the other nations, especially in the terms of bad leadership)...
Third, through the church of Christ as we are changed by Christ and as we imitate the way of Christ and are sent out by Christ...
Fourth, through the use of key biblical metaphors that flesh out what counter-cultural leadership looks like...
It is a great course and the reflection and conversation generated are pretty profound. Even though I wrote the material, have been through the material myself several times, and have taught this material at different times - God always speaks to me about what's gone wrong in my own leadership ways and he invites me to a closer patterning of my leadership after the Way of Christ.
There were ten of us (including myself) who were in this course (two are missing in the photo).
Jamie, who is immediately to my right was my translator. I have worked with Jamie many times in the past and she is simply wonderful as a translator. She and her husband Carlos are two of the leaders in the movement in Chile. Everyone who was in the course I knew except for one new student who had this as his first course. Several of the participants have also been through the LCI Exercises/Retreats we have done and are actively implementing this model throughout their movement in Chile.
I was deeply moved by how the participants in this module engaged with the material. Day after day I had a sense that God was with us, that he was changing our desires and framing a deeper, more authentic way to understand his call to leadership. This is what we want. We came away with a much better understanding of why it is so vital, how hard it is, and how much transforming grace we need to become leaders in the way of Jesus.
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International