What is distinctly Christian about being a Christian leader?
How do my Christian convictions shape the way that I lead?
It is the end — the goal, the purpose, the telos — that shapes Christian leadership and makes it most distinctively Christian. Our end is to cultivate thriving communities that bear witness to the inbreaking reign of God that Jesus announces and embodies in all that we do and are.
Becoming a Christ-shaped leader requires at the deepest level that we cultivate and are shaped by a background that influences everything that we do. This background shapes the way Christians experience failure and success and helps cultivate resilience. We believe this should shape the way we think about our lives, our institutions and the way we lead our institutions.
How can I be renewed in the midst of great needs, declining resources and uncertainty about what comes next?
Sustained renewal requires participation in a community that shares a common vision. Christians have a vision, described in Scripture, of God’s reign. As the story of Acts shows, it takes considerable effort from the community to keep the end of God’s reign before us.
In our educational programs, participants are invited into a pattern of life that includes worship, study, rest and fellowship. We seek to embody Christian practices such as hospitality. We invite participants to imagine how to adjust their typical pattern of work to include more of these elements.
When resources of time and money are scarce, it is very difficult to reach out and join or renew relationships. Yet that is exactly what is required.
What can I do to develop as a leader and to develop others as leaders?
Leading well involves a number of mindsets, activities and traits, including improvisation, integrative thinking, having an “opposable mind” and employing adaptive leadership. These are concepts and underlie all of our offerings.
In addition, assessment tools that researchers have developed and tested for validity can provide very helpful feedback. These instruments have been developed using psychological theory and most often present information in business language. Even with these limitations, such assessments provide the most reliable anonymous feedback.
What should I be reading?
The deeper question isn’t just what a leader should read — it’s how.
Reading widely — in a variety of different disciplines, not all Christian — can help institutional leaders engage their imaginations more fully in their work. Border crossing — both geographical and intellectual — is one way for leaders to move beyond the narrow confines of their own world to understand the larger context of a culture.
How can you do that? Read great literature, such as the novels of Marilynne Robinson and the poetry of Wendell Berry. Read across the disciplines of business in journals, such as Harvard Business Review and the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and in the sciences and engineering.
Faith & Leadership publishes a daily news digest that collects items from across the web that will help Christian leaders read widely and do their work. Faith & Leadership’s original content explores more directly the intersections of these readings and the work of Christian institutions.
We also encourage Christian leaders to read Scripture in a particular way — that is, slowly and with sustained attention and in community. This is key to forming a scriptural imagination, which is needed to live scripturally.