Reviewing Leadership, a Christian Evaluation of Current Approaches
Reviewing Leadership, a Christian Evaluation of Current Approaches
The book published under the title “Reviewing Leadership, a Christian Evaluation of Current
approaches” was prepared with the intention to create a connection or junction between two
forms of leadership. On one had there is leadership as it is manifested in this day and age and on
the other hand there is the Christian approach to leadership mainly based on scriptures and
traditions that have been passed down in the church. The book is not authored with the aim of
defining what the authors think leadership is. On the contrary the book analyzes the concept of
leadership as it is manifested in secular society. This leadership is then subjected to evaluation
for the reader to better understand the points that the authors wanted to raise. The main factor
that may have motivated the authors is the fact that today’s society is constantly looking for ways
of appraising leadership in the public arena as well as in the private sector. The book takes a
multi-dimensional perspective of this concept of leadership (Banks and Ledbetter, 2004).
A lot of consideration is given to the value system that is applied to leadership as well as the
core components of what leadership is. The issue of a value system was considered to be very
important by the book’s authors because it helps to form a basis from which leadership standards
can be measured whether they exceed expectations laid or fall short of the same. The most
suitable value system in the view of the authors was Christianity and specifically the worldview.
Further motivation for this comes from the fact that leadership needs to be appraised relative to
something as it can’t be independently measured. Besides the investigation of how leadership
performs, the authors also go ahead to illustrate the different manifestations of leadership in
society as brought out by various agents (Banks and Ledbetter, 2004). Within the Christian
perspective, leadership is considered with respect to how it plays out in the church since this is
an existent group of Christians who are moderated and led by an individual or group of
individuals working in tandem towards the specific goals of the church. Given the fact that Paul
was the first leader of the greater church, having spearheaded its spread beyond Jerusalem, his
style of leadership and methods he used are given a lot of attention. How he led the individual
churches and coordinated them makes him the ideal leadership model to consider when attention
needs to be directed to the expectation for church leaders.
The manner in which this book’s topics are arranged as well as the language used make it
possible for it to be understood and put into use by people in different positions whether they are
leaders or not. Its structure and lessons are laid out in a way that can be applied to different areas
of human interest be it religious, professional or informal settings such as one’s family or
One of my most memorable personal experiences that came to mind as I was reading this book is
my time as a member of the high-school football team. The specific thing about the book that
made me think about my high-school athletics years was in the introduction where the authors
detail the roles that a manager has within the organization. The book defines the manager not in
the hierarchical sense but more from the perspective of the social role the individual given this
job plays within the organization. The book defines the manager as a person who is mainly
concerned with an interpersonal function within the group of people be it a company government
department or even the church. The connection between this definition of a manager and my time
in high-school is the team captain we had in the football team. I don’t remember him because of
the way the team used to perform but mostly because of the dedication he always demonstrated
both during practice and in the competitive games.
Like any other football team, we had an offensive department and a defensive department. He
was the fullback and this meant he had to stay behind the offensive line. During training he fixed
himself in other positions including many that disadvantaged him, so as to ensure all the team
members are communicating with each other and everyone knew what they were supposed to do.
For a long time I never understood why he never simply gave attention to the most promising
players who in my view would have won all games for us. He always stressed the importance of
communication on and off the pitch. Most of the players failed to take this to heart but now that I
have seen the definition of a manager, I feel the captain was doing a tremendous job
administrating the football team.
This book is relatively well written but there are two issues that have been on my mind since I
started reading it. These are the issue of conflict of interest on the part of the leader and the
second issue I had questions about is about individualism. I am curious to find out individualism
is something that negatively impacts leadership or actually enhances it.
From the Christian point of view, being a leader essentially means going out to serve those who
are being led. This means that many of the actions that the leader will engage in within his or
her leadership position are outward and evident to many, especially those being led. It is difficult
to accurately discern the motivation behind the leaders’ actions when they do them, especially
what can be considered to be positive. Perhaps the motivation that drives these leaders is a
personal stake they may have in the end result. Within the corporate world there are often a
series of monetary and non-monetary forms of appreciation for leaders who excel at their jobs.
At times the reward is recognition and acknowledgment from higher up in the chain of
command. In this regard I need to know if leaders can boost their efficiency by picking
something within the results of good leadership that appeals to their selfish ambitions.
Conflict of interest was another question I had and I was asking myself how one can deal with it
as a leader. Many times leaders ascend to their positions due to character traits considered
pleasant by the then hiring authority. Leaders are however human and this means that despite
their best efforts to give the best to the organization; there are instances when they will be faced
with moral dilemmas on how to go about their duties. An example is when one needs to oversee
the retrenchment of workers, some of whom are good friends with him or her. Such conflicts are
ever present in the leader’s work but I hardly found this issue covered in the book.
The insights that I have picked up from the book have given me good ideas on how I can
improve my output as a leader in the different aspects of my life. I have two main target areas I
have in mind with respect to this. They are changes in my personal life and changes at my place
In my personal life I will work towards getting the basics of leadership right so as to make me
prepared to lead whether it is in a formal position or in an informal one. This is because
leadership skills have the potential to make me give more positive contributions irrespective of
the position I am in. This means that I will be able to be a better friend, student, parent, voter and
also sibling among many other areas of personal life. The teaching Paul was given by Jesus took
place before the start of his ministry and this is why I believe leadership skills need to be a
foundation rather than something I pick up along the way.
In my professional life I also need to be deliberate about good leadership. Paul for instance
stands out because he really valued the concept of mentorship. In the same way that Jesus
mentored him, he strove to personally get involved in the lives of his so to say apprentices such
as Timothy, constantly giving them guidance and advice. I will have to ensure that I have
someone who can mentor me and I will also reciprocate it by mentoring some of those who I am
formally responsible for within the organization.
Banks, R. J., & Ledbetter, B. M. (2004). Reviewing leadership: A Christian evaluation of current
approaches. Baker Academic.