In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon explained there is nothing new under the sun, so it should not surprise anyone that many times that which appears to be new was conceived earlier. As the body of knowledge enlarges in a particular discipline, that expansion sometimes bumps into something previously revealed. Great men and women from times past have provided a very rich source of material for the development of theology of leadership. These individuals applied godly principles to form deep, yet practical theologies, sometimes even during the darkest periods of human history. Two of these individuals were Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Mother Teresa, whose theologies of leadership contributed greatly to shaping the concept of God-centered leadership. Their efforts resonate throughout the church today, and impact church leaders around the world.
The Christian Leaders’ Theologies of Leadership Discussed
The theology of leadership gleaned from each of these leaders bears the mark of intense faith exercised under drastic conditions. The context in which Dietrich Bonhoeffer developed his theological framework was the oppressive cloud of National Socialism in Nazi Germany (Nullens, 2013). Mother Teresa, on the other hand, developed her theology of leadership and servanthood in the streets Calcutta, serving the poorest of humanity. Both examples provided an environment that called for an effective faith and a practical theology.
Theological reflection, according to Bonhoeffer, must be much more than an academic exercise, and should directly impact the church (Vanden Berg, 2009). The essence of true Christianity, according to Bonhoeffer, rests in the necessary connection between truth and goodness (...
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... leadership: Multiple levels of being as context for effective leadership. Human Relations, 62(11), 1667-1696. doi:10.1177/0018726709346380
Himes, B. (2011). Discipleship as theological praxis: Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a resource for educational ministry. Christian Education Journal, 8(2), 263-277.
LaPierre, D. (1997). Mother Teresa and the leprosy of the soul. New Perspectives Quarterly, 14(4), 35.
Nullens, P. (2013). Towards a spirituality of public leadership: Engaging Dietrich Bonhoeffer. International Journal Of Public Theology, 7(1), 91-113. doi:10.1163/15697320-12341268
Poplin, M. (1999). The global classroom of the 21st century: Lessons from Mother Teresa and imperatives from Columbine. Educational Horizons, 78(1), 30-38.
Vanden Berg, M. (2009). Bonhoeffer's discipleship: Theology for the purpose of Christian formation. Calvin Theological Journal, 44, 333-350.
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