Working on Christian Reflections blog tour material: leadership

I'm working on material for the blog tour - the first leg of the tour is this coming Tuesday in Launceston, Tasmania.

One of the sessions will be on leadership.

It's common for modern leadership stuff to major on how leadership is all about culture, influence and persuasion. And those things are important.

It's common for Christians to major on Jesus' teaching that we should pursue servant leadership. And this is crucial for our ethics of leadership.

But fundamentally leadership is not about influence. Nor can it be fully defined by the concept of servanthood.

Leadership is about power. It is being in a position of power over others - to compel them to do things. And it brings with it a corresponding responsibiltiy to use this power rightly.

'Servant leadership' can guard against some abuses of power, but not all. Many of the great absolutist dicatators claimed to be 'servants of the people' and even dress in military or civilian clothes to demonstrate that they are not kings. But sadly this 'service' can be used to justify all manner of oppression - it's 'for the good of the people'.

By talking openly about power and authority, and seeking to discover what the Bible teaches about these topics, we are forced to think about justice and mercy. These things also are needed to restrain power.

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