The Leader as Steward
Reflections on Luke 12:42-48
Keywords:leadership, authority, steward, servant, Luke 12
Since the publication of Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership, leadership studies, including Christian studies of leadership, have focused on the leader as servant. Some have suggested that Christian leadership studies replace the image of leader as servant with the image of leader as shepherd. However, the New Testament applies the shepherd image only to ecclesiastical leaders. Reflecting on Luke 12:42-48, this article develops the image of leader as steward as a complement to the images of leader as servant and as shepherd. The steward image, attending to the triad of God, leader, and followers, does justice to the authority of leaders, something that can be overlooked in the servant image of leadership. It has applicability beyond the ecclesiastical realm, and, this article argues, it is particularly relevant to the high power distance culture of sub-Saharan Africa. The article concludes that promotion of the steward image, particularly its emphasis on the leader’s accountability, may do more than continued promotion of servant leadership in addressing the challenges of leadership in Africa today.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Ryan L. Faber
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