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Issues Facing Missions Today 24: Some Methodological Questions for Leadership Studies

Issues Facing Missions Today 24: Some Methodological Questions for Leadership Studies
Introduction
In the following essay, I would like to ask three questions related to the study of ministry and challenge the idea that ‘leadership’ helps us in this study.  The questions are: (1) How should Christian ministry appropriate the social sciences? (2) Is ‘leadership’ an appropriate concept for Christian ministry?, and (3) What exactly are terms for ministry in the Church, and do they involve the notion of leadership?
Three Questions
First, ‘How should Christian ministry appropriate the social sciences?’  The issue here is not whether the social sciences are worth investigating, but how they should be engaged.  One approach might be to adopt a theory from the social sciences as a starting point.  Another, opposite approach might be to try to derive a theory from Scripture.  For example, methodologically one might begin with pedagogical theory from the field of education or one might attempt to d…

Issues Facing Missions Today: 23 Women’s Ordination: Contextual Considerations

Issues Facing Missions Today: 23 Women’s Ordination: Contextual Considerations or ‘Why Anglicans Should Probably Oppose Women’s Ordination at This Time and Why Pentecostals Should Continue to Support it: An Enquiry into the Engagement of Scripture for Christian Practice’

Introduction:
I intend to consider some contextual issues in the debate over women in ministry—specifically a teaching ministry.  I will touch on some exegetical issues, but this is not the place to examine all of them.  I will address some hermeneutical issues, but only some.  What concerns me more directly in this essay is how context—our context and the context in Ephesus and in Corinth in the first century—speaks to the issue of women in teaching ministries both then and now.  Our context today is diverse and calls for diverse approaches to a situation such as this.  The sensitivity to culture and context that missionaries hone to be successful in their calling can be a helpful hermeneutical tool for reading and inte…

Engaging the Bible in Mission Theology Scholarship: Darryl Jackson’s Challenge of ‘Servant Leaders’ Scholarship

Engaging the Bible in Mission Theology Scholarship: Darryl Jackson’s Challenge of ‘Servant Leaders’ Scholarship
Darrell Jackson, Senior Lecturer in Missiology at Morling College, Sydney, Australia (and former colleague of mine at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague), has published an article in line with my own thinking (albeit independently) on the problems with the language of leadership and servant-leadership that I would like to recommend.  It is entitled, ‘For the Son of Man Did Not Come to Lead, But to be Led: Matthew 20:20-28 and Royal Service.’[1]  The article offers three points that I would like to highlight.
First, Jackson helps us to identify the origin of the ‘servant-leadership’ discussion of Christian ministry.  Robert Greenleaf (1904-1990), a Quaker and a director of management research at AT&T who wrote in the 1960s and 1970s, is apparently the source of the idea of ‘servant-leadership.’  Jackson says that Greenleaf’s ‘understanding of servant l…

Issues Facing Missions Today 22: The Disciples Are Not 'Leaders' But 'Little Ones' in Matthew's Gospel

Issues Facing Missions Today 22: The Disciples Are Not 'Leaders' But 'Little Ones' in Matthew's Gospel

The following article of mine (about 9,000 words) originally appeared in the journal Transformation, a holistic mission studies journal published by the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.  See: 'Not 'Leaders' but 'Little Ones' in the Father's Kingdom: The character of discipleship in Matthew's Gospel.' Transformation 2004 (21.2): 114-125. With thanks to Transformation, it is republished here as part of my mini-series challenging the leadership and servant-leadership paradigms for Christian ministry.

Not 'Leaders' but 'Little Ones' in the Father's Kingdom: The Character of Discipleship in Matthew's Gospel
Introduction:
'Leadership' literature and programmes abound in Christian circles today.  Financial supporters want to know that their money will train 'leaders'.  Ministers looking for a change c…