I have just completed facilitating a 3-day workshop on Steward Leadership: A Course in Transformational Christian Leadership. One of the participants commented on the evaluation sheet at the end of the course that he wished that the Training could be given to our national, political and military leaders, who in his opinion as based on recent news headlines, greatly needed a transformation of their value systems together with a transformation of their leadership styles.
Each of us is a leader in some way, whether as a parent, a barangay or community leader, a church leader, the spokesman of your focus group, a supervisor/executive in the workplace, an AGL or other BCBP leader. A leader is being someone who has a responsibility, whether big or trivial, over one or more persons, in one or more areas of his/her life.
In the Steward Leaders Training course, SLT, we discuss in detail the differences between worldly leadership and steward leadership. Worldly leadership flows from power and riches, is authority-centered rather than other-centered, and is characterized by the need to feel important, self-empowered and in control. Steward leadership on the other hand is empowered by the example and spirit of Jesus and flows from service and dedication to the welfare of others with the Christian leader leading through example of life, with personal integrity and genuine love for others.
The worldly leader orders: “Do what I tell you”. The steward leader says: “Follow me and do what I do.”
The results? The worldly leader becomes stressed out, makes enemies and adversaries, experiences aloneness (no friends!) and leads a life of inner turmoil that he tries to hide through arrogance and abuse of power. Such people are prone to all sorts of stress related illnesses, ulcers, strokes, heart attacks, migraine attacks, etc. But the steward leader has many true friends and embraces a life of fulfillment, joy and inner peace.
What then is the definition of a steward leader? A steward leader has access to the possessions (life, skills, talents, resources, opportunities) of the owner (God) and is tasked with the responsibility of managing those possessions according to the mind of the owner to achieve desired results. He nourishes, improves and strengthens these possessions so that he will be able to return them to their owner in better condition than when he received them at any time the owner desires an accountability. We are accountable for our lives and the lives of others, one of the conditions of the “rainbow promise” that God gave to Noah after the flood (Genesis 9:5).
The good leader should therefore be a person of integrity, competence, and possess the courage to stand up for the right and the good. His life’s principles and value system must be in place and be the basis for his decision-making. He should have genuine concern for the welfare of others with the desire and willingness to apply the Golden Rule in his life and in all areas of responsibility. He should be proactive rather than reactive.
Do our national, political and military leaders measure up to the high standards of Christian Steward Leadership? We must also ask ourselves this same question … for their leadership is only as strong as the persons they lead!