Christian Leadership

Course Outline & Assessment Information


What is Christian leadership? Who is a leader? This course enables students to answer these questions through the lens of Jesus Christ.

The Christian Leadership course at ACCM is designed to help those involved in various areas of Christian leadership and ministry to be better equipped to take on the wide variety of challenges and opportunities leadership provides. Students will be led through the foundational aspects and implications of leadership, and encouraged to explore and reflect on the many dimensions Christian leadership encompasses and challenged to find ways of applying what they learn to their own areas of service to God and his people.

 Key competencies:
  • Develop and demonstrate an understanding of leadership through the lens of Jesus (A Trinitarian, grace-based approach to leadership)
  • Understand and apply servant leadership principles
  • Develop a working understanding of key contemporary leadership insights, including transformational leadership
  • Develop and encourage leadership for everyone, as each individual uses his or her gifts to serve (Leadership is not gender based); leaders develop others as leaders
  • Understand and apply the need for teams and team leadership (a particular kind of leadership)
  • Develop self-awareness and self-understanding of one’s gifts and strengths and preferred leadership style
  • Developing self-leadership skills, including self-care
  • Appreciate leadership emerging from spiritual formation
  • Knowing and practicing that Christian leadership, like all of life, is – and only is – “in Christ”
  • Content

    • Introduction
      • What Is Leadership?
    • Part 1: Foundations
      • Spiritual Foundations
        • A Theology Of Leadership
        • The Example Of Jesus
        • NT Metaphors
        • Nouwen On Leadership
        • Spiritual Formation As Leadership
      • Personal Foundations
        • Self-Awareness And Emotional Intelligence
        • Giftedness And Personal Strengths
        • Integrity, Ethics, Values And Attitudes
        • Learning
    • Part 2: The Art Of Leadership
    • Leadership Dynamics
        • Background
        • Servant Leadership
        • Situational Leadership®
        • Transformational Leadership
        • Followership
      • Communication
        • The Communication Process
        • Listening
        • Directive –v– Non-Directive Communication
      • Team Leadership
        • Team Dysfunctions
        • Diversity
        • Effective Teams
      • Mentoring
        • The Mentoring Process
    • Part 3: Leading For Life
      • Pastoral Life
        • Dealing With Difficult Behaviours And Conflict
        • Self-Care
        • Feedback
      • The Price Of Leadership
        • Suffering
        • Travelling The Journey
      • Conclusions

    Texts and Supporting Materials

    Assigned texts:

    • A version of the Bible in modern English (we recommend you use NIV, NRV, or NKJ).
    • In The Name of Jesus-Reflections on Christian Leadership; Henri Nouwen, The CrossRoad Publishing Company, New York, 2002
    • Calling Christian Leaders: Biblical Models of Church Gospel and Ministry, John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England, 2002
    • Leadership Next: Changing Leaders in a Changing Culture, Eddie Gibbs, InterVarsity Press, Leicester, UK, 2005
    Supporting articles and other materials are located in the Class Resource Library.

    Recommended reading:

    • The Leadership Challenge, 3rd Edition, James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 2003.
    • The Leader of the Future; Editors, Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, Richard Beckhard, The Drucker Foundation, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1996.
    • Dare to Journey - with Henri Nouwen, Charles Ringma, Pinon Press, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 2000
    • Making Peace: A Guide to Overcoming Church Conflict, Jim Van Yperen, Moody Press, 2002
    • Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Richard A. Swenson, M.D., NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO, rev. ed, 2004
    • The Contemplative Pastor, Eugene Petersen, Eerdmans Publishing, 1993

    Other Reading:

    • The Shepherd Leader, Jim Van Yperen, ChurchSmart Resources, St. Charles, 2003
    • Skilful Shepherds: Explorations in Pastoral Theology, Derek Tidball, Apollos, Leicester, UK, 2003
    • Working the Angles, Eugene Petersen, Eerdmans Publishing, 1987
    • The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen, Doubleday, New York, 1972, (Image reissue 1979)
    • Church Next, Eddie Gibbs & Ian Coffey, Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England, 2001
    • The Shaping of Things to Come, Michael Frost & Judd Hirsch, Hendrickson Publishers, 2003
    • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and Principle-Centered Leadership, Steven R. Covey
    • Healthy Congregations—A Systems Approach, Peter L. Steinke, Alban Institute, Bethesda, MD, 1996
    • Thriving Through Ministry Conflict; By Understanding your Red and Blue Zones, James P. Osterhaus, Joseph M. Jurkowski and Todd A. Hahn, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2005
    • Firestorm: Preventing and Overcoming Church Conflicts, Ron Susek, Baker Book House, 1999
    • Surviving Difficult Church Members, Robert D. Dale, Creative Leadership Series, Lyle E. Schaller, Ed, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1984
    • Well-Intentioned Dragons, Ministering to Problem People in the Church, Marshall Shelley, Bethany House Publishers; Reprint edition, 1994
    • Ministerial Ethics: Moral Formation for Church Leaders, 2nd ed, Joe E. Trull and James E. Carter, Baker Academics, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2004
    • Understanding Stress Breakdown, William Wilkie, ANZEA Books, Homebush West, Australia, rev. ed. 1990

    Online Resources:

    Supporting articles and other material will be supplied during the course.


    The components of assessment for this class are all listed below. You are encouraged to work through the class notes and readings before launching into the assessments. Assessments must be submitted before the due dates outlined in the course syllabus you received upon registration. Do not submit more than one assessment before receiving feedback from your teacher. The assessments are as follows:

    1. Book Review - Select a book from the list of texts for this class and write a review of around 800 words. Your report should include the following:

    • a summary of what the author says
    • an analysis of what the author says (including whether you agree or disagree)
    • a reflection of what the author says in terms of your own journey of Christian leadership

    2. Choose ONE of the following (800-1000 words):

    • Select five scriptures that deal with Christian leadership
      • Reflect on each
      • Discuss the implications of each for your own ministry. (around 200 words each)
    OR: Select five quotes from the class readings, or others you have that have particularly impacted you in regard to Christian leadership.
    • Include the quote, author and source (if known)
    • Reflect on each and discuss the implications for your own ministry (around 200 words each).
    OR: Write a reflective “Self-leadership” analysis,
    • including your perceived strengths, talents
    • and preferred leadership style

    3. Choose ONE of the following:

    • Write a paper (500-800 words) reflecting on
      • aspects of conflict that are most difficult for you to handle,
      • conflict management skills you need to develop, and
      • key elements of the conflict resolution process.
    OR: Write a congregational conflict resolution guide (500-800 words)
    OR: Write a paper (500-800 words) on “Stress and Me”.
    • Reflect on your experiences with stress, time, tasks, people demands, conflict etc.
    • and what you are doing, or plan to do better by way of “self care.”

    4. Analyze in 800 words ONE of the following leadership dynamics in terms of your own leadership role:

    • Situational Leadership
    • Transformational leadership
    • Team Leadership
      • Include a brief overview of the dynamic
      • Discuss how this leadership dynamic functions in your leadership role. Include and analyze particular examples.

    5. In partnership with a mentor (your local pastor, district superintendent, or as appropriate), and the CL assessor, be involved with leading a service project within your congregation or community.

    • You may be assigned the lead yourself, or you may work directly with those assigned the lead by the relevant authorities.
    • This project should meet identified, relevant and agreed upon congregational needs, in the context of the overall plan and oversight of the pastor and pastoral team.
    • Write an analysis of your learning experience. This should include:
      • a brief analysis of your congregation and its needs, the reason for the project and how it fits within the context of the congregation,
      • the planning involved,
      • the style of leadership and why this was chosen,
      • lessons learned (both positive and negative),
      • how you applied (or observed others apply) the various elements discussed in this class,
      • and the result or outcomes of the project.
    • Please include any feedback from your mentor.



    More about the Lecturer, John McLean.

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    Class Notes - Conventions

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