What is Biblical Leadership?

November 11, 2013 — Leave a comment

Recently, I had a seminary assignment to write out a personal philosophy of leadership.  The process of clarifying and writing my thoughts was very helpful for me, and I thought I would share it as a series here on the blog.

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What is Biblical Leadership?

Leadership is a simple concept, and yet simultaneously incredibly complex.  As I have processed through my own leadership philosophy, I have arrived at this definition of biblical leadership:

Biblical leadership is meeting someone where they are, and taking them where Jesus wants them to go.

This definition has served for me as a fundamental axiom in discipleship, in leadership development, and in organizational leadership.  The two essential components that are at the core of my philosophy are the understanding of the individual, and the biblical vision for a life lived under the lordship of Christ.  Biblical leadership is therefore intensely personal and at the same time intensely biblical.

This definition provides a basic foundation for leadership, but as with any definition, it requires us to expand the meaning.

Biblical Leadership

First, the term “biblical” can be put in front of just about anything and be supported by a few texts.  By no means do I think the definition above comprehensively encapsulates all that the Scriptures teach about leadership.  For me, however, it captures the essence of what leadership consistently looks like throughout the Scriptures.

Whether you look at Moses leading the Israelites of out Egypt, David reigning over the kingdom of Israel, Peter leading the New Testament church, or Jesus, the perfect leader, making disciples here on this earth, there are three irreducible components:

  1. The Leader
  2. The Follower(s)
  3. The Interaction between Leader and Follower(s)

The definition I have written is from the perspective of a leader understanding the follower and providing a framework for interaction.  In the following posts, I’ll unpack what I mean by the phrases “meeting someone where they are” and “taking them where Jesus wants them to go”.

How would you define Biblical leadership?

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

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