Christians are rightly and necessary concerned about leadership, but many Christians seem to aim no higher than secular standards and visions of leadership. We can learn a great deal from the secular world and its studies of leadership and its practices, but the last thing the church needs is warmed over business theories decorated with Christian language.
Christian leaders are called to convictional leadership, and that means leadership that is defined by beliefs that are transformed into corporate action. The central role of belief is what must define any truly Christian understanding of leadership. This means that leadership is always a theological enterprise, in the sense that our most important beliefs and convictions are about God. Our most fundamental beliefs about God determine everything else of importance about us. If our beliefs about God are not true, everything we know and everything we are will be warped and contorted by that false knowledge – and this fact points to a huge problem.
The culture around us has its own concept of God, and it has little to do with the God of the Bible. Out in the fog of modern culture, God has been transformed into a concept, a therapist, a benign and indulgent patriarch, and a user-friendly deity. As theologian David F. Wells states so powerfully, “We have turned to a God that we can use rather than a God we must obey; we have turned to a God who will fulfill our needs rather than to a God before whom we must surrender our rights to ourselves. He is a God for us, for our satisfaction, and we have come to assume that it must be so in the church as well. And so we transform the God of mercy into a God who is at our mercy. We imagine that he is benign, that he will acquiesce as we toy with his reality and co-opt him in the promotion of our ventures and careers.”
In the aftermath of this crisis in the knowledge of God, many essential truths are eclipsed or lost entirely, and one of those truths is the principle of stewardship.