As David Tiede put it in a 2009 In Trust article, “Effective leadership . . . has become the test in a growing number of schools, and some track their results by how well communities are led by their graduates.”
Quoting Daniel Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, Tiede states that “theological education is leadership education.” In addition to intellectual and spiritual formation, seminaries typically include leadership education in their models of good theological education.
But what leadership looks like varies from school to school, because the examples of leadership differ among various faith traditions and seminaries. This is illustrated in the book Traditions in Leadership: How Faith Traditions Shape the Way We Lead, a collection of essays edited by Richard J. Mouw and Eric O. Jacobsen.
Each essay in the collection presents a different viewpoint on leadership and explores how personal faith traditions shape this viewpoint. For example, Father Mark O’Keefe, a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, writes on Benedictine leadership and how the first abbot of Saint Meinrad demonstrated this definition of leadership. Another writer, Elliot Dorff, discusses leadership and organization within the Jewish tradition.
Tradition is usually seen to be embedded in the past, but as Tiede points out, Traditions in Leadership is not a call to return to a bygone era. Rather, it demonstrates how traditions are living entities that inform the way we lead today.
Because seminaries reflect particular faith traditions, these places of education are examples of why what we believe matters, as future church and ministry leaders are shaped by these beliefs.
How would you define the qualities of leadership within your own tradition? Would you agree that these traditions shape the leadership model espoused by affiliated seminaries?
To read David Tiede’s full article on Traditions in Leadership, click here.
To purchase Traditions in Leadership, click here.