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About this book

This edited work uses the life and biblical teachings of Jesus to examine modern leadership theory. With the Gospel of John as its focal point, it depicts leadership traits such as compassion, empathy, humility, and transparency as essential to the ministry of Jesus. The authors explore concepts related to communication, conflict resolution, mentorship, authentic leadership, servant leadership, transformational leadership, and succession planning to show the applicability of principles espoused in biblical teachings to modern organizations. This book will make a valuable addition to the leadership literature by using the life of Jesus as a case study.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Jesus as Dynamic Force and Communicator

This chapter presents a leadership model inspired by the Gospel of John’s description of Jesus as the Word (Logos) Made Flesh—the Logos-inspired leader, a dynamic force and a communicator. As a dynamic force, the Logos creates, gives life, enlightens, and overcomes resistance. As communicator he identified with, associated with, revealed God’s glory, and made sense of God’s nature. Logos-inspired leaders function as a dynamic force in teams and organizations by innovating, enlivening, enlightening, and competing. As communicators, Logos-inspired leaders persuade and direct by empathizing with followers, engaging with followers, and embodying their message through example and sense-giving.
James A. (Andy) Wood

Chapter 2. Jesus as Servant and Disruptor

A debate was brought to light when the CEO of Panera Bread, a servant leader, remarked he wished he fired more employees (Shaich in The Founder of Panera Bread: ‘I Wish I’d Fired More People’, 2018). This revelation that servant leaders should stand up for what is right becomes difficult for some as they balance the act of turning the other check along with meekness and gentleness amid a sinful culture. This chapter exegetically examines John 2:13–25, where Jesus clears the Temple courts to identify appropriate behavior for leaders in their daily work. To practically apply this pericope to servant leadership, the following three principles emerged: firm foundation, holy disruption, and courageous conversation.
Debra J. Dean

Chapter 3. Jesus and Emotional Awareness

This chapter invites the reader to consider how emotional awareness leads to positive influence in individuals and communities. Self-awareness, empathy, truthfulness, and authenticity are bridges that enable a leader to cross sociological divides to meet the deep needs of others. This chapter presents Jesus as exemplar for emotionally aware leadership and offers four principles for Christ-like leadership as seen through an exegetical analysis of John 4:1–42.
Carlo A. Serrano

Chapter 4. Jesus as Mentor

Jesus was very effective in his efforts to prepare and train his twelve apostles for their mission after he left. How did he do it? The answer to that question should be of interest to every leader who wants to influence and prepare those who follow after them. Toward that end, this chapter explores the role of mentor as observed in the behaviors of Jesus when he fed five thousand men, plus women and children with nothing more than two fish and five small loaves of bread (John 6:1–13).
Sam Dobrotka

Chapter 5. Jesus as Overcomer

Much of the research on the leadership of Jesus concerns his training of the disciples; however, Jesus displayed leadership in other contexts as well. John 11:1–45 depicts the narrative of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. This chapter discusses the exegetical research of this passage and the six themes it yields regarding leadership: (a) using adversity to accomplish goals, (b) demonstrating care and compassion, (c) establishing credibility, (d) inspiring followers, (e) demonstrating spiritual leadership, and (f) leading by example in accomplishing difficult tasks. These themes yielded by the exegetical research are then discussed in relation to contemporary organizational leadership theory.
Alex G. Wright

Chapter 6. Jesus as Humble Servant

Servant leadership provides an important theological, social, and cultural model regarding ethical norms and principles in human interactions. Utilizing an exegetical analysis of John 13, this chapter explores how Jesus modeled service as the currency of Heaven and considered the practical implications for servant leadership in contemporary organizations such as: the role of leader humility in follower development, the relationship between a leader’s example and trust building, the legacy of service within the organizational context, and the transcendent nature of service in organizations.
Kamerin S. Lauren, Joshua D. Henson

Chapter 7. Jesus as an Exemplary Leader

This chapter explores John 13 utilizing the leadership framework of Kouzes and Posner’s (2012) The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Happen in Organizations. An exegetical analysis of John 13 was juxtaposed with Kouzes and Posner’s framework and provided principles for contemporary organizational leadership from a biblical perspective. Jesus’ leadership approach supports, often time in paradoxical ways, a modeling the way by charting a different path; inspires a shared vision of something greater; challenges the process by purposefully breaking norms; enables others to act through humble service; and encourages the heart through authenticity.
Craig A. Bell

Chapter 8. Jesus as an Authentic Leader

The chapter begins with Jesus troubled in heart and spirit (12:27; 13:21) and the disciples pregnant with anxiety, largely due to one of the last statements Jesus made to his disciples in the former chapter (13:33). Jesus’ prediction birthed the abandonment, isolation, despondency, and perhaps depression for the entire group (13:38; Matt. 26:3). The authentic leader provides optimism, confidence, hope, and decision making, which helps encourage trusting relationships with followers. With this context, this chapter includes a pioneer, or Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) or perhaps a God Positioned Spirituality involving one principle and five sub-principles.
Stuart W. Boyer

Chapter 9. Jesus and Succession Planning

In this chapter, Jesus’s high priestly prayer, John 17, is analyzed from a historical-grammatical perspective to examine grammatical, semantic, and syntactical patterns and usages in light of understanding the intended meaning of the original author (Osborne, 2006). The text, divided into three sections which focus separately on Jesus, the disciples, and future disciples, provides four important principles for use in succession discourse. Successful execution of succession must: (1) be executed and communicated with clarity; (2) affirm organizational mission and vision; (3) communicate what knowledge and skills followers possess to navigate their roles and task under new leadership; and (4) communicate the need for current and future unity within the organization centered around the mission and vision.
Suzana Dobric Veiss, Elizabeth K. Hunt

Chapter 10. Jesus as a Restoring Leader

This chapter uses Robbins (Exploring the texture of texts: A guide to socio-rhetorical interpretation, Trinity Press, Harrisburg, 1996) inner textual analysis technique on John 21:1–25 to explore Jesus’ ability to restore his relationship with the disciple Peter and the other disciples. Identification of the key themes of remembering the past, acknowledging the hurt, leading with love, and refocusing on the mission are the best ways to restore a relationship that has been broken through conflict. These actions can be used by a leader when restoring relationships among a team.
W. David Winner

Chapter 11. Jesus as a Loving Leader

In John 21 Jesus, as a loving leader, connects Peter’s love for him with Peter’s willingness to follow him (John 21:19–21). It illustrates how Jesus modelled love as the basis of Christian leadership. The main focus is on the wisdom that love is good for business (Faber, 2019). Certain principles are explored how Jesus lead as an empowerment leader in John 21 lead with love. Seven leadership lessons for application in contemporary leadership are identified from Jesus’ example for contemporary leadership application. John 21 leaves the reader with hope what can be accomplished when Jesus’ example is followed.
Christa M. Bonnet

Chapter 12. Jesus as an Introspective Leader

This chapter delves into the solitude of Jesus, and the times when he was alone for positive reasons, including rest, reflection, and prayer. This chapter provides current leaders with a workable framework to remain spiritually and emotionally healthy through spaces of solitude. Christian leaders, as they begin to understand the importance of solitude, can remain healthy by embodying Jesus’s approach during their own times of solitude and by appreciating the simplicity of these moments and the significant impact they can have on our lives as leaders.
Chad M. Minor

Chapter 13. Jesus as a Transformational Leader

This chapter explores Jesus’ relationship with Nicodemus, and identifies four principles of transformational leadership. The four principles follow. First, transformational leaders provide the necessary influence to be strong role models for their followers (Arunima et al., in Advances in Management 7(10):37–45, 2014). Second, transformational leaders demonstrate the inspirational motivation that communicates high expectations to their followers to embrace and commit to the organization’s shared vision (Dialoke & Edeh, in International Journal on Leadership 6(2):14–22, 2018). Third, transformational leaders stimulate followers’ creativity and innovative capacity to challenge their values and beliefs (Alexander et al., in Evidence-Based HRM 6(1):39–53, 2018). Fourth, transformational leaders provide such a supportive climate of careful listening to their followers’ individual needs (Anthony, in Journal of Management Development 36(7):930–939, 2017).
Kenneth S. Dixon


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