Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

Incarnational Leadership: Towards a Distinctly Christian Theory of Leadership

Jack W. Niewold
April 2006

Servant leadership is everywhere today and seems to have become the primary category for discussing Christian calling, eclipsing even the older vocations of disciple and witness. It is as though the entire understanding of Christian leadership is identified with the image of the servant. There is no denying that servanthood is a Biblical theme, and an important one, but is the servant motif adequate to capture the various facets that make up the picture of the leader that we find in the New Testament and in the early church? The purpose of this study presents my argument that servant leadership is not the complete picture, and that we need to find a more comprehensive Biblical model for Christian leadership than that carried in the servant motif. Building on the theological foundation of the incarnation as well as the martyriological teachings of Richard Wurmbrand, who proposed the image of the witness, or martyr, as more in keeping with the imperatives of both the New Testament and contemporary history, I have developed a Biblical concept of martyria (public witness) as the vehicle for a model of leadership in the postmodern, post-Christian era now upon us. Through discussion and the generation of an historical-theological model of martyria, I have attempted to show that leadership as witness is not only more in accord with the scriptural pattern than is the contemporary fixation on the servant motif, but that martyria is particularly suited as a worldview for the difficult and dangerous times ahead for the church.