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Doctoral Project Abstract

The Strategic Missionary: An Introduction to Missionary Leadership

Harvey A. Herman
Regent University

Bob Thaves, a popular cartoonist commenting on the legendary dancer and movie star Fred Astaire, once said, "Yes, Fred was really a great dancer, but remember Ginger Rogers had to do all the same moves – only backwards and in high heels." Christian missionaries are like Ginger Rogers. They must be able to do all the moves of a successful senior pastor, but in a foreign culture, in a second language, separated from extended family and friends, and with limited resources. Missionary service presents a unique and complex challenge to leadership effectiveness.

This project, written for the popular press audience, addresses the leadership practices of a successful missionary. The missionary leader is viewed through the lens of the four core competencies of effective leadership: interpersonal leadership, change leadership, performance leadership, and self-leadership. Strategic missionaries build terrific relationships with the people they work with; move groups of people from today to a better tomorrow; are able to produce results; and stay grounded due to their commitment to continuous personal growth. It focuses on leadership practices rather than the missiological training missionaries normally receive.

The value of this book is the breadth of topics addressed. The topics are arranged around the four core competencies of leadership. Regardless of the leadership role, an effective leader must exhibit proficiency and on-going commitment to each of these competencies. This book demonstrates how these competencies relate to each other and describe several best practices that enhance each one. The aim of this book is to help the missionary view his or her role from a different perspective, and release creative insight and innovative strategies for the missionary assignment.

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