Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

God of Grace, God of Righteousness!

Written by: on September 15, 2022

Global Leadership Perspectives was written by Simon Western and Eric-Jean Garcia. The book is split into two parts: Part 1 – presentation of various leadership from 20 countries all over the globe and Part 2 – Critical analysis of leadership and conclusion. This book offers great insights into the history and cultural context of understanding various leadership perspectives all over the world. In its discussion of the leadership of the USA, the author stated that “leadership in the USA is often synonymous with charisma. While research does suggest that charisma is an important component of leadership, in the American context, this trait is also associated with a persistent messianic call.”[1] It further described that people wish for this type of messianic leader because of their innate desires to be relieved from social and economic chaos, injustice, and divisions.

I cannot believe the South Africa trip is already next week. I am excited about the upcoming trip, but I am not excited at all when I think about the longsuffering airplane ride. What do you do when you ride long airplane rides? I usually watch a couple of movies because I love stories and dialogues. One of the recent movies I watched, but I wished that I didn’t watch, was a movie called MLK/FBI. It was a documentary that leaves many open-ended questions for the audience that gives them a piece of new information that can be very disruptive if they weren’t aware of it before. The movie’s concluding scenes may leave the audience with discreditation and disbelief of everything that MLK did because it documented the moral failures of MLK as a leader. Until I watched this documentary, I only read and saw the good side of MLK, and I was shocked at this new piece of information, whether it’s true or false, that this iconic hero and charismatic leader had an unknown dark side. I wish that I didn’t find out about this new information because it now forever changed my view and opinions on MLK and his movement.

In my observation and experience of many non-profit 501(c)3 organizations in the USA, the Christian church and the public benefit missional organizations, the Messiah leadership and charismatic leadership “has long appealed to individuals and collectively to society, especially in turbulent environments, promising salvation from a chaotic world.”[2] Likewise, in Korean American churches, this kind of charismatic Messianic leadership is very common. And it’s like Covid, everything is good when the leader is leading and serving and the organization is growing, but as soon as a Covidlike crisis hits, it shakes and discredits and brakes apart everything that has been building over the years. In many of these great organizations, there is a long history of sacrifice, hard work, and long years of relationships. Two things that completely overthrow the ship and bring doubts, political divisions, and legal disputes are the moral failure of this type of a leader. It becomes deadly when it is related to sexual misconduct and embezzlement of funds. I read through many leadership books over the years, and it all highlights and defines a good leader as someone who can move the people and the organization to grow.

In the past couple of years, I heard about numerous moral failures of pastors, CEOs, presidents, and the Chairman of the boards. And I found something common in all of these repeated stories – “Messiah leaders have strong egos and a strong sense of self and faith in themselves expressed through their vision of the future, which becomes an extension of the self. When this becomes dysfunctional, it can lead to omnipotence, grandiosity, narcissism, and misjudgments on a grand scale.”[3] Top organizational leadership is very difficult because they are the ones who have to deal with the sinking ship that was bombed by the catastrophic failure and disruption, but many times they are tied to both personal relationships and exercising the duty of righteous organizational relationships. What’s crazy is that deception and spiritual warfare gets added onto already an overwhelming chaos that will completely destroy the body of Christ, the history of the organizations, and all trust in relationships. When the crisis hits, everything that is underneath in a human heart comes out and easily becomes influenced by evil and wickedness. Every successful and charismatic leaders must depend on the grace of God that calls every child of God to repentance and even to everlasting discipline to turn away from evil. God saves again and again, God never fails, God prevails, God will never let go, and God always protects the righteous and those who trusts in God!

[1] Simon Western and Éric-Jean Garcia, Global Leadership Perspectives: Insights and Analysis. 1st edition (Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018), 174.

[2] Ibid, 196.

[3] Ibid, 198.

About the Author


Jonathan Lee

President of Streamside Ministry Lead Pastor of EM @ San Jose Korean Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, CA

7 responses to “God of Grace, God of Righteousness!”

  1. mm Andy Hale says:


    I learned so much from reading your post. We all take different angles when reading and working through the text.

    As we look at the continued downfall of many faith leaders due to their personal improprieties, I think so much of it has to do with their particular lens on leadership and others. For example, many conservative Evangelicals live out of a highly patriarchal-masculine worldview. It is no wonder how they view women and their role that they find themselves in places of sexual assault and harassment.

  2. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Jonathan: You make good points about the prevalence of the Messiah Style of Leadership. Humans seemed predisposed to follow the charismatic, strong leader even at times that his leadership is faltering. This book gave a lot of insight about how common people from every country can be seduced by this. You mentioned you saw this in Korea…would you say it’s more common in the U.S. or in Korea?

  3. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Jonathan, great post. Can you say more about what changed for you about MLK and his movement in light of the dark side? Realted to that, how much of our own darkness is appropriate to share in a ministry context? Do you think there’s more upside or downside when leaders become vulnerable by sharing certain struggles? See you soon. If you watch a good movie on the plane, let me know!

  4. mm Nicole Richardson says:

    Jonathan, Your reaction to the documentary on MLK is interesting. Augustine would ask us to remember that the work done by a person maybe ought to be separated from their shortcomings….at least he believed that the sacraments are still sanctified and holy even if the celebrant is flawed. Can you compare and contrast your MLK response with what Augustine offers?

  5. mm Eric Basye says:

    Jonathan, I too have struggled with these same things regarding MLK. Not sure if you read my blog or not, but it may help. Diane, my project professor, always reminds me: every leader (or person for that matter) has a dark side. But you can still learn from them. A good point for me to keep in mind.

    I also hear you about leaders who fall. I just finished up going to church and interestly, as we were singing I was thinking about my transition out of CLDI that I have led the past 12 years, thankful for God’s protection from my own ego to fall like so many leaders before us. It is terrifying, on one hand, but also sobering and humbling. I need His grace daily. We all need His grace daily. See you soon!

  6. mm Denise Johnson says:

    Thanks, Jonathon, for your post. You expose a very serious issue within the messiah leadership. Where does accountability fit into this situation? Aso, if the church is supposed to resemble a body, why does the pastor “have to deal with the sinking ship?” I wonder if these two factors are what contribute to Christian leader failures?

  7. Kayli Hillebrand says:


    I can understand your perspective on MLK and learning about his moral failures causing a shift if your perspective of him. As a leader, how would you encourage those who are nervous to confess or expose those dark side because they don’t want others to say “I wish that I didn’t find out about this”? I wonder how we help people not equate leadership with perfection.

Leave a Reply