DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

leadership in context

Written by: on March 14, 2015

Caroline Ramsey’s article on “the Management learning: a scholarship of practice centred on attention?” uncovers great insight from her own “ongoing learning in how to help managers, and other organization participants, do their work better.”[1] In particular, I am interested in the author’s remarks on the importance of “attention as a key process in a scholarship of practice.”[2] In this section the author describes how experts in the business world apprehend their work context by “taking into account a variety of relevant factors”[3] such as “characteristics of the world that give clues to our perceptions” and also “…changes in environmental clues.”[4] I think the principles of attention can be practical in a ministry or church context as well. How we attend to our immediate surroundings has the potential to shape our perceptions and can guide our actions. Also, as Ramsey says, attention linked to mindfulness “adds a social dimension to our attending by noting how our talk not only informs other but also strikes, moves or gestures.”[5]

The challenge I often observe in the mission field is that ministry leaders often attempt to impose their seminary trainings or church doctrines directly in a new mission environment. One of those stories occurred a couple of years ago at a leadership training hosted by my ministry in Ethiopia. The training was focused on how to share the gospel in culturally respectful ways. The participants were our evangelists, teachers from our elementary schools, and pastors from local churches. At the end of the training, as we always do, we wanted to wrap up our meetings with the celebration of Holy Communion as a sign of our unity and commitment to preaching the gospel. I happened to be the one leading the last session and decided to ask one of the pastor’s if he could serve us the Holy Communion. He politely declined my request. His reasons were he did have his priestly rob and also we did have those little cute communion cups. I was a little bit disappointed because there were 12 new believers baptized that same day and eager to take their first Holy Communion. This incident taught me the importance of paying attention to the context of any given ministry situation, and  to be flexible outside of the church context. For this reason, I’m compelled to agree with the author’s that we need to pay attention “in particular, the manner in which we attend to our work within contexts…”[6]

Another of Ramsey’s articles is on “Provocative Theory and a scholarship of practice.” In this paper, the author highlights how theory relates to practice and proposes the provocative use of theory. The relevant academic resources and personal stories Ramsey referred to were helpful to my understanding the author’s points. In particular, I was interested in the stories of Mike and Kieran. Their stories emphasize the importance of team leadership for the success of an organization. For instance, Mike drawing on his previous experience with improvised jazz where he observed the importance of “different musicians contributed to the final piece rather than just the composer…”[7] enabled him to help ward sisters create “more of a partnership, rather than hierarchical” leadership relationship in their team.[8]

When I think how leadership is done in my faith community, I see that only a few people participate in the church ministry. Church elders and the pastor make most decisions. The pastor is often burdened with the church’s leadership responsibilities and does not have time to building relationship with their faith community. So, for most believers even in my faith community, church is a place they go to sing, listen to sermons, give tithes and then come home. I believe the church needs to rethink how they are equipping their members to be actively involved in kingdom’s work. All of the body of Christ deserves their voices to be heard and their gifts to be utilized for God’s glory.


[1]  Ramsey, Caroline. “Management Learning: A Scholarship of Practice Centred on Attention?” Management Learning 45, no. 1(2014): 6-20.,P.2.

[2] Ibid.,6.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.,7.

[6] Ibid.,6.

[7] Ramsey, Caroline. “Provocative Theory and a Scholarship of Practice.” Management Learning. 42, no. 5 (2011): 469-483. P.14

[8] Ramsey, Caroline. “Provocative Theory and a Scholarship of Practice.” Management Learning. 42, no. 5 (2011): 469-483. P.16.







About the Author

Telile Fikru Badecha