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

Sainthood and Leadership in Christian Family

Written by: on September 9, 2019

St. Francis of Assisi is bringing a new perspective to Christian leadership which leads us to the title of the journal “Theology of Leadership.” Nathan Harter describes Francis a man who defined his leadership theology that was not based on the main church structure of the Roman Catholic.  He describes Francis s a festive and restive, impetuous and one who throws himself into anything he did. Patched with characteristic impulsivity, he reached out to the much-marginalized people – the sick, the hideous, and the dangerous in the communities.[1] It’s very clear here how Francis is shaping his theological style away from the norm. Francis impressed the universal fraternity of all creation.

This way of theological perspective is like that of the Quakers who defined their theology of leadership differently from the many church structure. It was first structured over the founder who dismissed the creed and other doctrinal believes and came up with a simplistic way of leadership. That of God in everyone and therefore all have the right to access the Lord without going through any other person like the pastor. If Quakers were canonizing their leaders, then George Fox the founder of the Quaker church would be a saint when you read his journal that describes his Christian life journey. It’s very hard to find a leader who refuses to be a leader, but he is leading people by his way of life. Francis uniqueness of leadership that he tried to steer away from but still leading with many following his ways was unique. Living a life of denial while serving others. It goes against the normal approach to life that says you cannot give what you do not have. That means you must acquire first before you are able to give to those who have less. But Francis is acting opposite of the principle where he is described as a man who lived a life with extravagant simplicity. He completely retained no attachment to the things of the world. Jesus speaking to the rich man who visited him asking how to inherit the kingdom of God, in Mark 10:21b says “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” These economics complicate the theology of self-denial in serving Christ. The rich man could not buy into that at all. He walked out of Jesus sight disappointed with him.

It clearly indicated here that Francis cultivated a reputation of a fool, i.e. an illiterate, simple-minded Man, if not an idiot (Roest, 2012). His theology can never be imitated whatsoever. But we can draw from his theology some great traits worthy leading a good Christian life of obedience in Christ. Besides Roest description of Francis as an idiot, his theology still propelled the true spirit of Christ that drew many followers and his spirit still speaks today. Harter says, “Francis of Assisi was born both a saint and a leader.” He further said that “a theology of leadership must somehow include Francis of Assis example, if only because it hearkens back to the example of Jesus.” It is very interesting to see how Francis was very influential to his followers. Worst still it is written that “he attracted followers by means of his suffering and death.”  This speaks opposite what we see today of leadership power and influence. How do you attract people to follow you as you suffer and dying? What hope are they seeing in you while you are dying? People follow those they gain something in return and not nothing. Am seriously challenged by the leadership theology of St Francis of Assisi.

[1] (Theology of Leadership Journal, 2018 Volume 1, p. page 25)

About the Author

mm

John Muhanji

I am the Director Africa Ministries Office of Friends United Meeting. I coordinate all Quaker activities and programs in the Quaker churches and school mostly in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The focus of my work is more on leadership development and church planting in the region especially in Tanzania.. Am married with three children all grown up now. I love playing golf as my exercise hobby. I also love reading.

One response to “Sainthood and Leadership in Christian Family”

  1. mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    John,
    Thanks so much for your thoughts and perspectives including George Fox and the Quacker movement. I appreciate you being part of our cohort.

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