The church has begun to adapt to the model created by business school. They hold strategy meetings; they have branding and rebranding sessions and are always looking at the bottom line. A pastor is therefore under pressure to produce results and also balance their private and public life. The example of a good pastor is a person who is above reproach as the Bible sets the standards. This has put pressure on a lot of church leaders to seek counsel from the world of secular business. The leadership Summit organized by Willow Creek is one of the popular annual conferences that are well attended by church leaders in Nairobi and Eldoret towns in Kenya. The sessions which are addressed by leaders who have excelled in the business and political arena have increasingly become the reference point for knowledge and success. This pressure has made me ask, where does a church leader today seek counsel while in search of excellence? Is success in the church comparable to the success of the head of a Fortune 500 company? When the book defines leadership and tends to equate it to the CEO, it assumes that all leadership is guided by principles that apply across the board. For example, any leader will face transitions in their leadership role, and so will the pastor of the church, but the focus for the latter would be on seeking the mandate of the church as a community of believers, which exist to propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, the CEO of a company is concerned about the bottom line, the profits that the company makes for the shareholders.
I found the chapter on leading teams of leaders helpful in understanding the dynamics of leaders in an organization and how they best work together. Unity is at the core of the Christian faith and every leaders must seek to enhance the unity of those who he or she is made charge over. The abilities of the leader and the way a leader organizes those that he seeks to influence as leader will dictate whether they will be effective or not in bringing people together for one course. The Christian faith has experience different leadership styles over a period of 2000 years. Africa on the other hand has experiences Christianity in the last 200 years (apart from Egypt and Ethiopia). Since many churches have had one or two generational change of leadership, the structures for exercising leadership may still be weak and wanting. Even so, there is a lot to learn from how other organizations have established their leadership structures over time.
‘How to think strategically, mobilize resources, and act selflessly’ maybe what students will learn in a leadership class, but the best place to learn leadership is by leading (Page, 521). In Africa, decisions were mostly made by the most experienced elders of a community. There is no short changing experience even for the best educated African clergy. The society we live in is becoming more complex and needs seasoned and mature leaders who can be able to make good decisions for posterity. Obama is a revered man in Kenya, simple because his father hailed from Kenya. His speeches are well known and any aspiring leader today espouses his leadership style, his mantra, ‘yes we can’ has motivated leaders that change is possible. The social movement that Obama created had inspired a whole generation of young people that they can make it. Obama is the epitome of a leader who has ‘interllectual skills in pattern recognition, seeing similarities and differences systems thinking, and framing and conceptualizing’ (Page, 606). I am not trying to support or endorse Obama’s presidential candidacy, I want to pin point that he has created a great interest in leadership development in the context of the African society in a global environment.
I found the Chapter on ‘Unlocking the Slices of genius in your organization’ (Page 570-611) having great insights on how to organize people from the grass roots. The three questions asked at the end of the chapter on community development, innovation and improvisation and developing a new generation of leaders are the right questions for any leader to ask as the organize themselves for the good of humanity.
It is clear that leadership cannot be wholly learnt at the class room, it is perfected in the process of taking leadership responsibility and learning in in and in context. Africa needs good leaders, in the church and in society. We have no excuse to be mediocre with all the resources that are available for your reference. We need not make the same mistakes, but stand on the shoulders of the west, learn from their mistakes and build the church. The African pastor and bishop needs to engage in a deliberate and informed process of leadership development.
Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice by Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana