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Leadership in Christian Perspective

Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Practices for Servant Leaders

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Leadership in Christian Perspective brings the best of leadership theory and research together with biblical reflection and examples of leadership in action. Combining expertise in leadership studies and biblical studies, Justin Irving and Mark Strauss explore how leadership models have moved from autocratic and paternalistic leader-centered models toward an increased focus on followers. They show how contemporary theories such as transformational leadership, authentic leadership, and servant leadership take an important step toward prioritizing and empowering followers who work with leaders to accomplish organizational goals.

Organized around "nine empowering practices," this practical guide is accessible to all Christian students of leadership. It integrates solid research in leadership studies with biblical and theological reflection on the leadership ideas that are most compatible with Christian faith, making it an important resource for professors and students in leadership and pastoral theology courses, pastors and church leaders, and Christian business leaders.


Introduction: A Fresh Look at Empowering Leadership
Part 1: Beginning with Authentic and Purposeful Leaders
1. Modeling What Matters
2. Engaging in Honest Self-Evaluation
3. Fostering Collaboration
Part 2: Understanding the Priority of People
4. Valuing and Appreciating
5. Creating a Place for Individuality
6. Understanding Relational Skills
Part 3: Navigating toward Effectiveness
7. Communicating with Clarity
8. Providing Accountability
9. Supporting and Resourcing


"In Leadership in Christian Perspective, Irving and Strauss intentionally set out on a daunting task to deliver a fully integrated and biblically rooted perspective on Christian leadership. They are thorough and effective in their examination of leadership constructs and carefully highlight the biblical case for each of them. The genius of their work is found in the integration of models and what then emerges. Empowerment becomes the thread that connects them all. Jesus Christ remains the greatest leadership role model, and without question their mission for this work is accomplished. I highly recommend this book to all Christian leaders!"

Tami Heim, president and CEO, Christian Leadership Alliance

"Justin Irving and Mark Strauss have provided a solid academic textbook on leadership, based on principles that have stood the test of time and on relevant biblical truths. Their combined expertise has produced a book that will inform those wanting a clear and comprehensive overview of Christian leadership."

Marshall Shelley, director of the Doctor of Ministry program, Denver Seminary; contributing editor to

"In this age, leaders strive to lead well but not always biblically. This world tells us to seek our own, and yet we know this only leads to ill-gotten gains. Irving and Strauss deliver a book that is robust from a biblical and scholarly perspective, and the message resonates--to seek not our own but seek to serve. Only when we strive to be servant leaders can we truly find the ultimate meaning in our lives and make people our priority. And while many believe this, it is not always easy to live it out in our daily leadership. Readers will find the solace of serving in this book, they will see themselves and find purpose beyond who they are."

Kathleen Patterson, director, Doctorate of Strategic Leadership Program, School of Business and Leadership, Regent University

"Our fast-moving, chaotic culture demands more of leaders than ever before. In this well-researched book, Justin Irving and Mark Strauss provide deep insight with a helpful framework for anyone who values people and aspires to lead their organization through significant change."

Ken Cochrum, vice president of Global Digital Strategies, Cru

"In Leadership in Christian Perspective, Irving and Strauss provide practitioners and teachers of Christian leadership with a refreshing and compelling case for the need to practice transformational servant leadership. The authors ably integrate their expertise in biblical scholarship and leadership studies to produce an accessible book that promotes a leadership praxis rooted in personal character and authenticity, focused on empowering others, and directed toward effectiveness. With its integration of biblical and contemporary perspectives, blended with practical examples, Leadership in Christian Perspective is bound to become a new standard in the field of servant leadership, which is much needed."

Samuel D. Rima, author of Leading from the Inside Out and Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership

The Authors

  1. Justin A. Irving
    Ty Walls

    Justin A. Irving

    Justin A. Irving (PhD, Regent University) is Duke K. McCall Professor of Christian Leadership and chair of the Department of Leadership and Discipleship at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He previously served as...

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  2. Mark L. Strauss
    Louise Ziegler

    Mark L. Strauss

    Mark L. Strauss (PhD, University of Aberdeen) has a passion for teaching the Bible and has taught principles for reading and applying the Bible to students in undergraduate, graduate, and church settings. He is University Professor of New Testament at Bethel...

    Continue reading about Mark L. Strauss