Shalom Leadership By Zenet Maramara
A Steward Leader Pursues Shalom Leadership
The steward leader approach is closest to shalom leadership. Bakke Graduate University describes shalom leadership where the leader pursues reconciling relationships between people, people and God, people and their environment, and people and themselves. The leader works toward the well-being, abundance, and wholeness of the community as well as individuals. Cornelius Plantinga in his book, Not the Way It is Supposed To Be, describes Biblical shalom this way:
In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight–a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Saviour opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.
The concept of the steward leader suggests a comprehensive way of looking at transformational leadership, one that seeks shalom in all areas of life and relationships. It embraces a fuller vision of biblical stewardship that takes into account social responsibility, public engagement, care of God’s creation, in addition to personal piety and worship of God. The God of abundance promises his people a life of flourishing in all its dimensions.
How can the steward leader theology in light of shalom and transformational leadership, inform our practice of development?
In John 10:10 Jesus says that he came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Scarcity mentality has no place in development work. God already provided all the resources needed to fulfill his kingdom work. What hinders us is our lack of trust in God who is able to infinitely supply all our needs according to the riches of his glory in Jesus Christ.
Christian development workers ought to faithfully model and live out this faith. It must reflect in the message that we communicate to our people and those whom we encourage to partner with us. Our choice of fundraising methods and strategies show dependence on God, the ultimate provider and not based on manipulation and worldly tactics.
But it must start within our inner persons and radiate that peace (biblical shalom) that will influence our co-workers, the people in the community that we serve as well as our external publics. The development professional becomes an agent of transformation in the workplace and their larger sphere of influence. A visible flourishing in the culture of the ministry will reveal better stewarding of resources, people and organization. It will express itself in more giving, generosity and raising more stewards who are rich towards God.
As the steward leader pursues shalom leadership, there will be better conflict management and transformation in the workplace. The development professional connects ministry partners and supporters with God and their resources. The steward leader who pursues shalom in all areas of relationships has the potential to break through the generosity revival that can lead to the final ushering of the kingdom of God.
Dr. Zenet Maramara is the director of the MBA program at Asian Theological Seminary, Manila, Philippines. She is also the president of the Christian Stewardship Association.
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