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From Steward to Steward Leader By D’Arcy Dretke Maher

Transforming from a Steward to a Steward Leader: What is the Process?

We are all stewards, and some are called to be leaders. This premise is examined and developed by R. Scott Rodin in The Steward Leader: Transforming People, Organizations and Communities. Rodin posits that leadership emerges through a process of daily transformation (2010, p. 7). But what is happening inside the transformation sequence? What are the components? Does a catalyst exist and is it possible for one to influence the internal renovation process?

A Vanguard for Beauty

Rodin’s work suggests there are four relationships which one must address: relationship with God, relationship with self, relationship with others, and relationship with creation (p. 93). Stewardship of creation may also extend to the theory that one must be a vanguard for beauty. To perceive it, identify it, to celebrate its existence, and to create space for beauty may well be a stewardship responsibility. Would this engagement with beauty propel one’s transformation?

Aesthetic Experiences and Leadership

If aesthetic experience were a continuum, with beauty on one end, horror or suffering would be on the opposite. Just as one might promote or welcome beauty, there is equal benefit to engage with suffering so that one might experience the redemptive presence of Christ at work in and through situations. This points to the truth that all aesthetic experiences are full of meaning (Choi, 2019) and are able to be personally instructive; if they are not leveraged for meaning, their muteness creates a knowledge deficit (Taylor, 2002), unable to inform transformation.

Answering Questions through Research

Christian Leadership Alliance has been selected as a participating organization in a formal research study because of the leadership represented within the membership, along with the curious minds that are keen to learn about research trends and results. The research launches an inquiry which is part of a supervised protocol in Columbia International University’s Organizational Leadership PhD program. There are many leadership studies that attempt to qualitatively understand the components of transformation, but this research will be ground-breaking because it is a quantitative model that will weigh the impact of engagement with beauty against both stewardship and leadership elements to observe the presence of a correlation as a mediating role.

Including Christian Leadership Alliance, a total of seven organizations, national and international, are participating in the study.

To participate in this research, please follow the link to an online survey. Three instruments have been combined into a single survey with the approval of the authors. The final survey contains 43 items and will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Take the Survey: Transformation & Aesthetic Experience

The timing for this survey will be now through August 15, 2021. Participant identity will be kept anonymous. Research findings will be made available to Christian Leadership Alliance late Spring 2022 in gratitude for inviting member participation.


D’Arcy Dretke Maher is the former Executive Director for the Evangelical Press Association and currently serves as an educational leader in Asia.


  • Stewardship Scale (Hernandez et al., 2015)
  • Engagement with Beauty Scale-R (Driessner, 2008)
  • Leadership Virtue Questionnaire (Riggio et al., 2010)


Choi, Y. (2019). The mediating role of the aesthetic experience between transformational leadership and innovation. Cogent Business and Management, 6(1), 1–14.

Diessner, R., Solom, R., Frost, N., Parsons, L., & Davidson, J. (2008). Engagement with beauty: Appreciating natural, artistic, and moral beauty. The Journal of Psychology, 142(3), 303-332. doi10.3200/JRLP.142.3.303-332

Hernandez, M., Guarana, C. L., Halgin, D. (2015). An empirical examination of the contextual antecedents and performance outcomes of stewardship behavior. Darden Business School, University of Virginia (in press).

Riggio, R. E., Zhu, W., Reina, C., Maroosis, J. A. (2010). Virtue-based measurement of ethical leadership: The leadership virtues questionnaire. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 62(4), 235–250.

Rodin, R.S. (2010). The Steward Leader: Transforming People, Organizations and Communities. IVP   Academic.

Taylor, S. (2002). Overcoming aesthetic muteness: Researching organizational members’ aesthetic experience. Human Relations, 55(7), 821–840.



What is Christian Leadership Alliance?

Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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