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Leadership Development Model

Purpose Statement

“To develop students who are developing in Christian character, who understand leadership as calling, and who possess the competencies necessary to be faithful leaders in church and society.”

Context of Messiah College and Christian Leadership

Some Christians are disaffected from "leadership" by the poor examples of some domineering, pretentious, or selfish "Christian" leaders. To them, the term "Christian leader" is an oxymoron. Others define Christian leadership as serving God and others through acts of service such as feeding the hungry, tutoring, digging a well for a village, or building a house for the homeless. There is a lack of consensus if these noble acts are leadership or service.

At Messiah College, we are committed to preparing students for Christ-like leadership. Christ-like leadership includes persuasion and service and is best defined as purposeful influence. We are to care for others as Jesus cares for us. We are to share ourselves as Jesus shared Himself. We are to lead others with compassion, respect and love as Jesus, by example, leads us.

Almost every person is a follower, accountable to some organization, a board, or supervisor. We believe that people will move in and out of the roles of leader and follower within organizations and communities throughout their life. These roles change with the context and situations of their life. For the Christian, leadership and followership become components of the same subject, and each of us plays both roles simultaneously regardless of the context of our life. One cannot become a Christ-like leader until he/she primarily follows Christ. Jesus is a unique example of this when he came to earth as a man to be a servant leader, following and obeying the will of the father while at the same time influencing others. Christ-like leaders first follow Christ and then influence others to come with them to follow Jesus. 

Guiding Assumptions

The following Guiding Assumptions provide the basis for the Messiah College Leadership Development Model:

  1. Leadership transcends role, title, and position and is best defined as purposeful influence.
  2. God calls all Christians to influence; therefore, God calls all Christians to lead.
  3. Leadership can be taught, developed, and learned.
  4. Leadership is a result of nurturing character, understanding calling, and developing competencies.
  5. Leadership development efforts occur in many contexts at the College.

The Three Dimensions of Leadership Development

Christian Character (“Who Am I?”)

We desire to develop students who believe that lasting positive influence depends on the kind of person they are becoming. The goal of Christian character development is to shape the intention of the heart and mind and for students to become like Christ in their actions. It is:

  • Servanthood: Students will be humble in their use of authority and power, and will attend to the needs of their followers.
  • Integrity: Students will practice honesty with themselves, God, and others, resulting in behaviors that are consistent with their beliefs.
  • Teachable Spirit: Students will make themselves available to God for the ongoing transformation of the heart that produces the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, etc.). They will admit mistakes and shortcomings, knowing that authenticity and transparency is part of the growth process.
  • Valuing all People: Students will treat all people as image bearers of God, value the diversity of each person, and work for social justice and equality in organizations and interpersonal relationships.

Calling(“Where Am I Going?”)

We desire for all Messiah students to have a vision and passion for the practice of Christ-like leadership. Central to understanding leadership as calling is the belief that Christ-like leadership is possible for ordinary human beings through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. It is:

  • The Call to Lead: Students will understand leadership as influence and that God calls all Christians to lead as Christ led.
  • Self Awareness & Spiritual Formation: Students will be aware of the values, emotions, attitudes, and beliefs that motivate them to take action and will consciously be working toward aligning these elements with a Christ-centered perspective.
  • Vision Casting: Students will articulate a vision for the future that is rooted in an understanding of their gifts, talents, and abilities and God’s calling to influence others.

Competencies  (“How Do I Get There?”)

We intend to develop students who will successfully lead in a complex global world. Leadership competencies are knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAO’s) that are observable and measurable.  Leadership competencies are not all-inclusive or job or task specific, but rather they provide a more general description of the KSAOs that transcend context and role.

  • Communication: Students will actively listen to others and communicate effectively.
  • Collaboration: Students will work with others in a common effort, building cohesive teams that strive to accomplish the group’s goals through shared responsibility, authority, and accountability.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Students will treat others and themselves with respect and will effectively resolve conflicts with civility recognizing that controversy often leads to new, creative solutions to problems.
  • Time Management: Students will effectively manage their time and delegate tasks to others.
  • Goal Setting:  Students will set clear, measurable goals and strive to reach them.
  • Decision-Making: Students will be effective decision-makers through defining problems, developing alternatives implementing solutions and assessing outcomes.
  • Intercultural Competence: Students will be aware of how their culture shapes their understanding of themselves, other people, their immediate context, the world, and will have knowledge of different cultural practices and will demonstrate genuine and constructive engagement in cross-cultural contexts.