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Biblical Leaders: All Too Human
- Course Dates: Thu 30 January 2020, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Leaders aren’t perfect; neither are characters in the Bible. That’s why biblical leaders are the perfect models for leadership case studies.
Using the narratives of three biblical leaders- Abraham, Moses and Esther- as well as contemporary leadership studies and literary analysis, this course will inspire us to reflect on leadership, then and now.
One of the best ways to explore leadership is through case studies of people who we admire and strive to emulate despite (or perhaps even because of) their imperfections. In this course, we will explore three such characters from the Hebrew Bible, using biblical narrative alongside contemporary leadership theory to understand their challenges:
1) Abraham: The Power of Both/And Thinking
The first half of Genesis can be read as God’s search for a human partner, in which God unsuccessfully tries several models of partnership (e.g. Adam and Eve, Noah) before finally making a covenant with Abraham. We will explore the hypothesis that the partner God seeks needs to demonstrate BOTH a commitment to God AND a commitment to other human beings.
2) Moses: Being an Insider/Outsider
Leadership theory teaches that many great leaders are both insiders and outsiders concerning the community they lead. This is certainly the case for Moses, born a Hebrew but raised in an Egyptian household. We will study excerpts from the Book of Exodus to see how Moses utilized his insider/outsider status to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and take “the Egypt” out of the Israelites.
3) Esther: Leading without Authority
“Leadership” and “authority” are different phenomenon, and it is not only possible to lead without formal authority, but sometimes this is the only way to achieve the desired goal. The Book of Esther is a classic case of a woman with no formal authority to lead, who draws on alternative leadership skills (e.g. persuasion, positioning, and emotional intelligence) to save her people – and inspire us to lead without authority in our own lives.
In collaboration with The Centre for Encountering the Bible