The Good Samaritan as example of Christian leadership


One of the ways in which Christian’s develop a particular  understandings of ‘Christian’ leadership is through a study of biblical character.

A quick look suggests that the following names are often in or near the top ten of favourites: Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Gideon, Solomon, David, Daniel, Esther, Nehemiah, Jesus, Peter, Paul.

I guess it might depend on the type of ‘leadership’ that one might want to talk about as to whom you might choose. Nehemiah is a great favourite for churches involved in building projects! In turn a quick Google search (of course we do not do that in serious research) indicates that there are 4, 5, 10 and even 12 things, principles, characteristic we can learn from Nehemiah.

Of course none of these characters n the bible are presented in books entitled – ‘A Guide to Effective Leadership’ and we have to deuce from narratives ‘principles’ and ‘practices’. In turn the fact that we might choose a character to develop an understanding of leadership suggests that we already have an understanding of leadership in mind that they can as it were ‘illustrate’. So some biblical views on leadership derived from biblical characters are therefore nothing more than general views on leadership illustrated from a text.

I recently suggested at a Christian leadership conference in Norway that the Good Samaritan was an example of Christian leadership. People seemed a little surprised. Why did I not choose someone like Nehemiah?

Using the general method that can be used of biblical characters I suggested that I could defend my choice because the Samaritan illustrates many of the qualities and characteristic we might look for in a good leaders e.g:

  1. Is influential (to this day people talk about others being a Good Samaritan … seldom an Effective Nehemiah)
  2. Sees what needs done
  3. Wiling to take risks
  4. Gets things done
  5. Can manage resource
  6. Works with others
  7. Has a strategy for the future
  8. Demonstrates self care

I did not, however, chose him for any of these reasons but rather because:

  1. His life was lived at the crossroads of loving God and loving neighbour (Not an idea that appears in many books on leadership)
  2. He was a non typical choice (bit of a point in the story)
  3. He was compassionate rather than good (The Samaritan is never described as good in the story – the Lawyer, Priest, and Levite are the good people in the story)

For me at least this brings a bit of a different perspective on ‘Christian’ leadership.

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