Monday, May 5, 2008

Naïve Faith in Leadership

I often encounter in ministry what I would term “naïve faith” as opposed to “mature faith”. Naïve faith is a faith in outcomes (e.g. “I have faith that God will heal me”), while mature faith is a faith in the God of outcomes (e.g. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” Job 13:15). Yet in the leadership literature, I repeatedly come across an attitude to leadership that would seem close to naïve faith. Here are a few examples. Oswald Sanders states that “faith is vision”, where faith merely refers to “the goal” (Sanders J O 1994:55,56). Bobby Clinton considers that faith refers to a “God-given vision” that is about “some future plan” (Clinton J R 1988:117); while Walter Wright defines faith as “a vision that makes a difference ... seeing tomorrow so powerfully that it shapes today” (Wright W C 2000:66). It is not hard to see that this is, in each case, a faith in outcomes. QUESTION: Is it possible to distinguish such an approach to leadership from naïve faith? How would Christian leadership look different with mature faith? The photo shows Bobby Clinton’s The Making of a Leader.

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