Leadership Then and Now: Exploring the Servant Leader

Sunday, October 2, 2016 | 1:00pm

What are the qualities needed to be a leader who embodies the grace, compassion, and leadership of Christ? Where do you find your models of leadership?

This 3-part discussion series will focus on three courageous and effective American leaders of the early and mid-twentieth century who are no longer household names, but whose stories of Christ-like devotion to the welfare of others are still timely and inspiring in the early twenty-first century. The three figures are John Gilbert Winant, a man of high principles who served as U.S. Ambassador to England as World War II escalated and walked the fine line of supporting Churchill and the British cause while also honoring Roosevelt’s pledged neutrality, putting the public good ahead of personal ambition and gain; George C. Marshall, Jr., U.S. Army Chief of Staff during World War II, and architect of the Marshall Plan to rebuild countries devastated by the war, including both our allies and our former enemies in his role as Secretary of State under Harry S. Truman; and A. Phillip Randolph, labor and civil rights activist, who organized and presided over the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and later led the 1963 March on Washington.

While our overarching concern is the nature of good, morally based leadership, we will begin our conversation by asking how the public roles of these three men reflected or paralleled elements of Jesus Christ’s life and teachings, especially the concept of leadership as service and obedience. In addition, we will consider the extent to which the particular conditions of wartime and societal conflict created opportunities for these men to manifest their special gifts and to focus national attention on the people whose plight they strove to relieve. Finally, in order to broaden our discussion, we will ask participants to contribute examples from their own reading and experiences of additional men and women, past and present, who manifest qualities of strong, selfless leadership.

This series is intended for people interested in both history and the political scene today, especially those who may feel troubled or discouraged by the current character of political discourse. One benefit of studying examples from the past of remarkable leaders during troubling times is to remind ourselves that the highest standards of leadership must remain our goal even and especially amid the particular conditions and challenges of today’s world.

In discussing the achievements and special character of these and additional people, we will also consider how the difficulties of our present world may be different and what makes for great leaders in our nation and the world today. What is the role of grace in dealing with the problems that confront those in leadership positions today? Who and where are current leaders who reflect Christian values, either implicitly or explicitly, in their work? What can we do as concerned citizens to find and support them?

Our discussions will run for three concurrent Sundays in October:
October 2: Overview and John Gilbert Winant
October 9: George Marshall
October 16: A. Phillip Randolph

We recommend reading before each session on both the primary figures and additional personal examples, even if preparation mainly involves a search engine. For the primary figures, we recommend in particular the following works: sections on Winant from Citizens of London by Lynne Olson; and the sections on Marshall and Randolph from The Road to Character by David Brooks.

This program is the first in a planned ongoing Sunday Brown Bag Conversations on Leadership offered after the 11:15 am service.

Date and time: Sundays, October 2, 9, 16, 1–2:15 pm
Facilitators: Edie Ching and Karen Miles
Registration: No fee; all are welcome. Sign-up required. Please contact Registrations
Recommended Materials: Citizens of London by Lynne Olson and The Road to Character by David Brooks

  • Admission
    • Free
  • Dates Offered
    • January 1, 1970 |