Leadership: Coping with Cultural Corruption -- By: Kenneth O. Gangel

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 144:576 (Oct 1987)
Article: Leadership: Coping with Cultural Corruption
Author: Kenneth O. Gangel


Leadership: Coping with Cultural Corruption

Kenneth O. Gangel

Department Chairman and Professor of Christian Education
Dallas Theological Seminary

As the 20th century edges toward a close, there seems to be a growing anxiety about the availability and quality of leader-ship in the world at large, as well as in the Christian community. Several recent books on the subject depict corporate leaders as teachers, mentors, exemplars, and forgers of values, but there is no agreement as to the solution of the leadership crisis. In their popular book, Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge, Warren Bennis and Burton Nanus complain that leadership again “hath been broken into pieces.”1 Today’s world is characterized by a chronic crisis of governance—a pervasive incapacity of organizations to cope with the expectations of their constituencies.

Part of the excitement in recent years has been caused by enormously popular nonfiction works such as the autobiography of the chairman of Chrysler’s board, which is likely to earn the top nonfiction sales rank three years in a row, a feat not achieved since 1952, 1953, and 1954 when that slot was held by the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Already Iacocca is the all-time bestselling, adult general-interest, nonfiction, hardcover book in history.

Hard on its heels are The One Minute Manager, by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson (1981; reprint, New York:

Berkley Books, 1982—$1.9 million); In Search of Excellence, by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr. (New York: Harper & Row, 1982—$1.38 million); Megatrends, by John Naisbitt (New York: Warner Books, 1982—$900,000); What They Dont Teach You at Harvard Business School, by Mark McCormick (New York: Bantam Books, 1985—$536,000); and A Passion for Excellence, by Thomas J. Peters and Nancy Austin (New York: Random House, 1985—$515,000).2

But books are only one indicator. New centers for leadership studies are springing up across the country at such diverse institutions as West Point, Mount St. Mary’s College of Los Angeles, and Dallas Theological Seminary. The National Association of Community Leadership now includes more than 200 local organizations across cities and towns of America. There are at least two magazines entitled Leadership—one published by Christianity Today, Inc., and the other by the Alliance for Leadership Development located in Washington, DC.

In one sense this is good news for the church of Jes...

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