Divine Empowerment of Leaders

Divine Empowerment of Leaders, Study of Luke(Page 24)

By Allen Quist 

Application to Contemporary Studies

Thayer defines the Greek word ‘power’ (dunamis G1411) used in scripture as “strength, power, or ability.” Northouse defines “power” as “the capacity or potential to influence” (Northouse 6). These two definitions compare the essential of what power is—capacity. The two definitions contrast in their source: Biblical “power” comes from God’s Spirit, while Northouse’s “power” comes from either position power coming from the organizational hierarchy or personal power coming from the follower—it is power by permission (Northouse 4). Northouse’s power is more a capacity to control, while Biblical power is a force flowing from God into or through the leader or both.

Divine empowerment of leadership can be part of the trait leadership theory; the ultimate leadership power rests within God, not the human leader. In contrast, divine empowerment of leadership can be part of process leadership theory; the leadership power is available to anyone who is willing to be a bondservant to Christ (Acts 2:18). The theme throughout the study of Acts 2 is the outpouring of the Spirit on anyone who will accept Christ, regardless of ethnicity, age, or gender.

The divine empowered leader will be one involved in assuring opportunities are available to every qualified person including disenfranchised people. In keeping with the “others” concern of divine empowered leaders, they will also be working hard to develop followers to reach their God-given potential. This is natural for divinely empowered leaders, since they are conduits of God’s love for people. Significantly, the flow of God’s love for people through the empowered leader gives the leader a long-term view of today’s situation. They see the follower through the eyes of what the follower can be.

A comparable contemporary leadership theory similar to divine empowerment of Christian leaders is transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is “the process whereby an individual engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower” (Northouse 170). Transformational leadership compares to divine empowerment of leadership in the focus on helping the follower to grow. The two theories contrast in the motivation for the effort. The transformational leader may want to help the follower for altruistic reasons or simply to help himself of herself—a transformed follower should be more profitable. The divine empowered leader’s motivation flows from the Spirit bringing glory to Christ. As stated earlier, Luke provides the purpose of the power of the Spirit, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8b; Montague 273). That witness may be by spoken or written words, or the witness may be through the eyes, countenance, tone of voice, decisions, approachability, and other nonverbal communication. From this study, the message seems to be clear—divine-empowerment of leaders is the result of leaders abandoning themselves to the sovereignty and leadership of Christ and allowing the Spirit’s power to flow through the leaders as God’s servants.

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