Sunday, March 26, 2006

Big Man Leadership

The problem I described yesterday is not confined to the United States. Excessive dependence on hierarchical, charismatic leadership is also a serious problem in Africa, where people look for a big man to follow. In return for their allegiance, the big man is expected to care for them. This is the reason why political corruption is so endemic in Africa. When a person gets to a position of power, they are expected to usethat power to care for their family and supporters is normal. This is normal in African society.

The church is growing fast in Africa, but corruption is not retreating. I expect that part of the reason is the church leadership model being taught by Western missionaries. Mega churches have the same ‘big man’ leadership concept, where one person leads and the rest follow. To be part of the solution in Africa, churches will have to find a leadership model that does not depend on a “big man”. African churches should be adopting a shared leadership model that encourages church members to take responsibility for their own life.

Only when the church has adopted a different leadership model will it be able to challenge the ‘big man” concept and the associated corruption that cripples African development.

1 comment:

Ted Gossard said...

Ron. Yes. Team leadership. Team commitment. Each doing their work. So important in getting away from an unhealthy dependence on one person. Thanks.