Is There A Relationship Between Spirituality, Ethics, & Leadership Preparation?

Allen and Coy argue that Spirituality leadership principles and ethics are intricately interwoven (Allen & Coy, 2004). Do you agree with this view?

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Need for Leadership Preparation?

According to Blackaby & Blackaby 2001, “spiritual leadership is moving people on God’s agenda” (p. 20). Eugene H. Peterson’s classic “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” provides an outstanding frame of reference for the study of godly living and leading.

Blackaby accentuates this perspective, “spiritual leaders know they must give an account of their leadership to God; therefore they are not satisfied merely moving toward the destination God has for them; they want to see God actually achieve his purposes through them for their generation” (p. 20). The principles and practices required to successfully apply godly living and leadership cannot be aptly understood in a vacuum. One of the key foundational principles to godly living and leadership is a clear understanding of true repentance. Peterson eloquently expressed it this way, “Repentance, the first word in Christian immigration, sets us on the way to traveling in the light. It is a rejection that is also an acceptance, a leaving that develops into an arriving, a no to the world that is a yes to God.” (p. 33).

Consequently, true repentance is a requisite to practicing godly living and leadership.

Furthermore, true repentance is not simply a one-time act that occurs at the time of regeneration, rather an intentional daily submission before God of our sins of omission and commission. The Christian faith is a walk with a community! As Apostle Paul indicates in Ephesians 4-6, this must be an intentional walk with God, through imitation of His Christlike nature. Progressive imitation of the Christlike nature of Jesus; empowers the believer to establish sustainable personal relationships with the Lord and humankind. This walk is supernaturally spearheaded by the Holy Spirit through empowerment with the gifts of the Spirit. “Ultimately, spiritual leaders cannot produce spiritual change in people; only the Holy Spirit can accomplish this” (Blackaby, 2001, p. 21).

Rebore implicates the leadership preparation process from an intentional and consciousness perspective, “the context within which the term consciousness is being used here refers to the process of reflection that is absolutely necessary if an individual is to develop a personal ethical approach to being an educational leader” (p. 19).

The secular worldview of leadership preparation and development places significant emphasis on ethical systematic and rational inquiry. Rebore articulates this worldview here, “human experience is dynamic and continually evolving, educational leaders can derive ethical norms primarily through inductive reasoning” (p. 45). This philosophical worldview of morality is synonymous with what is termed virtue. Surprenant 2010 asserts, that maxims are not adopted purely on moral inclination, but rather for “the correct reasons” (p. 166). Clearly, the spiritual and secular leadership principles are divergent. According to Kristjan Kristjansson (2006), “this paradox contains two distinct, but interrelated, paradoxes: a psychological paradox and a moral/political paradox” (p. 103).

Pivotal to developing an astute worldview of leadership principles and ethics, is developing a framework from which morality and ethics can be conceptually understood.

There has been significant discussion on whether human morality is an innate characteristic (Wilson, 1995). From a leadership perspective, Blackaby & Blackaby 2001 assert, “There is little doubt that some people display an early aptitude for leadership” (p. 32). They further retort, “Contemporary leadership writing reveals that most scholars believe leaders are both born and made” (p. 33). Consequently, many of the philosophical elements articulated assume high relevance as it relates to whether morality is innate behavior or learned and reasoned behavior. Philosophically, it affirms Surprenant’s argument of a “paradox of moral education” (p. 168). In the context of a more astute, critical, and scholarly assessment, it is imperative to articulate the relationship between leadership preparation and the God-given vision.


Allen, J. M., & Coy, D. R. (2004). Linking spirituality and violence prevention in school Counseling. Professional School Counseling, 7(5), 351.

Blackaby, H., & Blackaby, R. (2001). Spiritual leadership. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group. Global Journal of Child, 15 (1), 89-106.

Kristjansson, K. (2006). Habituated reason: Aristotle and the ’paradox of moral education, Theory and Research in Education, 4, 101-122.

Peterson, E. H. (2000). A long obedience in the same direction. Illinois: Inter Varsity Press.

Rebore, R. (2001). The ethics of educational leadership. New Jersey: Merrill Prentice-Hall.

Surprenant, C. W. (2010). Kant’s contribution to moral education: the relevance of catechistics. Journal of Moral Education, 39 (2). Retrieved July 30, 2010, from