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ML 113 -- Winter 2000  

Bethel Theological Seminary

Mark W. McCloskey                                                 

Office: A106; 651-635-8592

e-mail: markbts@aol.com


Transformational Leadership

Course Description:

This course presents, examines and seeks to apply a broad range of information crucial to leadership effectiveness. A model for transformational leadership will be presented and applied to a variety of ministry leadership roles and diverse cultural settings.

The St. Paul intensive will feature a combination of traditional lectures, group discussion, and examination of case studies. Students will contribute to the intensive by being prepared to offer insights and analysis of leadership theory and practice based on assigned readings and interactive discussions.

Because transformational leadership is an interdisciplinary subject, special attention will be given to integrating information from The Center for Biblical and Theological Foundations, as well as The Center for Spiritual and Personal Formation.

Learner Outcomes:

By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Critically examine the nature of transformational leadership in a variety of cultural and ministry settings.
  2. Address the similarities and differences between a biblical approach to leadership and contemporary literature on leadership not written from an explicitly biblical perspective.
  3. Articulate with conceptual clarity and biblical depth, the relationships, roles, responsibilities, and results of transformational leadership.
  4. Utilize a vocabulary to discuss transformational leadership in light of the Bible and contemporary literature.
  5. Begin to develop a personal theology and philosophy of transformational leadership.
  6. Articulate the distinction between leadership and management, while valuing both.
  7. Manifest a growing appreciation for your present capacity (strengths and limitations) to provide transformational leadership in a variety of cultural and ministry settings.
  8. Design, develop and begin to implement a personal plan for continuing development as a transformational leader.
  9. Begin to use research and reference tools to further your life-long learning in the area of leadership formation and practice.

Course Material:

Required Materials

          The Bible. At least two English translations.

Ford, Leighton. Transforming Leadership. Downerís Grove: InterVarsity, 1992. Isbn 0-8308-1831-6.

Goleman, Daniel. "What Makes a Leader." Harvard Business Review, reprint 98606.

(Nov-Dec 1998) 92-102.

Kotter, John P. A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs from Management. New York: Free Press, 1990. Isbn 0-02-918465-7.

________. Leading Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing, 1996. Isbn 0-87584-747-1.

Lewis, Phillip V. Transformational Leadership: A New Model for Total Congregational Involvement. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1996. ISBN 0805412395

Self-Selected Reading

Select a book that addresses leadership from a (a) cross-cultural perspective, (b) multi-cultural perspective, (c) global perspective, or (d) diversity issues including but not limited to gender, race, generation, and ethnicity. A list of possible resources will be posted. If you choose a resource under 100 pages, please supplement your choose with additional reading from another resource.


  1. Reading Assignments and Discussion Forums: See Course Schedule for Due Dates
  2. A reading assignment will be assigned for most weeks. These assignments are to be completed in a timely manner. Students will participate in three discussion forums during the course; two forums in the pre-campus work and one in the post-campus. The first forum will invite students to compare and contrast perspectives from Fordís Transformational Leadership and Kotterís A Force for Change. The second will involve interaction with respect to Lewisí Transformational Leadership and Kotterís Leading Change. The third forum will invite students to discuss the application Matthew 20:20-28 to leadership issues. At a minimum, students will respond once based on the professorís directions and a second time in response to another student in each of the discussion forums.

  3. Web Site Reviews: First Five Due by Jan. 31
  4. Second Five Due by Mar. 7

    Students will visit a minimum of 10 leadership oriented web sites during the quarter. A list of leadership oriented web links will be provided for you, though it is recommended that the student utilizes sites beyond this list as well. Please email the following to the professor in a Word document: 1) Site Name, 2) Site Address or URL, and 3) a brief critique of the site visited (i.e., what sites did you like or not like, and why?) The first 5 sites are to be reviewed between January 2nd and February 2nd, the second 5 sites are to be reviewed between February 19th and March 9th.

  5. Class Participation (on-campus in St. Paul): February 12-16
  6. A significant portion of each intensive class session will be devoted to discussing the readings, and using the readings as a basis for examining case studies. Therefore, it is expected that all reading from the pre-campus assignments will be completed before the St. Paul intensive sessions

  7. Plan for Leadership Development: Due by March 9
  8. Each student will design a plan for his/her development as a transformational leader. This plan will include (A) Your top 10 life-long leadership questions; (B) An initial assessment of your strengths and weaknesses as a transformational leader; and (C) A list of the top 10 leadership resources you plan to utilize in the next 1 - 3 years (mentors, books, leadership tools, psychometric tools, tapes, web sites, classes, conferences, etc.).

  9. Self-Selected Assignment: Due by February 23

Pick any one of the following assignments. The intent of this assignment is to identify an area of leadership theology, theory or practice that is meaningful to you, and further explore this area. If no selections are to your liking, feel free to negotiate an appropriate assignment with me.

Selection A. Design a leadership interview. Give the interview to at least three present leaders. In 5-6 pages (1200-1500 words), identify and discuss the leadership practices employed by these individuals. Make an initial assessment of each leaderís strengths and recommend a course of action to address each leaderís weak areas. (Please include your leadership interview).

Selection B. Identify and discuss cross-cultural, multicultural, and diversity issues (race, gender, ethnicity and generation) as they relate to the practice of spiritual leadership. Discuss the relevance of these issues to the 4-R model of leadership. (5-6 pages)

Selection C. Team Assignment - In teams of 3-4, visit a leadership site (check with professor by email before you select a site). Design a 360 degree interview process that identifies (1) the organizational leadership climate-culture (2) relevant organizational leadership practices, and (3) the preferred style of leadership in the enterprise. In 5-6 pages, write a group report on your findings. (Only one report is required. All group members will get the same grade). Please include your survey.

Selection D. Select one aspect of the 4-R leadership model (e.g., coach, character, emotional-well being, strategy-formulating), or a particular dimension of diversity (age, gender, race, ethnicity) and develop an annotated bibliography for this topic. This bibliography should include at least 25 references. Each reference should include a brief (50-75 words) well organized and clear description of the resource, along with a rationale for its importance, relevance and usefulness. This assignment could include books, journal articles, web sites, psychometric tools, tapes, classes, conferences, etc. (no page limit as long as 25 books/resources are discussed)

Selection E. Select a biblical character (not Jesus, please) and analyze his/her life and leadership with respect to the 4-R model. You may select a character already discussed in class (Moses, Esther, Nehemiah) or another biblical character. If you select a character already discussed in class, please add new information and insight in your analysis. (5-6 pages)

Selection F. Identify, compare and contrast (a) managerial functions, and (b) leadership functions in ministry leadership. Cite biblical references for each (i.e. Moses, Joshua, Nehemiah, Timothy). In your opinion, can one person adequately perform both functions? Why or why not? (5-6 pages)

Selection G. In light of the 4-R leadership model, discuss ministry leadership in a global/international context. For instance, what leadership styles and practices are trans-national, and which are particular to a specific nation? Give specific examples and cite your sources. Consider the following resources on the World Wide Web: Department of State International Information Program http://www.usinfo.state.gov/ International Relations Resources from Ylvisaker Library, Concordia College, Moorhead, MN http://www.cord.edu/dept/referenc/internationalrelations.htm and Foreign Affairs Guide to International Relations on the Internet http://www.foreignaffairs.org/links.html.

Selection H. In light of the 4-R leadership model, write an auto-biographical paper, (5-6 pages) reflecting on your life-long development as a leader. Address each of the following topics (Please check with me before you choose this assignment):

How have your heredity and early childhood experiences contributed (or diminished) your development as a transformational leader?
Given an understanding of your personality and values based on at least two psychometric tools (e.g. Gallup's StrengthFinder, MBTI, 16PF, DISC, CPI, IDAK, etc.), evaluate your stylistic tendencies as a leader, elaborating on the strengths and limitations of your stylistic preferences and values with specific reference to a particular leadership role(s).
What role (if any) has failure played in your development as a leader?  Please elaborate.
What do you feel are your greatest strengths as a transformational leader?  Elaborate.  Your toughest challenges?  Elaborate.

5. Major Integrative Paper: Due by March 2

Drawing from the Bible, the class readings, class interaction, your life experience, and any other outside resources, write a 12-15 page (2500-3000 word) integrative paper. You may choose from the following options:

Option #1:  Compare and contrast Fordís Transforming Leadership and/or Lewisí Transformational Leadership with Kotterís two books. Address the following issues/concerns in your paper:

a.  In what way, if any, do Ford or Lewis and Kotter differ in leadership theory, assumption, philosophy, and practice?

b.  In what ways are they similar in theory, assumption, philosophy, and practice?

c.  Does Kotter write from a biblical world view? Defend your answer.

d.  To what degree is Kotter applicable to a ministry setting? How is the church like and not like a business or corporation? Defend your answer.

e.  To what degree is Ford applicable to secular leadership settings (i.e., business, corporate, military, education, etc.)? How is a business like a church and not like a church? Is transformational leadership a uniquely biblical concept? Why or why not?

Option #2: Articulate a biblical theology and personal philosophy of transformational leadership. This would include, but not be limited to an analysis and discussion of:

a.  Foundational theological assumptions about God, Humankind, The Bible, The Church, etc.

b.  A set of universal leadership principles, stated, illustrated, defended and referenced (i.e. Where did you find this? Is it your original thought, or are you articulating a biblical principle or principle grounded in contemporary research - or both?)

c.  The characteristics of a healthy biblical transformational leader, regardless of the person leading (age, gender, race) or the leadership setting (U.S. cross-cultural, mono-cultural or multicultural, or international). Defend your answer.

Option #3: You have been given the opportunity to spend one year preparing a group of women and men to assume a major (Leader) spiritual leadership role (choose a role, i.e. head pastor, church planter, president of a Christian organization, etc.). You have been put in charge of their preparation and have been given an unlimited budget! Fifty men and women, all eager and ready to Lead have volunteered to enroll in your leadership development program. There are only 10 Leadership positions open at the end of year one, but 30 more positions may open in year two. Your job is to identify and develop the "top 10," while preparing 30 others to eventually Lead. You must also identify the 10 who will probably not Lead. Discuss the following:

a.  What educational and developmental resources (books, web sites, journals, outside experts, mentors, etc.) would you use? Defend your choices.

b.  What kind of people would you enlist to help in this development process (i.e. areas of expertise and experience)? Defend your answer.

c.  To what experiences would you expose the students? Why?

d.  How would you structure the time, by the day, week, and month? What percentage of time would be devoted to what, and in what sequence? Defend your allocation of time and sequencing of educational and experiential inputs.

e.  How would you identify your "top 10"? Your "last 10"? (e.g., what objective/subjective criteria would you use to differentiate between those ready to Lead (top 10), those who are not ready to Lead (last 10), and those who eventually might be ready to Lead (the 30). Defend your criteria.

  1. Contemporary Leadership in Action: Due by March 9

Prepare a two-page description of two contemporary leaders in action (one page for each leader). Using categories from the 4-R model, describe these leaders as they (a) act out of their relationships and person (e.g., relationship with God, DICE + 1), or (b) assume a variety of leadership roles (e.g., coach, spokesperson, change agent or direction setter), or (c) as they demonstrate various leadership behaviors (e.g., vision casting, strategy formulating, aligning or motivating). You may draw from contemporary sources such as newspapers, journals, television, the cinema, web-sites, news magazines, etc., to present at least two contemporary examples of leadership, for better or worse. These leaders may come from any place in the world, and a variety of contexts (e.g., church, business, military, or education, etc.) Please include your sources.



Web Sit Reviews and Class Participation..........10%

Timely Completion of Reading and Participation in Two Small Groups (Discussion Folder)..........15%

Major Integrative Paper..........35%

Self-Selected Assignment..........20%

Contemporary Leadership in Action..........10%

Plan for Leadership Development..........10%

Grading Philosophy and Point Criteria

A total of 100 points is possible. Each assignment/grading category reflects both the percentage of the class grade, as well as the number of points possible for the assignment/category. A final grade of "A" (95-100) is reflective of an extremely high demonstrated quality level for graduate studies with reference to the areas of (a) class preparation-participation, and (b) accomplishment of the course assignments according to the stated criteria (passed out in class) for each assignment. A final grade of "B" (85-87) is reflective of an average demonstrated quality level for graduate studies for these categories. A final grade of "C" (75-77) is reflective of a below average demonstrated quality level for graduate studies for these categories.

The studentís course grade will be the total of all assignments, based on the scale below:

    B+ 88-91 C+ 78-81 D+ 68-71
A 95-100 B 85-87 C 75-77 D 65-67
A- 92-94 B- 82-84 C- 72-74 D- 62-64
            F Below 62


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Last modified: February 16, 2001