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Section #3

Orthodox Christian Ethical Leadership

In this section we will discuss the concepts of Ethical leadership and the
characteristics and practice of Orthodox Christian ethical leaders with
specific emphasis on creating safe organizational environments based
on love, trust, fairness, and inclusion.
Orthodox Christian Ethical Leadership
Consider the following scenario from a Greek Orthodox
A group of 50 members of an 500-family parish decided
to form their own parish about an hour away to be closer to
their homes. They asked for the blessing of the priest and
help from the parish council to get their new parish started.
Losing these 50 members would adversely and significantly
impact the stewardship income of the parish. If you were a
member of the parish council, how would you have reacted?
Would you encourage and support the start of the new parish
at the expense of your own parish?
Orthodox Ethical Leadership
“ Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your works and
glorify your Father in heaven…

...For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the
righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the
kingdom of Heaven.”
Matt 5:16-20
Orthodox Ethical Leadership
“Ethics: The discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with
moral duty and obligation.”

Ethics is at the core of the Christian faith

Ethical principles are embedded in the church traditions and are present
throughout the scriptures and the liturgical, sacramental, canonical, and
patristic life of the church
Principles Ethical Leadership
Ethical leaders 1, 2
• Are guided by altruistic values, respect for others, justice, fairness,
and honesty
• Strive to influence followers through empowerment instead of control
• Are motivated by service to others often at a significant personal
• Lead followers toward objectives – Mission-- that are in the interest of
the entire organization, its members including themselves, and the
outside community, and
• Strive to develop their own virtues

1. Northouse, P.G. (2007). Leadership Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
2. Aronson, E. (2001). Integrating leadership styles and ethical perspectives. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences,
18(4), 244–237. Retrieved from ProQuest database.
Principles of Ethical Leadership
Leadership Virtues:
“ To instill leadership character, leaders must be
trustworthy to lead.
To ensure an obedient heart, leaders cannot expect
followers to obey if they do not obey themselves.
To sensitize a leader to hearing God, to guide others,
leaders must be able to hear God themselves.” 1
1. Barna, G. (1997). Leaders on Leadership. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
Orthodox Christian Ethical Leadership

1. Icon by Victor Stoupkas, Panagia, Thessaloniki
Creating a Culture of Inclusion

“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the
members of that one body , being many, are one body, so also is
1 Corinthians 12:12

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free,
there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Jesus
Galatians 3:28
Creating a Culture of Inclusion

“There are two paths in life: The path of exclusion of persons from
our community and the path of inclusion…The path of inclusion is
the one that brings people closer to Jesus.”
Pope Francis
Creating a Culture of Inclusion
“Anybody can lead perfect people if there were any. But there aren’t any
perfect people.” 1

“The servant leader operates by a theory of justice in which the least
favored in society always benefits, or, at least, is not further deprived.” 1

1. Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. Mahwah, NJ:
Paulist Press.
Creating a Culture of Inclusion
The once homogeneous nature of the Greek Orthodox parish has been
shaping along the trends of U.S. ethnic and religious diversity. These
shifts present unique cultural, social, and religious challenges for the
parish leadership and the parishioners in general 1

Ethno-cultural diversity is often source of conflict and obstacle to
maintaining and improving the quality of parish life

1.Missios, M (2010). An exploratory study of the leadership style and practice of Greek orthodox priests in the United States.
Available from ProQuest (UMI No 3439463)
Creating a Culture of Inclusion
Ethnocentrism: “The tendency for individuals to place their own group at
the center of their observations of others, a perception that one’s culture
is better or more natural than the culture of others” 1

Ethnocentrism can be a significant obstacle in the effective leadership
and improving the quality of life of a parish because it prevents people
from fully understanding, respecting, and leveraging the world of others. 1

1 Northouse, P.G. (2007). Leadership Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Creating a Culture of Inclusion
Effective parish leaders CAN:
• Work simultaneously with people from many cultures
• Relate to people from many cultures from a position of equality rather
than culture superiority
• Articulate the vision clearly and facilitate its implementation in a multi-
culture parish 1

1.Adopted from: Northouse, P.G. (2007). Leadership Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Creating a Culture of Inclusion
Simple things we can do to make others feel included in our
community: 1
• Get to know your neighbors—learn about their families, their work,
their views
• Eliminate phrases that are divisive such as “non-member,” “non-
steward,” non-Orthodox”
• Even if we disagree with our neighbors about such things as the
position of the church on an issue, the direction of the parish, the
decisions of the parish council, the style of the priest, etc., please do
not suggest to them to “move some place else.”

1.Adopted from: Ballard, M. R. Doctrine of Inclusion. Retrieved from
Creating a Culture of Inclusion
Effective parish leaders encourage the participation of as many
parishioners of all age groups and backgrounds as possible. Research
shows that

The typical effective parish has two to three times more laity involved
in ministry leadership than the typical parish 1

1. Barna, G. (1999). Habits of Highly Effective Churches. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.
Myths About People with Disabilities
People tend to exclude people who are different or have something that is less than
most people have 1
• Myth 1: Persons with disabilities are childlike, dependent, and in need of charity or
• Myth 2: Persons with disabilities are unable to lead normal lives
• Myth 3: Persons with disabilities can only do menial or entry-level jobs, and most do
not want to work
• Myth 4: Employees with disabilities create safety risks and more difficult to work with,
are less flexible and productive than other employees
1. Adopted from: Carr-Ruffino, N. (2007). Managing Diversity. Boston, MASS: Pearson Custom Publishing
Creating an Environment of Inclusion
“Although we have come a long way from treating people with disabilities as if they
were invisible, or people and families to be pitied, or even shunned through old ideas
about stigma, much more needs to be done besides providing physical access… what
needs to be done is to help them become full members of the parish” 1
• Provide different formats for communication—larger font, assisted listening devices,
• Support to become part of the parish ministries– choir, altar servers, etc.
• Support to participate in the parish service projects
• Elected to boards and other leadership positions

1. Pappas, V. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act. Retrieved from
Women in Leadership

Prejudice or old myths question the ability and effectiveness of women
in leadership as compared to men.

As a plethora of corporate examples indicate and extensive research supports,
although there are differences in style,

“Women are no less effective at leadership, committed to their jobs, or motivated for
leadership roles than men” 1

1. Northouse, P.G. (2007). Leadership Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.