With regard to advocacy or innovation as best enabling a Christian leader’s influence over culture, it is important to recognize that these qualities are by no means mutually exclusive. There is in fact within advocacy the enormous potential to generate innovation, and through direct and indirect avenues. As the leader promotes Christianity within inherently unique settings, they are empowered to perceive where change may be most instrumental. Then, there is the inescapable component of how the leadership inspires innovation, or innovative thought, in others. In advocacy there is the core element of encouragement; the Christian leader promotes Christ through an active support of the involvement and commitment of others (Lingenfelter, 2008, p. 147). This being the reality, followers are motivated to actively contribute to the Christian community and spirit, and enjoy the freedom to consider new possibilities and perspectives. To advocate, then, is to invite innovation, so an emphasis on the former is more desirable within the leader.
Such an approach also overcomes the potential issue of the Christian leader as unduly concerned with innovation, simply because, with innovative elements arising from the entirety of the advocacy, the process is more organic and conducive to trust. Whether the new thinking is generated by the leader or by the followers, that it arises from the shared commitment to promote Christ validates the integrity of it.
The pressure point of implementation as intrinsic to Christian leadership appears daunting; certainly, the intensity and complexity of the relationship between the leader and the followers do not translate to an effortless process by which actual direction occurs, even as such direction is essential for the successful Christian community. At the same time, a true understanding of the nature of Christian leadership eases implementation, because Christian leadership and servant leadership are virtually synonymous. As the servant, the leader generates the crucial component of the direction as being embraced by the followers; the leader leads, but the underlying ethic is such that resistance to typical leadership is eviscerated because the trust levels are so in place.
The concept of servant leadership as delineated by Greenleaf is by no means confined to Christian leadership; it is a non-sectarian theory applicable to all circumstances, and one in which the actual leadership is guided and defined by the leader’s commitment to furthering the welfare of others. The non-sectarian aspect notwithstanding, then, this is leadership intrinsically spiritual, as the life and behavior of Christ Himself exemplifies the servant leader role (Whetstone, 2013, p. 120). This same ideology is emphasized by Lingenfelter, who affirms that ministry is most enabled to guide when the minister surrenders the powers of teaching, organizing, and leading (2008, p. 140). Consequently, and ironically, implementation is best served when the processes of implementation are surrendered by the leader, and the greater empowerment of the followers goes to accomplishing the desired ends.