Leadership strategies are utilized for transformational leadership to inspire followers to exceed goals and to perform beyond expectations. Transformational leaders foster positivity to transform people, teams, organizations, nations, and societies. In the last days, the expanse of leadership is on the grand screen of society.[i] At the forefront of every sphere of influence, leadership is being challenged in the Seven Mountains pillars of society such as Arts & Entertainment, Business, Education, Family, Government, Media, and Religion. However, there will be a time when an angel sounds off,
“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Revelation 11:15.
Amid each of these significant pillars in society are the changes we see in culture and morality. Can leaders maintain moral behavior, virtues, character strengths, and strong ethics while the world seems to fall apart at the seams? Faced with the proverbial wisdom of old, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light, and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.”[ii] Recently, during summer months, in business major boycott’s affected significant store chains like Target, the CEO declared, “inflation was one reason for a decline in sales during the second quarter but also noted that negative guest reaction to our Pride collection also was a contributing factor.”[iii]
How can leaders continue the march of the great commission in areas of influence to change the culture around them using the 5Is of transformational leadership? We will consider various leadership development theories in Full Range Leadership Development (FRLD) view these theories through the leadership lens from biblical characters, such as Ahab, Peter, Paul, and John at Patmos. God in all his creativity provides leadership to ultimately create and influence, let’s look at some the components of the FRLD theories in biblical leadership.
King Ahab – Laissez-Faire Leader – Psychodynamic Theory
The message of a Laissez-faire leaders is clear: Followers must be engaged for effective leadership through challenges. When looking deeper into the performance of the leader/follower relationship and their success within organizations. During the reign of King Ahab, he was an influential leader enough to get the people to sin due to passivity, manipulation, selfishness, cunningness, and a lack of charisma.[iv] He was considered the most wicked of all kings, marrying outside of the covenant and worshipping other Gods. At times, he displayed Laissez-Faire leadership. King Ahabs’ lack of relationship with his followers and ineffective leading through his wife Jezebel. King Ahab’s’ countenance of depression provided significant reason for Jezebel to conspired against Naboth an innocent man falsely accused and betrayed for his land. On the other hand, obedience is better than sacrifice, the Prophet Elijah, called by God to confront the evil beset his community at the Mount Carmel and was immediately sent by God to confront King Ahab for his wrongdoing proclaiming his future demise.[v]
Leaders facing challenging times within organizations cannot afford to be passive. With courage in our hearts, when will we call the ‘fire’ of God down in our leadership? “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”[vi] The common theme in the psychodynamic theory is leaders play critical roles in how followers think, feel, and act. The Spirit of Elijah was the anecdote to the spirit of Ahab.
Peter – Passive-Management-by-Exception
Peter, one of Jesus’ treasured disciples garners the microscope to his failures and triumphs and became a transformational leader. He was rough around the edges but taking no action unless a problem arise. A passive-management by exception of the FRLD model translates as one who will only show up to ‘fight fires.’ Peter jumps from his boat upon recognizing Jesus by the Sea of Tiberius in Galilee.[vii] Jesus takes the time with Peter to draw him from fisherman to fisher of men. Peter’s characteristics of fearfulness and inconsistency are replaced by confidence, conviction, and compassion.[viii] The Trait theory reveals the qualities of the ‘Great man” theories linked with intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, sociability to leadership effectiveness.[ix] Peter then conforms exhibiting a fundamental characteristic of servant leadership, the priority of the follower over the organization. Peter answers the call to shepherd all believers, even those professing their faith without the condition of first conforming to Jewish laws or practices. In the case of Peter, the guidance Jesus provided to Peter paid off and would explain his times of suffering and steadfastness would pay off against the ‘roaring lion’ and bring everyone into eternal glory.[x]
Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians – Active Management by Exception
On the other hand, Paul had the very opposite stance. He confronted problems head-on, writing letters to the Corinthian church and many others with encouragement and active management by exception. In the FRLD model, this leader will closely monitor the workforce and take corrective action often before and after problems arise. The leader in this model pays close attention to mistakes, complaints, failures, deviations from standards, and infractions of rules and regulations. It is essential for managers not to take on a stance of negative micro-managing to avoid stifling innovation but to be the type of leader who corrects with respect and integrity.
Let us look at several problems arising when Paul wrote the letters of correction to the Corinthian church. Paul wrote four specific notes to the church at Corinth, confronting complex issues speaking truth in love, resolutions of divisions, immorality, and pride. He stood for passion and conviction, facing sin immediately with methods and strategies. Paul’s first correction dealt with divisions amongst the brethren for those of Chloe’s household. The division dealt with Sectarianism, excessive devotion to a particular sect as a sin. He pled with them to speak the same things and be perfectly joined together in the same mindset and same judgment.[xi] The focus Paul thoroughly stressed at this moment was for the church at Corinth to keep the Cross of Jesus Christ, the message of the cross, and the saving power of God as the focal point and not get involved with divisions of sect within the newly established church.
This Active management, by exception, type of leader has the ability and responsibility to build community and a positive atmosphere of culture as a sense of destiny of the organization family, cohesively working together and getting the organization’s purposes accomplished at all costs. This leader keeps the main thing the main thing.
The second correction was that Sectarianism is carnal; the believer is expected to mature. As a baby is fed the natural milk of his mother, eventually, the baby will grow to eat solid food, for it is evident that when there is envy, strife, and divisions, then one is considered carnally minded and not spiritual.[xii] In detail, Paul explains that the church should water, work, and be warned, “I (Paul) planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.[xiii] Leadership development is a process, and management is expected to grow in competence, health, strength, and the ability to make decisions without supervision.
The Leadership layers are the goal of maturity, fruitfulness, and quality. The organization’s goal should be to grow as a family, working for one purpose as a mark of maturity. The culture dynamics of the organization grows, matures, or declines. The organizations will evolve when leaders continue to enforce their values and assumptions. Leadership creates culture in the founding stage with criteria and boundaries promoting leaders to function within the culture that was made.[xiv] Otherwise, turnaround leadership can come in to change the culture. In the case of the correction by Paul, it was to remind the people of Corinth to maintain the existing culture, grow into maturity, and not sway from what had been taught.
The goal of fruitfulness is to consider whether the organization is growing stagnant or establishing results of the work being put in by the people and the reward of fulfillment.
Lastly, the goal of building the organization is measuring quality versus quantity. When an organization is built from the ground up with the proper foundation, materials, and motives, management within this leadership effort will grow from immaturity to one all grown up and prospering in every good work. The managers, organizations, and their people are to develop confidently and know their place and confident as reigning as kings.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23.
The last correction Paul made to the Corinthian church was adultery and immorality, and the fact of the matter was that there was no remorse. Leadership and management should consider attitudes and behaviors that can contaminate its people because a “little leaven leavens the whole lump.[xv] Paul encouraged the Corinthian church not to even keep company with anyone who is in immoral behavior. Maintaining the integrity of one’s organizational department and the authenticity of the organization will require high levels of moral behavior, virtues, and character strengths in a strong work ethic of its people. Paul displayed the influence of an Idealized transformational leader, setting aside his self-interest for the group’s good and instilling pride and respect in the team members.[xvi] In this case, Paul corrected the church with an expression of judgment of incorrect moral behavior within the institute of the church. Leaders must have the courage to confront immorality and “put away from yourselves the evil person”.[xvii]
Social reality comes into play when we deal with the assumptions about the nature of human nature—the correct way for humans to relate to the character and each other, the distribution of power and the entire political process, assumptions about the meaning of life, ideology, religion, group boundaries, and culture itself.[xviii]
Today, the church and organizational leadership face more than immoral behaviors of people within the organizations but with today’s social norms due to the implementation of laws going against the morality of God. As we now know, leadership in Government, was faced with the 50-year-old decision to overturn the Supreme Court 1973 court case of Roe vs. Wade.[xix] What comes next? After Roe v. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas said that subsequent rulings, like Obergefell v. Hodges, a marriage ruling based upon the 14th Amendment, and that these statutes had established the precedent to enforce protections against same-sex marriage. He agreed with his opinion that federal abortion rights should be overturned, writing that Obergefell and related cases ought to be given further consideration. We will witness the reversal of these incorrect rules because Paul, as a fearless ambassador, condemned immorality in the Corinthian church and spoke out against sin on behalf of God?[xx] Time will tell.
The Letters to the Churches – Contingent Reward
“Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.”
Finally, the FRLD model transactional contingent reward is active and generally reflects an effective leader before his followers. The Beloved John, exiled on the Island of Patmos, is visited by Jesus to write instructions to the church.
The Churches in Asia Minor were being highlighted for corrections but then rewarded; John was instructed to write to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicean.[xxi] The church would need to exchange their followership to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The leader sets the goals, clarifies roles, and explains the followers’ expectations regarding performance targets. Today, leaders should take an additional label of “prophet.” John had one last assignment on the earth on the Island of Patmos, one of being a prophet.[xxii]
We will begin to look at each letter for guidance, as a reminder, the seven Spirits before His throne are found in, there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.[xxiii]
Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. I Corinthians 14:1
With excellence John provides the prophetic word detailing the final conflict between good and evil. Let us seek Him even more while He may be found.[xxiv]
The Church in Ephesus
To the church in Ephesus, you have left your first love. Remember, and look at the place from where you fell, repent, and do the works you first did, and I will return the lampstand I have taken away from you. If you turn, he will give them to eat from the tree of life amid Paradise.[xxv]
The Church in Smyrna
To the church in Smyrna, trouble is temporary. He sees their trials and persecution, but they need encouragement, and if they are faithful unto the death, he will give the crown of life.[xxvi]
The Church in Pergamos
To the church in Pergamos, he knows your works and how you well you hold to His name and don’t deny Him when things got hard, but there are doctrines that are stumbling blocks. There is compromise and immorality, but if you overcome, He will give the hidden manna to eat, become white stones, and a new name which no one knows except him who receives it.[xxvii]
To the Church in Thyatira
To the church in Thyatira, like flames of fire, I know your works, and you have feet like fine brass. He knows all you do, but Jezebel and all her compromise, control, and manipulation are in existence because of sexual immorality and eating things sacrificed to idols. All her children are cast into a sickbed unless there is repentance. He who overcomes and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over nations.[xxviii]
To the Church at Sardis
To the Church at Sardis, you are alive but dead. Be ready in strength. There is a small remnant that follows me. He who overcomes will be clothed in white garments and not blot out your name from the Book of Life, and he will confess before His Father and His angels.[xxix]
To the Church in Philadelphia
To the Church at Philadelphia, He has opened doors and knows you have little strength. You have kept his word and not denied His name. He will keep you from significant trials that come to test the whole world. He who overcomes He will make a pillar in the temple of My God, the New Jerusalem, which will come out of heaven from God. Then you will be written upon with a new name.[xxx]
To the Church at Laodiceans
To the Church at Laodiceans, you are neither hot nor cold and wish you would make up your mind. Because you are lukewarm, you will be spit out. You say you have everything, but you need everything. I love you, so repent and return to the Lord. To him that overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne as Jesus is the same.[xxxi]
Considering these leadership stories, what are the biggest takeaways from their leadership characteristics? How do you fair currently? What leadership behaviors within your organizations do they possess? In Contingency rewards, the leader has provided clear and effective communication to build trust and commitment from the followers. Thus, the follower is expected to meet the criteria and performance expectations the leader offers.[xxxii] As the follower meets the expectations, rewards are provided for accomplishing performance levels. However, in the reflection, from the letters to the churches, Jesus provided John with prophetic writings and expectations in Transformational Leadership. He possessed the 5Is of Leadership to promote positive, meaningful changes in people, teams, organizations, nations, and societies. These are Idealized Influence, Inspirational Motivation, Intellectual Stimulation, and Individualized Consideration. The FRLD model supports every approach to leaders who build up people to extraordinary levels of performance, exemplary role models, declare vision, challenge the status quo, and innovate to achieve success through coaching and mentorship.[xxxiii]
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
Jesus is compassionate to every leader and should take his rightful place in humility, especially when they fail to measure up to what is expected. In the letter to the churches, Leadership was challenged, and correction was needed. Jesus affirmed positive qualities, touched each heart, and addressed the areas that need attention.
Consider the story of Mary and Martha, Jesus is coming to visit their house and share. She was expecting help from her sister, and instead, her sister Mary was found sitting at the feet of Jesus, so Martha began to complain. Jesus stated, “And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”[xxxiv] Jesus is correcting us with a spiritual message. Leadership is defined, and Jesus calls to direct our attention which may have escaped our attention but will draw us back with his truth in wisdom.
As leadership definitions and theories continue to evolve since 1950’s,[xxxv] leaders vary in behaviors, ranging from active and more effective to passive and less effective.[xxxvi] Wise leader used every ability and behavior for service to the Lord Jesus Christ, for His glory and the benefit of His people. His attentiveness brought him before the Lord to write the vision down and make it plain for us. Vision will drive leaders as we believe the natural source of our Leadership in any area comes from God. We are reminded to be ‘vigilant and alert’[xxxvii] to what transpires in our organization and continue to emulate the transformational leadership qualities Jesus ascertained, moving our people to the next level in servant leadership. The FRLD model is active in leadership for positive outcomes of the individual, organization/s, and the environment. What can we learn from them and apply from the history of leadership thought to shift the course of organizations in the 21st Century? Lastly, ask yourself what your most significant personal leadership challenges are? Can the FRLD model assist you in facing the leadership challenges of today?
As a final reminder, leaders encourage followers to confront mediocrity, provide the direction for correction, and discuss the rewards for improve achievements to strive for the glory of the high calling. Remember, heaven awaits!
[i] Sosik, J. J., & Jung, D. (2018). Full Range Leadership Development. Pathways for People, Profit, and Planet. 2nd Ed.
[ii] Isaiah 5:20
[iii] Impelli, M. (2023, August 16). Target CEO Admits Pride Boycott Worked. Newsweek. Retrieved from
[iv] The Maxwell Leadership Bible. 3rd Ed. (2018). New King James Version. Thomas Nelson.
[v] The Maxwell Leadership Bible. 3rd Ed. (2018). New King James Version. Thomas Nelson, (1st Kings 21-22), Naboth is
Murdered for Vineyard.
[vi] 1st Kings, 18:27-38
vii John 21:15-21
[viii] Leahy, K. (2010). A Study of Peter as a Model for Servant Leadership. Inner Resource for Leaders. 4(2). Regent
University. Retrieved from https://www.regent.edu/journal/inner-resources-for-leaders/peter-as-model-for-
[ix] (Sosik & Jung, 2018, pg. 18).
[x] (Leahy, 2010, Para. 10)
[xi] 1 Corinthians 1:10-17
[xii] 1st Corinthians 3:1-23
[xiii] 1st Corinthians 3:6-7
[xiv] Schein, E. H. (2017). Organizational Culture and Leadership. 5th Ed. Wiley.
[xv] 1 Corinthians 5:6
[xvi] Sosik, J. J., & Jung, D. (2018). Full Range Leadership Development. Pathways for People, Profit, and Planet. 2nd Ed.
[xvii] 1 Corinthians 5:12
[xviii] (Schein, E. H. 2017, p. 87)
[xix] Quinn, M. (2022, June 26). A Timeline of the abortion debate at the Supreme Court, from Roe v. Wade to its end. CBS News.
Politics Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/supreme-court-roe-v-wade-abortion-debate-timeline-overturn/
[xx] Ephesians 6:19
[xxi] Revelation 1:11
[xxii] The Maxwell Leadership Bible. 3rd Ed. (2018). New King James Version. Thomas Nelson.
[xxiii] Isaiah 11:1-3
[xxiv] Jeremiah 33:3
[xxv] Revelation 2:1-7
[xxvi] Revelation 2:8-11
[xxvii] Revelation 2:12-17
[xxviii] Revelations 3:18-29
[xxix] Revelation 3:1-6
[xxx] Revelation 3:7-13
[xxxi] Revelation 3:14-22
[xxxii] (Sosik, & Jung, 2018, p. 11)
[xxxiii] (Sosik, & Jung, 2018, p. 11-16)
[xxxiv] Luke 10:41-42
[xxxv] Northouse, P. Leadership & Theory. (2021). 9th Ed. Sage Publications.
[xxxvi] (Sosik, & Jung, 2018, p. 16)
[xxxvii] 1st Peter 5:8