All quotes and references below are cited in the dissertation which you can read here.
Shared Leadership is Biblical
Some examples are found in Matt. 10:2, Acts 2:42, 11:30, 14:23, 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23, 16:4, 20:17, 21:18, Philippians 1:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13, 1 Timothy 5:7, Titus 1:5, Hebrews 13:7, 17, James 5:14, and 1 Peter 5:1-2.
John MacArthur states, “The clear New Testament pattern for church government is a plurality of God-ordained men who lead the people of God together.”
John Piper elaborates, “what we usually call ‘the pastor’ of the church is properly one of several elders. Together they are charged with the teaching and oversight of the church.”
Wayne Grudem notes, “Two significant conclusions may be drawn from [a] survey of the New Testament evidence. First, no passage suggests that any church, no matter how small, had only one elder. The consistent New Testament pattern is a plurality of elders ‘in every church’ (Acts 14:23) and ‘in every town’ (Titus 1:5). Second, we do not see a diversity of forms of government in the New Testament church, but a unified and consistent pattern in which every church had elders governing it and keeping watch over it (Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:17; 1 Peter 5:2-3).”
Joseph Hellerman agrees, writing, “none of Paul’s congregations had a solitary (or ‘senior’) pastor figure. All were led by a plurality of overseers. And Paul modeled team leadership in his own life and ministry, as well.”
Alexander Strauch concludes, “the New Testament provides conclusive evidence that the pastoral oversight of the apostolic churches was a team effort – not the sole responsibility of one person.”
Famed New Testament scholar Dan Wallace states that the evidence for shared team leadership is so strong in the New Testament that most scholars assume it.
The shared leadership perspective is evident throughout scripture. God has always desired to lead His Body directly, not through a “king” (1 Sam. 8). Christ is and desires to function as the head of His Body, the church (Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18). Jesus refuted domineering leadership and taught servant leadership (Matt. 20:25-28). God desires a unified Body, one where each member functions according to their gifts (1 Cor. 12; Rom. 12). Finally, shared leadership is also God’s example, evident in the Trinity (Matt. 28:19).
Shared Leadership is Beneficial
Shared leadership has been associated with exceptional outcomes, enhanced decision-making, complex problem solving, creative innovation, team-member fit, team synergy, organizational vitality, and sustained growth.
Shared leadership can produce exceptional outcomes like improved performance (Daspit, Ramachandran, & D'Souza, 2014) and team success (Shipper, Manz, Nobles, & Manz, 2014).
It can also yield enhanced decision-making (Brodbeck, Kerschreiter, Mojisch, & Schulz-Hardt, 2007; Petrovia & Hristov, 2016; Supovitz & Tognatta, 2013).
Similarly, it can help teams improve problem-solving capacity through information and knowledge sharing (Clarke, 2012; Wang, Waldman, & Zhen, 2014).
Shared leadership leads to creativity and innovation (Hoch, 2013; Pearce, 2007; Pearce & Conger, 2003; Mohammed & Thomas, 2014).
It also improves team-member fit by increasing team-member satisfaction (Hansen & Høst, 2012; Steinert, Goebel, & Rieger, 2006), involvement (Bamford-Wade & Moss, 2010), commitment (Devos, Tuytens, & Hulpia, 2014; Lee‐Davies, Kakabadse, & Kakabadse, 2007), and retention (Kleinman, 2004).
Shared leadership also promotes team synergy (Somboonpakorn & Kantabutra, 2014).
All of this leads to greater organizational vitality, enabling organizations to capitalize on latent talents (Lee-Davies et al., 2007; Miles & Watkins, 2007) and fostering organizational cultures capable of thriving in today’s dynamic environment (Laloux, 2014; Robertson, 2015).
Finally, it has been correlated with explosive, exponential, and sustained organizational growth (Hesselbein & Goldsmith, 2009; Malburg, 1997; Pearce, Manz, & Akanno, 2013).
Shared leadership is relational by nature (Wood & Dibben, 2015). The biblical shared leadership model is also “highly relational” (Hellerman, 2013, p. 18).
For this reason, this research will focus on the relational aspects involved with effectively sharing leadership in Christian ministry.