The Life of David and Biblical Principles of Leadership


Kye, Jae-Kwang

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One major challenge facing the Korean church in contemporary society has to do with leadership. While hierarchical structures and patterns of leadership made for an effective contextualization of the Christian faith in Korean society, changes in society since the end of military dictatorship have led many to question the propriety of authoritarian patterns of leadership. The younger generation prefers leadership structures which are significantly different from those based on hierarchy. However, any change in leadership structure and practice should not be divorced from reflection on theory and on biblical principles of leadership. Identifying biblical principles of leadership adds a necessary depth and soundness to any proposed changes in church structure and leadership style. Among the many figures and patterns of leadership that are represented in the Bible, David stands out as the idealized king of Israel. Not only was David’s time as king a golden age for Israel, but the people looked for a future king like David. An understanding of David’s leadership will help us to understand both the expectations that were applied to Jesus and to see how David and Jesus were similar to and different from each other. Given the differences in their contexts and practices, and approach that identifies leadership principles in the lives of Jesus and David could help Korean pastors develop a principled approach to biblical leadership. This sort of an approach has the potential to reach across cultural and structural differences and inform the development of contextually appropriate structures and styles of leadership for the next generation of Korean Christians
With that in mind, this article identifies seven principles for leadership from the life of David and examines them through Yukl’s four conceptual processes of leadership. Yukl’s conceptualizations of leadership can help us to develop a holistic understanding of leadership, which is necessary for understanding leadership in a complex system such as the Korean church. At the intra‐individual level, we can see that God is the leader and anointer. At the dyadic level, we can learn from the way David related to his courageous followers and friends, while an examination of the group level leads to the recognition of David’s skills in building community and team. Finally, at the organizational level, celebration and shared authority are significant leadership principles demonstrated in the life of David.


I. Introduction: Why Study David for Leadership Principles?
 II. Systemic Approach of Yukl’s Leadership Conceptualization for Studying David's Leadership
 III. David‐based Conceptualizations of Leadership
  1. David’s Office of Leadership: Kingship
 IV. David’s Principles of Leadership and Yukl’s Leadership Conceptualization Levels
  1. Intra‐individual Processes: God is the leader and anointer(Principle #1 & #2)
  2. Dyadic processes: Courageous followers and good Peers(Principle # 3 & 4)
  3. Group Process: Building team and Community (Principle #5)
  4. Organizational Process: Celebrating the coming King and shared responsibility and authority. (Principles #6 & #7)
 V. Conclusion


  • Kye, Jae-Kwang Full-time Lecture of Hannam University


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