Browsing Theology and Religious Studies by Authors
The Significance of Crucible Experiences in the Development of a Selection of Northern Irish and Other Evangelical Christian LeadersWilson, John S. A. (University of Chester, 2016-10)Among terms used to describe the events and experiences that contribute to the shaping of leaders is Warren Bennis’ and Robert Thomas’ ‘crucibles’. Their use of the term emerged from a series of interviews with leaders who had come of age in two distinct eras: all the leaders interviewed referred to a transformative experience that had contributed to their leadership. The aim of this research was to explore the significance of such experiences in the development of Christian leaders. A sample of fourteen evangelical leaders was selected and each leader participated in an in-depth qualitative interview. Their experiences were classified using Robert Thomas’ three types of crucible: new territory, reversals and suspension. Analysis of the experiences demonstrated how crucible experiences had a part to play in shaping both the character and calling of a leader: at times crucibles functioned as intensified learning experiences in which a leader’s beliefs took on an existential intensity. The emerging themes of character and calling are significant in both Old and New Testaments and the project reflected theologically on these. While crucibles may be significant features in the development of a leader, they do not tell the whole story: a range of factors and influences, some of which work in a more gradual way, are also part of a leadership journey.