Christian Leadership Development, Clinton Emergence Theory 

Christian Ministry Resources

Christian Leadership Development - J. Robert Clinton Leadership Emergence Theory


Part of the ministry resources on Christian Leadership, and more specifically, Christian Leadership Development

The term “leadership emergence,” refers to the observable stages that seem to transpire in people they become leaders. Relative to Christian leadership, it is most often tied to the work of J. Robert Clinton, long-time professor at Fuller Theological Seminary. His works are featured here, alongside a few others. Understanding emergence is important to the practice of transformational leadership and empowerment.

J. Robert Clinton – Leadership Emergence Theory

Clinton’s theory is based on his study of hundreds of leaders, with special focus on the lives of men such as A. W. Tozer, Watchman Nee, and Dawson Trottman. He generalizes five or six phases of development over the life span of those who “finish well.” Clinton realizes not all leaders fit this typology, and he writes primarily to pastors and missionaries. So we should not over-generalize. Yet many seminary professors and leadership coaches make good use of his model. See also the ministry resources guide that lists Clinton’s biographies of biblical leaders.

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