The Leadership of Jesus: Holding Steady in an Anxious World

May 16–18, 2017

Course Description

This course will surface synergies and strategies between the leadership practice and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth with special attention to His Cross and those of Adaptive Leadership as taught by Ronald Heifetz.


In the face of numeric decline and loss in the church, anxiety reigns. Increased capacity to creatively hold steady in the face of this anxiety is necessary as the church exists in a liminal space between present reality and that which is emerging. The Passion and Cross of Jesus of Nazareth, as amplified by the Adaptive Leadership framework, offer examples and strategies that build the capacity to hold steady in anxiety and loss so authentic hope can be born.

Course Objective

  • To invite participants to reflect on Jesus of Nazareth’s leadership practice and teachings.
  • To increase the capacity of participants to hold steady in the face of their own and institutional anxiety.
  • To equip participants to teach the principles of Adaptive Leadership to the benefit of the Church and as core principles of discipleship.

Suggested Reading

Heifetz, Ronald, Leadership Without Easy Answers, Harvard University Press, 1998

Bruggerman, Walter, Reality, Grief and Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks, 2014

Barrett, Frank J., Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz Harvard Business Review Press, 2012.

Heifetz, Ronald A. and Linsky, Marty, Leadership on the Line Harvard Business Review Press, 2002.

Reiman, Joey, The Story of Purpose Wiley, 2013.

Heifetz, Ronald, Graschow, Alexander, Linsky, Marty, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, 2009.


The three-day course fee is $150 and includes lunches.

The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright

Wright is the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, which covers north and central Georgia and embraces 110 worshiping communities. At the time of his election in June 2012, he had served 10 years as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta. Prior to that, he was a school chaplain and on the staff of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City.

Since becoming bishop, Wright addressed the Georgia legislature about gun control, spoke up for Medicaid expansion and has been a vocal and active opponent of the death penalty in Georgia. In commemoration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, he prayed with a City of Atlanta sanitation crew before taking an early morning shift on the back of a city garbage truck. In January 2015, he was named among the 100 Most Influential Georgians by GeorgiaTrend magazine.

Wright, 51, was born in a Roman Catholic orphanage in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was adopted at nine months of age. After graduating high school, he served five years in the U.S. Navy. While attending Howard University in Washington, D.C., he worked as a child advocate for two mayors. He earned an M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary, and he has been awarded honorary doctor of divinity degrees by the Virginia seminary and Sewanee: The University of the South.

Suggested Lodging

There are many options for accommodations in and around Sewanee.


Fill out my online form.