In my recent series of posts, I have been taking Michael Marquardt and Nancy Berger’s eight competencies of a global leader and applying them to Jesus Christ. So far, I have shown that Jesus fares well.
With this sixth competency, the task becomes more difficult. In the book, Where To Find It In the Bible, with over 3,700 entries, “technology” does not appear. A word search of any English translation of the Bible will show not a single occurrence of the word “technology.”
If this was a survey with checkboxes to indicate from 1 to 7 the degree to which the person being evaluated fits the criteria, we would have to check N/A (not applicable) on the question of Jesus as Technologist.
Jesus lived in a world that did not have computers, microwaves, satellites, fiber optic cables, iPhones, or the Internet. His world didn’t even have electricity. So the disconnect between Jesus and technology shouldn’t surprise us.
Yet, technology is important for global leadership. According to Marquardt and Berger, technology allows organizations to “democratize the strategy creation process by tapping the imagination of hundreds, if not thousands, of new voices in the strategy process” (29). Today’s technology enables organizations to turn their strategic planning into a global process. Technology enables us to obtain immediate input from leaders located around the globe.
Perhaps the most important contribution Jesus has made to technology is that he provided a foundation for evaluating the social and spiritual implications of its use. Many business experts recognize the value of the intangible realities of an organization (Becker, Huselid, & Ulrich 7; Davis 127). Yet, too many organizations make the mistake of believing they can resolve all problems through technology. Technology becomes a hollow substitute for the intangible fire that ignites the potential of a global organization.
In an age that worships technology, Jesus is a voice of caution and a voice that reminds us that we cannot solve all problems through technology. Many problems result from issues in the human heart.
In his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman talks about a mental mechanism that he calls “substitution,” which we often use when faced with complex problems. Instead of answering the complex question, we substitute it with a question that is more easily answered. Organizations often do this with the technology. “We just need a new software system or device and the problem will be solved.”
Jesus reminds us that most problems between humans are spiritual rather than technological. Jesus said:
Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person (Matthew 15:19-20).
And we might add, “These are what defile an organization.” Are not all these issue, even as I write this, the issues plaguing organizations today? Fraud, smear campaigns, false news, sexual harassment, workplace violence: are these not the problems that destroy organizational integrity?
Strict ethical codes can help curtail the damage these human flaws inflict on an organization, and technology may help us apply such codes, but only a transformation of the heart gets at the root of the problem.
Making these connections between the technological and human dimensions of an organization requires an ability to see the entire system, something else that Jesus did well. We’ll talk about that in my next post.
Becker, Brian E., Mark A. Huselid, and Dave Ulrich. The HR Scorecard: Linking People, Strategy, Performance. Harvard Business Review Press, 2001.
Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
Marquardt, Michael J., and Nancy O. Berger. Global Leaders for the 21st Century. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2000.
Dr. Greg Waddell is passionate about helping church leaders equip their people for ministry. He believes there is wild potential in every believer that begs to be released. He can help you develop and implement practical strategies for increasing the ministry capacity of your congregation.