Internet Explorer 7, 8, and 9 are no longer supported. Please use a newer browser.
Concourse works best with JavaScript enabled.
Liberty University logo

Online · School of Divinity · Christian Leadership & Church Ministries

The Life of Leaders

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course will explore the lives of great leaders throughout history. Leadership is not a distinctively Christian practice. Leadership is found in all segments of society and culture. Thus, this course will explore the personal lives, traits, practices and disciplines of leaders in various sectors of cultural history including religious leaders, political leaders, military leaders, and business leaders. Specific attention will be given to the process of interpreting leadership from a distinctively organizational perspective, as performed by great leaders, and applying these leadership lessons into an organic perspective of Christian leadership in ministry. (Formerly CLED 520)





A person’s Christian spiritual development and human development will impact life and vocation. As a result, the leader should have a clear understanding of how those areas affect life and vocation. An effective leader will integrate successfully the areas of Christian spirituality and human development into a positive Christian leadership style.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Appraise the spiritual-life, family-life, and ministry-life of leaders throughout history.
  2. Explain how the theology of historical leaders formed their ability to lead.
  3. Create a theology of Christian leadership.
  4. Synthesize lifestyle traits of leaders.
  5. Relate lessons on leadership to personal application of leadership.

Course Resources

Required Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Duesing, Jason G. Adoniram Judson: A Bicentennial Appreciation of the Pioneer American Missionary. Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2012.

Miller, Steve. D.L. Moody: On Spiritual Leadership. Steve Miller, 2004.

Nichols, Stephen J. Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life: From the Cross, for the World. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. ISBN: 9781433511882.

Nichols, Stephen J. Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions: and Advice to Young Converts. Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2001.

Petersen, William J. 25 Surprising Marriages: How Great Christians Struggled to Make Their Marriages Work. Morgantown: Masthof, 1997.

Shaw, Mark. 10 Great Ideas from Church History: A Decision-Maker’s Guide to Shaping Your Church. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1997.

Strobel, Kyle. Formed for the Glory of God: Learning from the Spiritual Practices of Jonathan Edwards. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2013.

Recommended Resources

Brainerd, David. Diary and Journal of David Brainerd with Preface and Reflections by Jonathan Edwards. Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 2007. ISBN: 9780851519548.

D’Souza, Dinesh. Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader. New York: Touchstone Books, 1997. ISBN: 9780684848235.

Elliot, Elisabeth. A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael. Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell Co, 1987. ISBN: 9780800730895.

Forrest, Benjamin K. and Chet Roden, Biblical Leadership: Theology for the Everyday Leader (Biblical Theology for the Church). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2017. ISBN: 978-0825443916.

Piper, John. Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen. Wheaton: Crossway, 2011. ISBN: 9781433519284.

Prior, Karen Swallow. Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More: Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2014. ISBN: 9781400206254.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

  1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
  2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
  3. Blackboard recommended browsers
  4. Microsoft Word
  5. School of Divinity Writing Guide:

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words. (MLO: A, B, D, E)

Leadership Journal Entries (8)

In each module/week of the course, the student is required to write a journal entry on a provided prompt. This prompt encourages the student to reflect on what he/she has learned throughout each module/week. (MLO: E)

Leadership Interview

The student must choose a leader to interview based on the interview questions he/she has composed. The purpose of the interview is to assess what makes up the life of a leader. The student must synthesize the interview in a 1750-2000 words. The paper must be written in current Turabian format if the student is a Seminary student or in current APA format if the student is a Human Services student. (MLO: D)

Shepherd and Servant Leadership

The student must submit a 1200-1500 word essay must analyze their theology of leadership by exploring the two biblical concepts of Sheperd Leadership and Servant Leadership. In this essay, students must first explain both concepts from a biblical point of reference and then compare and contrast these two leadership approaches/perspectives. The essay must be written in current Turabian format if the student is a Seminary student or in current APA format if the student is a Human Services student. (MLO: B, C)

Leadership Assessment & Response

The student must submit a 2000 word essay assessing the weaknesses in their personal leadership and then proposing a response for addressing these weaknesses. The paper must be written in current Turabian format if the student is a Seminary student or in current APA format if the student is a Human Services student. (MLO: A, D, E)

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (4 at 100 pts ea)


Journal Entries (8 at 30 pts ea)


Leadership Interview


Servant and Shepherd Leadership


Leadership Assessment & Response





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


LEAD 520

Textbooks: Duesing, Adoniram Judson (2012).

Miller, D.L. Moody: On Spiritual Leadership (2004).

Nichols, Bonhoeffer On The Christian Life (2013).

Nichols, Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions (2001).

Petersen, 25 Surprising Marriages (2006).

Shaw, 10 Great Ideas from Church History (1997).

Strobel, Formed for the Glory of God (2013).


Reading & Study




Nichols (2013):

Introduction, chs. 1–3

Petersen: ch. 8

Shaw: chs. 1, 10

3 presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1 Thread

Leadership Journal Entry 1






Petersen: chs. 22, 25

Shaw: chs. 2, 6

Strobel: chs. 1–3

2 presentations

1 website

DB Forum 1 Replies

Leadership Journal Entry 2




Nichols (2001): chs. 1–2

Strobel: chs. 4–7, Conclusion

Shaw: ch. 5

2 presentations

DB Forum 2 Thread

Leadership Journal Entry 3




Nichols (2013): chs. 4–9

3 presentations

DB Forum 2 Replies

Leadership Journal Entry 4

Shepherd and Servant Leadership Essay





Duesing: chs. 1–5

Petersen: chs. 5, 7, 16, 23

2 presentations

DB Forum 3 Thread

Leadership Journal Entry 5




Duesing: chs. 6–8

Petersen: chs. 1–3, 12

Shaw: ch. 8

3 presentations

DB Forum 3 Replies

Leadership Journal Entry 6

Leadership Interview





Miller: Introduction, chs. 1, 4–5, 8–9

Petersen: chs. 13, 18

Shaw: chs. 4, 7

3 presentations

1 article

DB Forum 4 Thread

Leadership Journal Entry 7




Miller: chs. 2–3, 6–7, Conclusion

Petersen: ch. 20

Shaw: chs. 3, 9

3 presentations

DB Forum 4 Replies

Leadership Journal Entry 8

Leadership Assessment & Response






DB = Discussion Board


NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.