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Different schools of thought have emphasized multiples aspects of leadership, preeminently in the western hemisphere for the last decades (Bennis 1959; Greenleaf 1977; Malphus 2003). As China more decisively steps into the global arena through internationalization of its economy and political influence, scholars are only scratching the surface in exploring the pluralistic styles of Chinese indigenous leadership in both national and international organizations where the Chinese play significant leadership roles (Chen and Lee 2008: xv; Zhang, Chen, and Chen, and Ang 2014).

Contextual leadership is essential for the healthy development of any organization and that is equally true when it comes to leadership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in China. As Ma and Tsui denote, “traditional philosophical and cultural roots influence the thought patterns and behaviors of all citizens in a community including its leaders. Hence, leadership practices would reflect unique cultural idiosyncrasies even . . . in a rapidly changing context” such as contemporary China (2015:13).

Although western leadership schools of thought have increasingly been studied in Chinese academia and their models applied in organizational settings throughout China since the 1980s, there are still several cultural features from traditional Chinese leadership philosophies playing a significant role in the contemporary Chinese leadership landscape.

This article explores cultural leadership aspects among the Seventh-day Adventist Church in China, and how those traits impact the church missiologically, followed by a brief summary of strategies for effective mission leadership development.





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