This study explored Jesus’ social interactions in Mark’s Gospel for good leadership practice in Ghana. It employed Ghanaian traditional models of leadership, which hold that leadership is interaction. Jesus is situated in his macro socio-cultural context in the study, and his leadership model is re-described using social interactionism as an entry point. The study thus analysed how leadership is conveyed through interaction by observing Jesus’ interaction as performed in Mark’s Gospel. Social interactionism analytical tools from Goffman and Mead made it plausible to re-imagine and observe Jesus. Tools like Ritual making, Frame making, Characterisation, Encounter processing, Stage making and Role-taking informed by Ghanaian traditional notion of leadership were used to analyse the four selected passages (Mark 6:30-44; 7:1-23; 7:24-30; 10:35-45). The analysis addressed and affirmed both the main hypothesis that ‘if leadership is interaction, how did Jesus interact?’ And the subsidiary hypothesis that ‘if Jesus’ social interactions convey leadership principles, how do the underlying nuances in his social interaction contribute to leadership understanding?’
The study consists of six chapters. Chapter one is the introduction, which sets out the study and reviews literature on Jesus’ leadership. It notes two gaps. First, a gap in the knowledge about the social interaction of Jesus, which could be drawn towards understanding his leadership principles. Second, a gap in filtering Jesus’ leadership through the Akan cultural lens for relevant leadership practises for the African context. With these in mind, the Ghanaian (African) traditional notion of leadership and African leadership challenges were discussed. Chapter two delineates the social interactionalism as the theoretical perspective for the study. Six analytical tools, stated earlier, were delineated from Goffman’s Interactional Order and Presentation of Self, and Mead’s Mind, Self and Society to re-imagine Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. Chapter three deals with the historical, literary and the socio-cultural settings of Mark.
It establishes Jesus in his macro socio-cultural context. Chapter four analyses the four selected passages through the analytical tools of social interactionalism informed by Ghanaian (African) traditional notion of leadership. Chapter five outlines the leadership principles gleaned from interactions in the four passages as analysed in the previous chapter. Chapter six, focuses on the implication of the Jesus-performed leadership principles on leadership in Ghana (Africa).
The study establishes that the reception of Jesus as the Son of God and Son of man are not mere Christological titles but more significantly, leadership categories. From the Ghanaian traditional notions of leadership, the study finds Jesus as reflecting the distinguished leadership categories of ’nyimpa’ and ‘opanyin’. In addition, over 104 Jesus-performed Interactional leadership principles gleaned from his interactions form the foundation for his Social Interactional Leadership model. These principles challenge the leadership being practiced in Ghana today. The study concludes that Jesus consciously fashioned his interactions to achieve his vision and mission and modelled his leadership to his associates (disciples), followers (crowd) and even his opponents. The study postulates that these principles when applied to Ghanaian (African) leadership will result in social transformation, and leaders will become reformers and builders.