Unraveling Religious Leadership considers various attributes related to the form and function of leadership within religious institutions in conversation with decolonial ideas and practices. Decoloniality, in negation of the ongoing legacies of colonialism, seeks ways of being and doing beyond white, eurowestern, modern ideals of who a leader is and what a leader does, especially in the context of Christianity and its entanglements with empire. In this book, Lizardy-Hajbi draws upon decolonial ideas, worldviews, and practices to question the current assumed understandings of religious leadership as individual, singular in role and structure, centralizing in power, possessing of expertise and select qualifications, production-oriented, and primarily change-inducing. Pulling on each of these threads invites a reconsideration of the epistemologies (knowledges) and ontologies (notions of being) that give shape to religious leadership in North American Christianity today.
Lizardy-Hajbi's innovative approach directly challenges popular leadership styles in wide use among leaders today, placing these styles in conversation with decolonial scholarship, diverse realities and worldviews, and practices that disrupt idealized norms. Popular styles such as authentic, charismatic, servant, executive, and transformational leadership are found wanting in terms of their substance and utility for meaningful leadership within religious institutions. Ultimately, Lizardy-Hajbi engages readers by presenting alternative constructions that consider the myriad complexities within both the role and function of leadership, offering new ways to frame the leadership identities the church needs for today's world.