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A Journal of the University of the Nations.

Calloused Hands: An Inquiry into the Process of Leadership Selection for Society Transformation in Youth With A Mission

David Stephenson
University of the Nations

David Stephenson grew up in rural New Zealand where he worked as a sheep shearer before entering full-time service in Youth With A Mission over two decades ago. David and his wife Carrie direct the YWAM centre in Newcastle Australia.


This study is based on research conducted for a Master’s thesis, with a focus on the criteria for leadership selection at the Youth With A Mission centre in Newcastle, Australia. The study reviews literature on leadership selection and analyzes particularly the example of Jesus in choosing most of the disciples from rural Galilee. The study posits that leaders with calloused hands have acquired a particular set of character traits deemed essential in transformational leaders. Secondly, this study posits that these traits can only be confirmed as being present through exposure within specific settings — where a leader candidate is tested and given opportunity to demonstrate the essential traits. Candidates with calloused hands have been tested and proven by both adversity and opportunity, and have procured both resilience and initiative. In contrast, today’s digital and suburban young people have been isolated from many of the conditions of hardship and opportunity important in the preparation of society transformers. This study recommends additional strategic consideration to how this generation may be proven in preparation for transformational leadership. 


leadership selection; Galilean Selection Template; missions; transformational leadership;

Full Text: PDF


ISSN: 2296-7176