Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Difference between the Sword/Shield & the Cross/Towel in Leadership

I was asked recently what is the difference between the Sword and the Shield & the Cross and the Towel in leadership. This was my simple reply.

  • The Sword and the Shield: Positional power; For the Sake of Self; Followers follow out of fear; Deeds of Flesh used to manipulate results; End justifies the means; Insiders and Outsiders; Kingdoms of this world; Leaders who serve; and Entitlement.
  • The Cross and the Towel: Personhood power; For the Sake of Others; Followers follow out of love; Fruit of Spirit to Model; Means as important as the End; Love Neighbor as Yourself; Kingdom of God; Servants Who Lead; Humility

The Cross and the Towel is a leadership style that reflects our Lord and Savior and results in abundant living (zoe) for us. The Sword and the Shield reflects our willfulness and results in survival living (bios) and eventual self-destruction.


  1. What are some examples of both types of leaders within the Scriptures? Do you analyze and compare these two styles of leadership Scripturally within your book?

  2. Hi Nancy, Excellent questions! The Sword and the Shield leadership types would be in the Scriptures would be: Saul, first king of Israel; Belshazzar (Daniel 5); Roman leadership like Herod or the Sanhedrin Council in Acts 4-5. The Cross and the Towel is seen by Jesus Christ, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Paul. Transitions of leadership style from the Sword and the Shield to the Cross and the Towel came from King Nebuchadnezzar (Book of Daniel) and the Apostle Paul (Book of Acts). In the book I analyze the compare these two styles. Blessings! Tony+

  3. The sword and the shield reminds me of a calculating style of leadership where the leader manipulates followers to a desired end. While the cross and the towel reminds me of a committing style of leadership where the leader engages people in a journey. Jesus would invite people to "Come and see." Once there, people would be transformed. I've been the receipent of calculating leadership and I did not like the destination nor the journey. I desire my leader to take me to a place where I can learn and grow. Yes, I want the "Zoe" not the "Bio"
    I'm looking forward to the journey you are taking us in this book.

  4. Thanks Skip. You are absolutely right how the sword and shield is simply calculating leadership instead of transforming leadership. Zoe is far better than bio, don't you think? Tony+