Institute of Leadership and Ethics (ILE)

[Without Dutch translation]  


The Institute of Leadership and Ethics (ILE) cultivates and develops a Christian perspective on leadership and ethics to help establish a just and sustainable society. It was founded in early 2008, with the vision to provide an opportunity to Christian professionals in the Brussels region to engage in key issues of leadership and ethics. ILE was established as part of the ETF (Evangelische Theologische Faculteit) in Leuven thereby ensuring a deep biblical foundation, quality teaching and provision of resources based on authentic research. The ILE exists to help equip Christians to make a difference in the world in which we all live.

Our Mission
: As a research institute of ETF, ILE seeks to cultivate and develop a Christian perspective on aspects of leadership and ethics as they relate to establishing a just and sustainable society. We seek to communicate the results of our scholarly research on both academic and professional platforms, to empower Christian leaders to contribute to a more just and sustainable world within their area(s) of influence.

Our Vision
is to become a significant resource for Christian leaders on the European continent with our research into how Christian leadership and ethics contributes to a just and sustainable world. We desire to expand our staff to include both scholars and students at various levels to generate articles, dissertations and monographs, to host or participate in conferences that stimulate original research and to provide speakers for events with Christian leaders.

Our Values:

  • We believe that the Christian Scriptures and Christian Traditions offer significant resources for understanding and developing justice and sustainability in today’s complex world. We aim to engage in open dialog with other worldviews, in order to contribute to this debate from an evangelical Christian perspective.
  • We believe that original scholarship in ethics and leadership is needed to fulfill ILE’s mission with integrity and credibility.
  • We believe that our scholarship should be interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on theological and social scientific disciplines to further our understanding of the nature of leadership and ethics in today’s context.
  • We believe that salvation, servanthood and stewardship are among the core theological concepts that contribute to a Christian perspective on leadership and ethics.
  • We believe that we should focus on Christian leaders in business, social, political and religious contexts, since a vision for justice and sustainability is needed in every sector of society.

Our Strategy is to engage in research, teaching and community services.

  • Research takes place within the context of ETF’s Masters and Ph.D. program. In particular the ILE encourages interdisciplinary research that integrates Christian ethics and theology with leadership and management studies. Some examples are:
    • The ethics of leadership
    • Theology and environmental ethics
    • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Christian ethics
    • Social justice and economy
    • Non-profit management of Christian organizations
    • Authority and influence in organizational leadership
    • Integration of leadership theory, a Christian worldview and ministerial leadership
    • Identity-based spiritual leadership
    • Spiritual formation and leadership
    • Peacemaking (Christian conflict management)
  • Our staff is involved in teaching "Models of Christian Leadership" and "Contemporary Issues in Christian Ethics" as part of the ETF program for a Master in Theology. Further teaching is under consideration to provide ongoing training for Christian leaders.
  • Community service to date has focused on breakfast seminars and workshops held at the ETF for Christian leaders in the Brussels area. Speakers included members of the ILE staff, as well as outside speakers:
    • Rev. Dr. Higginson, Director of Faith in Business at Ridley Hall, Cambridge ("Leading with Integrity")
    • Dr. Kessler, Director of Akadamie für Christliche Führungskräfte, Gummersbach, Germany ("Leadership and Power")
    • Mr. Harpst, CEO Six Disciplines (one day workshop on "Six Disciplines for Excellence")
    • Mr. Valler, former Finance and Human Resources Director, Hewlett Packard ("Get a Life")
    • Dr. Bolton, Founding Director of St. John’s Innovation Centre, Cambridge ("Seizing Opportunities in Challenging Times").
  • Furthermore from 2010 onwards the ILE will also serve the community at locations other than the ETF, such as a series of four evening meetings at Holy Trinity Church in Brussels on "Christian Voices in Contemporary Europe."
The ILE Steering Committee

Patrick Nullens (Ph.D.) is professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics and Rector of the ETF. An important focus of his research is on the ethics of leadership in the context of corporate social responsibility. He speaks regularly in churches and at international conferences.

Pim Boven is Finance Director of the ETF and studied business economics at the University of Groningen (NL). He worked in various management positions in banking before coming to the ETF, where he became co-founder of ILE. He serves as elder in a local congregation and speaks regularly on economics and Christian ethics.

Jack Barentsen (Ph.D.) is assistant professor of Practical Theology, and serves as secretary of ILE. He served as church planter in the Netherlands before coming to the ETF, where he completed a dissertation on emerging leadership in Pauline churches (2010). He preaches regularly in churches in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Chris Start provides executive coaching as CEO of his company Start Development bvba. He is a former senior executive in Proctor & Gamble’s Marketing, and is a member of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Tervuren, Belgium. He is co-founder of ILE.

John Walker is a former Director of Global R&D for Proctor & Gamble, now also a member of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Tervuren, Belgium. He is co-founder of ILE.

Peter Heinckiens (Ph.D.) has a wide experience in different industries: he has been leading strategic change projects in an international banking context, in government, in manufacturing, in telecom, and in logistics. He is currently Vice President Customer Advisory and EMEA Head of Innovation at SAP. He is author of three books, is a frequently invited speaker at international conferences, and lectures at several universities. He holds a PhD in Applied Sciences, a Masters in Electrical Engineering, followed the Advanced Management Program at IMD (Switzerland), and has been nominated Fellow of the University of Leuven (Belgium). Peter is conducting research on continuous business innovation – how companies can build structural capabilities that will allow them to become innovation leaders.

For more information, please go to the ILE website.


St. Jansbergsesteenweg 97
3001 Leuven, België
Tel.: +32 (0) 16 200895
Fax: +32 (0) 16 200943

Inst. of Leadership and Ethics