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shepherdleader
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Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:01 pm    Post subject: Leadership Stories Reply with quote

Leadership Stories

Among the core beliefs that inspired www.ShepherdLeader.com stands the conviction that the Bible is an under-utilized resource for the understanding and practice of Christian leadership. The Bible’s lack of use is not merely neglect, as far as I can tell, but rather a lack of appreciation for the ways that various genres address the critical issues of leadership. God teaches us in distinct ways through metaphors (e.g., shepherd, servant, steward, etc.), maxims (e.g., proverbs and principles), normative passages (e.g., elder traits in Pastoral Epistles), and narratives. This last category is widely used in preaching and writing, but without full benefit.

Joseph’s flight from Potiphar’s wife inspires moral purity. David’s confrontation with Goliath arouses courage. Moses’ encounter at the burning bush (or Paul’s Damascus Road experience) serves as a paradigm for “calling.” This “application” of scripture is justified by explicit biblical encouragement to emulate heroic characters. Job’s patience is a model for us in James 5:11. Hebrews 11 martials a list of those whose faith is exemplary.

However, the too common view of scripture as a collection of stories about moral characters with paradigmatic experiences has its shortcomings. Most of the people who populate the stories in the Bible make mistakes. They sin. Many are selected because they are unlikely or unexpected choices for divine appointment. Most continue to be unlikely candidates for imitation even after they are called. The way God manages such flawed protagonists may be unusual and extraordinary rather than precedent-setting. Yet we often try to “rescue” Bible stories from their idiosyncratic and very human realities. Maybe this errant instinct flows from misunderstanding the purpose of the biblical authors as they represent human beings for their readers. Perhaps our need for heroes misleads us.

The making of biblical characters into figures who are larger than life is fair neither to them or to us.

Nor to God.

We often miss what the Bible’s stories are ultimately about. Rather, we miss “Who” they are about. Consider the typical “U” shaped story line of a biblical “comedy.” In this plot an unlikely person is the beneficiary of some unmerited favor that indicates divine choice. Unexpectedly, the protagonist faces a critical incident that sends him/her spiraling out of control and away from the evidence of God’s favor. Think of Joseph’s coat of many colors and his dreams of greatness. Suddenly he finds himself thrown into a pit, sold as a slave. The plot repeats: Joseph enjoys great privilege in Potiphar’s house until a false accusation sends him to jail. What of the dream then? What of the divine favor that brought him success? Remember David’s anointing by Samuel before his family? This is followed by David’s rise to an honored place among Saul’s servants and soldiers. But our hero abruptly becomes a fugitive, living in desert caves and enemy territory. He wonders in many laments where God is. Job’s blessed existence is interrupted by a scandalous sequence of depravations that leave him wishing to die. Esther and Daniel find themselves slipping from unexpected favor to a surprising and undeserved sentence of death. In the pit of despair and desolation faith gets tested. Will God come through?

What transpires next is a reversal of the main character’s fate. God intervenes. Restoration of his chosen servant to honor commences. Alienation, suffering, and shame come to an end. The “U” shape is complete. A “happy ending” demonstrates that God has all along been at work keeping his promises.

Why do I think the recognition of this pattern is so important? Because a theology of God’s grace, sovereignty, and redemption is perpetually reinforced in these narratives. Biblical characters and the stories about them direct a careful reader’s attention to the ultimate Hero. God is the Author of the great drama of history and God is the Lead Actor in its many stories.

We have much to learn from our spiritual ancestors.

We have much more to learn about the God who invades our stories.

He does so unexpectedly. Often disturbingly.

Yet, always with good purpose.
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pastorgregory



Joined: 25 Oct 2010
Posts: 3
Location: Glenburn, ME

PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:37 am    Post subject: leadership stories Reply with quote

That says a lot about God. What does it say about leadership? That we are not heroes, but that our usefulness to God arises as we are formed in the crucible of suffering, just as Jesus "learned obedience" through suffering! (Heb. 5:8)
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pamara



Joined: 11 Oct 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:23 pm    Post subject: 11.10.11 Leadership Seeries Reply with quote

Thank you. I agree that we do not use the accounts of the Bible to more fully explain 'leadership'. I am thankful to trust that 'God is with us ' in the U turn's of life and leadership. Too often I have felt I failed when in reality I was in training and mentored by the Holy Spirit.
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mlandschoot



Joined: 02 Jul 2012
Posts: 12
Location: United States

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:57 pm    Post subject: Learning the lesson! Reply with quote

Well said! I know that in my own leadership. If my devotional life is not active, my leadership suffers. I need many hours with God in order to have the discernment needed for being a good leader. Sometimes I just what to push through and get things done. This is when things really begin to fall apart. Good leadership is only possible through the study of scripture and a authentic time in prayer. We need to really study those Biblical characters of the past in order to not make to same mistakes.
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