Majoring on the Minors | Perpetuating religious schisms of the past

Tickle (2008) argues religion is a social construct as well as an individual way of being and understanding (p 33). Language, customs, values, traditions, religion and laws are all part of what James Sires called cultural relativism. Cultural relativism relies on the ideal that culture will preserve itself when threatened (Sire, 1999, p 87). Perhaps this unto itself explains why we can observe thousands of years of societal and religious turmoil? Understanding people within a given culture requires familiarity with local conditions and the context from which people develop and express viewpoints and make decisions (Black et al., 1999, p 121-124).

 

Tickle (2008) states “any established or organized religion is the soul of the culture or society that, in turn, is the body in which and through which religion acts” (p 33). Black et al., (1999) use the imagery of a Kaleidoscope in dealing with paradigms and knowledge (p 61).  Black et al., (1999) note individuals encounter new paradigms, like the changing images in a kaleidoscope; they view these paradigms as actual maps, conveying entire histories of cultural bias (p 61).

 

If we are to consider Tickle’s (2008) assertion that schisms occurred because of such things as leavened bread, language of text or the methodology by which we connect with God; it is difficult to interpret these things on the surface as necessarily cultural in nature. If we are a product of our culture and our culture is a product of history, then why is it that churches do not invest time in unpacking the history of religion? Perhaps our reasoning is tied up in Sires argument of cultural relativism. In essence, I don’t think we really like to consider the messiness of our past as a platform for why we believe and do the things we do today. By ignoring our history, are we not perpetuating the schisms of the past and thereby putting man’s rules before God’s commands?

 

References:

 

Tickle, Phyllis (2008). The Great Emergence. How Christianity is Changing and Why. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

 

Sire, James W. (1997). The Universe Next Door. Third Edition. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press

 

Black, J.S., Morrison, A.J. and Gregersen, H.B. (1999). Global Explorers. The Next Generation of Leaders. New York, NY: Routledge.

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Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/President of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Skype: philip.a.foster | 615-216-5667

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Developing the Key Attributes of Global Leadership: An Ideological Texture Analysis of the Book of Titus.

By Philip A Foster, MA

Global Leadership

Understanding and developing attributes of global leadership are likely one of the clearest paths to success for leaders operating within a global context. Literature defines culture as a filter or lens by which we base decisions and actions (Mintzberg et al., 2005, p 169). Organizational expansion across cultural, political, economic and social boundaries creates certain obstacles and challenges which must be overcome by leaders today. Considering how we view the world is helpful when we begin to understand the world is viewed differently by others (Foster, 2012). Literature reveals many clues as to how leaders should view their organization. When a leader begins to adjust their filters and lenses to include other cultural attributes they view the system from a wider perspective and thereby become more of a global leader (Foster, 2012). Any attempt to force entry into another culture without adherence to laws, language, pace, politics, decisions making approaches and the cultures concepts of authority become detrimental to an ability to operate within the context of that environment (Branch, 2012).

A global leader is one who lives in the context of structural indeterminacy which states that no single structure is the answer when dealing with complex business models that must respond to cross-border business opportunities, demands for local citizenship, and cross-border/cross-business purchasing or technology efficiencies (Galbraith, 2000, p 2-3). The church in Crete was certainly a complex model of differing opinions, culture and religious thinking which required a clear mission and vision by its leadership.

When we consider Boissevain’s Taxonomy of Relation to Groups to analyze the Book of Titus we can begin to argue that the church in Crete was a “corporate group or body with a permanent existence; a collection of people recruited on recognized principles, with common interests and rules (norms) fixing rights and duties of the members in relation to one another and to these interests” (Robbins, 1996, p 101). The Apostle Paul would have understood that the Christian Church in Crete, as a corporate group, would present specific challenges to the leadership. As evidenced in Titus 1:5-9, Paul may have known that when he departed Crete a leadership vacuum might develop which could devastate the church (NASB, 2000, p 2147).

Titus 1:5-9  “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,  namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (NASB, 2000, p 2148).

Paul knew the church had grown dependent on him and his skill, style, and personality (NASB, 2000, p 2147). Such dependency could cause subordinates to flounder and even vie for control over the church once he departed (NASB, 2000, p 2147). Paul knew that he would not be there to continue to build, encourage, discipline and teach so he trained young pastors to assume leadership positions after he was gone. Global leaders should heed this example as to what could happen without proper training, mentoring and accountability of subordinate leaders.

Such a power play is evident in Titus 1:10 where Paul appears to understand diverging worldviews which create a filter of complexity within the church. He warns the leaders that some will try to preserve parts of their culture through what Sire (1997) called cultural relativism (p 87).

Titus 1:10 “For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision” (NASB, 2000, p 2149).

Such a worldview brought about confusion through the argument of circumcision, which caused disunity in the church. Understanding the given ideology of the corporate group in Crete, we can begin to make sense of the arguments of circumcision. Robbins (1996) argues that a person’s ideology provides certain presuppositions, dispositions, and values held in common with other people within a given group (p 95). Such ideology integrates a system of beliefs, assumptions, and values that reflect the needs and interests of the group (Robbins, 1996, p 96).

These presuppositions, dispositions and values many times made it difficult for the Apostles. Titus 1:11 Paul knew the ideology he was up against and therefore instructed the leaders to silence those who were preaching circumcision “because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain” (NASB, 2000, p 2149).  A global leader is one who makes difficult decisions with care to explain his rationale and backs it with the authority and trust bestowed on him by his followers.

Attributes of Leadership

A global leader is one who maintains organizational ties both personally and professionally to validate the followers need to be valued and heard (Janiak, 2012). Developing a personal tie with someone requires trust and understanding. Trust is born out of specific attributes of leadership exemplified by the Apostle Paul in Titus 1:6-9. These attributes are beneficial to any organization.

Titus 1:6-9 “Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;  in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,  sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative” (NASB, 2000, p 2148).

The attributes of a leader include: being above reproach, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, nor addicted to substances, nor fond of selfish gain (NASB, 2000, p 2148). Considering Titus 1:8, a global leader should be hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, and self-controlled (NASB, 2000, p 2149). One would note that most of these qualifications focus on character rather than knowledge or skill (NASB, 2000, p 2149). Leaders often find that they are closely watched and scrutinized. These personal attributes provide a window to one’s character and create qualifications that can be used to evaluate a person for a position of leadership within an organization (NASB, 2000, p 2149).

As Black, Morrison, and Gregersen (1999) argue, trust is a critical issue in global organizations (p 124). Trust is built in the followers when a global leader is subject to rulers, to authorities, obedient, ready to serve, maligns no one, is peaceable, gentle and showing consideration for all men and women (NASB, 2000, p 2151). Further a global leader should avoid foolish controversies, strife and disputes (NASB, 2000, p 2152).

Stagich (2001) argues that a leader’s success depends greatly on the more intrinsic, self-sustaining principles of synergy and how well we facilitate it to achieve goals (p 21). Culture remains complex because it is essentially composed of individual interpretations of the world and the activities and artifacts that reflect these interpretations (Mintzberg, et al., 2005, p 265). When interpreting how to connect with others we should develop relationships in advance of any business transactions (Foster, 2012).  Zweifel (2003) argues that leaders must learn to respect cultural pathways (p 25) and must put themselves in the shoes of those in other cultures (p 26). A step toward connecting with other cultures relies on how well the leader develops an understanding of the culture for which they will operate (Foster, 2012). The Apostle Paul understood the cultural attributes of the church in Crete and would have developed a close enough relationship to have spoken on authority of what needed to be done. He would have further understood the dynamics of self-sustaining principles and would have sought to develop synergy focused on the achieving the goals of the Christian Church.

The Apostle Paul understood the need to empower those he placed in leadership position. When a leader empowers their followers, they clearly do not abdicate the role of leadership but simply allow their followers to operate within their giftedness and training with the organizations vision and purpose always in mind (Foster, 2012).

Conclusion

A global leader is one who is closely watched, scrutinized and evaluated by the culture in which they operate. A global leader must develop personal relationships and trust to best lead within the context of a differing culture. The Pauline attributes of leadership as presented in Titus are arguably universal keys to leading across cultural boundaries. While culture remains a complex issue and interpretations of the world will vary, one attribute seems to transcend all others; that of trust and understanding. The Apostle Paul was greatly trusted by those in Crete and his authority remained long after his physical departure. His ability to mentor and instruct his leaders from afar was a clear indication of the trust he had developed during his time there. A global leader, like Paul will develop this trust as well as the ability to develop synergy that facilitates the achievement of organizational goals.

References

Mintzberg, Henry; Ahlstrand, Bruce and Lampel, Joseph (2005). Strategy Safari. New York, NY: Free Press.

Foster, Philip (2012). Retrieved from his posting: Blackboard Dialogues for Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA.

Branch, Chester (2012). Retrieved from his posting: Blackboard Dialogues for Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA.

Galbraith, Jay R. (2000). Designing the Global Corporation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Robbins, Vernon K. (1996). Exploring the Texture of Texts. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International.

NASB (2000). Life Application Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Sire, James W. (1997). The Universe Next Door. Madison, WI: InterVarsity Press.

Janiak, Becca (2012). Retrieved from her posting: Blackboard Dialogues for Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA.

Black, J. Stewart, Morrison, Allen J., Gregersen, Hal B. (1999). Global Explorers. The Next Generation of Leaders. New York, NY: Routledge.

Stagich, Timothy (2001). Collaborative Leadership and Global Transformation.  Miami Beach, Florida: Global Leadership Resources.

Zweifel, Thomas D (2003). Culture Clash – Managing the Global High-Performance Team. New York, NY: SelectBooks.

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Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Skype: philip.a.foster | 615-216-5667

Paul’s Letter to Romans and its implications on being a Good Leader

It is admirable to desire being a good leader. Unfortunately the pursuit of great leadership skills become a challenge in that each person, with their diverse interpretations, holds differing perceptions of what values are. These interpretations of values help develop systems of guiding principles[1] possessed by an individual who believes others will also hold their values in the same level of esteem.[2] We find that values are nothing more than a yardstick for judging behaviors of an individual or group.[3] Moreover, these values are taught to us throughout our life. As Christians we therefore can argue that we learned the values which we grow to hold in high esteem. Likewise the Christians of Paul’s time would have also held learned values. Perhaps it is in the differences that we find the importance of sharing our values in an effort to learn as well as create alignment amongst groupings of individuals? James W. Sire reminds us that a person’s values are relative to their culture.[4] For those of us who desire to change our values, a great deal time is required to undo a life-time of training and living those values. Christians, not to mention religious leaders of Paul’s day interpreted scripture based on their own human reasoning and conveniences, not by any revelation.[5]

We all have a unique set of values and experiences that make up who we are.[6] These core values help us create standards of conduct that drive our decisions.[7] Perhaps Paul, like Jesus calls us to be custom breakers? Paul’s challenge in Romans 2:25 illustrate such, “For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.”[8] Paul was offering an intense criticism of hypocrisy in which it is easier to tell others how to live than for us to behave in the same manner.[9] This classic do as I say and not as I do was expressed in Romans 2:26-27 where Paul asserts that “if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?”[10] Perhaps it is easier to say all the right words than it is to do all the right things?[11] A leader must seek alignment between their words and their actions.[12] For in this the character of the leader is formed and through character a leader can develop influence amongst their followers.

Leadership by its very definition is someone who is concerned with the ultimate direction of the group or organization for which they lead.[13] To change the direction of an organization requires influence which is the ability to affect an individual’s attitudes, values, beliefs or actions.[14] To hold influence over another requires an ethical responsibility to the followers with respect and dignity which requires understanding of the followers own interests, needs, and conscientious concerns.[15] It is through this respect and dignity that a follower may perceive the leaders true character.

Character is what makes an individual worth following.[16] It is in the person’s character that we find that they will do what is right regardless of the cost.[17] Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath because it was the right thing to do regardless of the time in which he did it. A more contemporary leader, Abraham Lincoln was best known as honest Abe because his reputation remained unblemished throughout his life.[18] Both Jesus and Lincoln set and responded to fundamental goals and values that moved their followers.[19] Stephen R. Covey once said that we divide things up in two main categories: The way things are, or realities and the way things should be or values.[20] He goes on to say that we seldom question their accuracy and we assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way that they should be.[21] Leaders, like Jesus and Lincoln, tend to be trusted because they usually lead by example and act consistently upon the values and the mission of the organization.[22] Followers will tend to naturally mimic those around them. Social Psychologist posit that we unconsciously mimic others expressions, postures, voice tones and so-forth.[23] This unconscious mimicking indicates that even at a subconscious level others have influence over us. Modern psychology predicts that influence can be both positive and negative and may come from individual or even group pressures. Such social influences include pressure to conform, maintain obedience, groupthink, prejudice and even aggression.[24] The use of such means may have a long-term effect of the attitudes of the followers. Such attitudes affect the follower’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors toward the leader and their leadership style.[25]

In Romans 3 Paul refers back to Psalm 14:1-3 in which he posits that “there is none righteous” which in essence means that no one is innocent and no one can earn their right standing before God.[26] Paul argues that we cannot earn our way into the Kingdom by simply being a member of the church or following certain guidelines. It is not enough to simply know the Law but we must also live according to the law for, as Romans 3:23 states “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publically as a propitiation in His blood through faith.[27] It is through a commitment in daily living in which the Christian opens themselves to the Spirit of God and all of the possibilities are afforded.[28] Like the Pharisees before them, those that Paul was addressing may have believed that they were following the law as God intended. They would no doubt continue to stick with their beliefs that have worked for them for so long.[29] This raises a problem for the recipients because their view is essentially composed of their interpretations of the world and their activities and interpretation of the law is an artifact that reflects these interpretations.[30]

In Roman 4 Paul addresses the pride in which the Jews held over being called children of Abraham and being such felt saved simply by their faith.[31] In the case of circumcision the Christians relied on rituals as a means to earning some reward from God. Paul reminds us that ceremonies and rituals only serve as a reminder of our faith and are meant to instruct others in our belief.[32] A leader can take a great lesson from Romans 9 in that while we may have a worthy goal to honor God or even our followers; it is not achieved by mere rigid adherence and painstaking obedience to the law.[33]

As a leader it is important to understand that it is impossible to not infuse or instill our values into the organization in which we serve. A leader’s influence will affect the organization either positively or negatively whether they like it or not. The problem is not whether appropriate or not to infuse such values; the question is whether the leader has the appropriate behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions to create success.[34] Additionally a leader must understand the differing and conflicting needs of their followers and how to address each of them.[35] Unfortunately most organizations are led by leaders who only know how to be administrators.[36] Administrators lead through an exaggerated confidence in their perceived execution skills.[37] For a leader to infuse appropriate values into the organization, leadership must begin with an understanding of a commitment to respect the followers.[38] To do so will aid the leader to always keep faith with the people they lead; never lying to their followers or breaking laws or rules in which the leader is charged to uphold.[39] Organizations can benefit greatly from a leader who understands their influence on the values of the organization. Leaders who do not understand the role they serve in will surely instill inappropriate values in those they lead. An administrator is less likely to succeed in leading an organization long-term if they focus only on the many available change methods, programs, and process to the exclusion of understanding and meeting the needs of their followers.[40]

As leaders we must understand the importance of our character, trust and individual values as it relates to our followers. We cannot simply regard our interpretations of the world as fact without consider those around us. It is through our ignorance of cultural interpretations that we find a resistance to change. This resistance is linked to a shared commitment to beliefs which encourages consistency in behaviors and discourages changes for any reason.[41] A leader’s character and trust is quickly diminished when their words do not align with their actions. To maintain the trust of our followers we must be consistent in our pursuit of consistency of word and deed. Leaders must be quick to understand that change of strategy may be needed from time to time as their interpretations of the world around them may be flawed. Openness to correction and growth is surely the sign of a good leader.


[1] Collins, J.C., & Porras, J.I. (1996, September-October). Building your company’s vision. Harvard Business Review, 74(5), p. 66.

[2] Boudon, R. (2001). The origin of values: Sociology and philosophy of beliefs. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, p. 10.

[3] Hackman, M.Z. and Johnson, C.E. (2000). Leadership. A Communication Perspective. 3rd Edition. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., p. 233.

[4] Sire, James W. (1997). The Universe Next Door – Third Edition. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, p. 87.

[5] Ramirez-Rodriguez, Pedro (2011). Retrieved from his posting: Blackboard Dialogues for Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA.

[6] Julian, Larry (2002). God is my CEO. Avon, MA: Adams Media Corporation, p. 254.

[7] Julian, (2002), p. 254.

[8] NASB, (2004), p. 1974.

[9] NASB, (2004), p. 1973.

[10] NASB, (2004), p. 1974.

[11] NASB, (2004), p. 1973.

[12] NASB, (2004), p. 1973.

[13] Hackman & Johnson, (2000), p. 12.

[14] Daft, (2002), p. 440.

[15] Northouse, Peter (2001). Leadership. Theory and Practice. 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc, p. 254.

[16] Stanley, Andy (2003). The Next Generation Leader. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., p. 131.

[17] Stanley, (2003), p. 134.

[18] Phillips, Donald T. (1992). Lincoln on Leadership. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc., p. 52.

[19] Phillips, (1992), p. 52.

[20] Covey, Stephen R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, Inc., p. 24.

[21] Covey, (1989), p. 24.

[22] Johnson, Mildred (2011). Retrieved from her posting: RE: Value Based Leaders and Followers. Blackboard Dialogues for Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA.

[23] Myers, David G. (2007). Psychology. 8th Edition. New York, NY: Worth Publishing, p. 731.

[24] Myers, (2007), p. 732-751.

[25] Daft, (2002), p. 130.

[26] NASB, (2004), p. 1974.

[27] NASB, (2004), p. 1975.

[28] Hawthorne, G.F., Martin, R.P., and Reid, D.G. (1993). Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press., p. 849.

[29] Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B., Lampel, J. (1998). Strategy Safari. New York, NY: First Free Press, p. 270.

[30] Mintzberg, Ahlstrand and Lampel, (2005), p. 265.

[31] NASB, (2004), p. 1976.

[32] NASB, (2004), p. 1977.

[33] NASB, (2004), p. 1988.

[34] O’Toole, James (1996). Leading Change. New York, NY: The Random House Publishing Group, p. x.

[35] O’Toole, (1996), p. xi.

[36] Hamel, Gary (2002). Leading the Revolution. New York, NY: Penguin Group, p. 22.

[37] Hamel, (2002), p. 22.

[38] O’Toole, (1996), p. 34.

[39] O’Toole, (1996), p. 35.

[40] O’Toole, (1996), p. 37.

[41] Mintzberg, et al., (2005), p. 269.

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Philip A Foster, MA is a professional life and leadership coach with Maximum Change Inc.
He works with leaders to facilitate the development of  life purpose, life balance and achievement of greater success; encouraging leaders to take active and consistent steps toward reaching goals and objectives. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Blog | Skype: philip.a.foster | (615) 216-5667

Strategic Intent of the Emerging Christian Church and its Implications for Contemporary Organizations. A Study of the Farewell Discourse of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.

Cultural Relativism and the Rebel named Jesus

Throughout the Gospels Jesus challenges the cultural and religious norms of the day while preparing His followers for the work to be done after His departure. He was constantly pressing against cultural relativism of the religious leaders which argues that “what the tribe, nation, social unit says is valuable is valuable” (Sire, 1997, p 87). The religious leaders approach to their culture had no room for a rebel like Jesus. They acted as if Jesus was going to “upset [their] social cohesiveness and jeopardize [their] cultural survival” (Sire, p 87). One could argue that the religious leaders felt threatened by Jesus and were simply in a power struggle to preserve their moral values. Because Jesus knew of this power struggle, he would have needed to provide a final set of instructions to the disciples before his departure. In Luke 24:44-49 we find the farewell discourse in which Jesus provides the summation of his work in the form of a strategic plan for the early Christian Church.

49 “Now He said to them, These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 “You are witnesses of these things. 49 “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (NASB, 2000).

Jesus would have known that His plan would require the disciples to break out of their comfort zone and they would need to be prepared to go “to all the nations” starting with Jerusalem and working their way outward to the entire world. Their mission was “to seek and save all the lost” (Andres, 2000, p 426). Strategically, Jesus provided the disciples with all of the steps necessary to accomplish this specific goal. Jesus told them to go and “wait for the power from the Spirit with prayer, joy and worship” (Andres, 2000, p 426). It is noted that from the very beginning, “the message of Jesus Christ has sent people into the world, not kept them cloistered away from the world” (Andres, 2000, p 426). One must note that at the time of Jesus final discourse the dominant culture was still in conflict with the followers of Jesus Christ. The dominant culture of the religious leaders presented “a system of attitudes, values, dispositions and norms […]supported by social structures vested with power to impose its goals on [the] people in a significantly broad territorial region” (Robbins, 1996, p 86). Much of the discourse of the early church was subculture rhetoric, which appeared to imitate “the attitudes, values, disposition and norms of dominant culture rhetoric” (Robbins, 1996, p 86). One could argue that the religious leaders saw the Christian church as a new cultural system imposing itself over the “law” and replacing the law with a new process of doing things. (Robbins, 1996, p 86). Sire (1997) argues that this process “upset social cohesiveness and jeopardize cultural survival” (p 87).

 

Emergent Strategy and the Process of Planning

One could look at the emerging church and the conflict it produces as an example of how contemporary organizations could handle emerging strategies within conflict. One could note that an emergent strategy will emphasize learning and “coming to understanding through the taking of actions” (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, and Lampel, 1998, p 189). Mintzberg, et.al. (1998) argue that the “concept of emergent strategy […] opens the door to strategic learning, because it acknowledges the organizations capacity to experiment” (p 189). The emerging church could be seen as a great experiment, which required a process of strategic thinking and planning. de Kluyver and Pearce II (2009) state that the “process of crafting a strategy can be organized around three key questions: Where are we now-? Where do we go? and How do we get there?” (p 19). If one examines the position of the early Christian church, one would note that the church was under the Law of Moses and the authority of the religious leaders. The strategy of the emerging church went against the status quo, as the disciples were to go into the entire world and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ encouraging people to repent and be baptized. The church got there by first waiting for the Holy Spirit to come and aid them and then they were to go and preach the gospel. de Kluyver and Pearce II (2009) remind us that each “question defines a part of the process and suggests different types of analyses and evaluations [and] shows that the components of a strategic analysis overlap, and that feedback loops are an integral part of the process” (p 19).

Strategically when one asks where are we now? they typically look at the process “concerned with assessing the current state of the business or the company as a whole” (de Kluyver and Pearce II, 2009, p 19). The question examines such things as the organizational mission and the long-term vision or the organization. Jesus presented to the disciples an organizational mission and vision that was clear and concise – Go into all the world and make disciples. This question would additionally consider the cultural context in which the organization would operate. Would there be a culture push-back or acceptance of the plan. Once it is determined where we are now the organization can turn its attention to addressing the questions where do we go from here.

Where do we go from here questions are “designed to generate and explore strategic alternatives based on the answers obtained to the first questions [where are we now]” (de Kluyver and Pearce II, 2009, p 19). Jesus final discourse offered a two-step process of where do we go from here; wait for the Holy Spirit and then go into all the world and make disciples. Jesus would have understood that there would be great conflict from the religious leaders of the day. Because of such conflict, the disciples would have had to consider How do we get there from here knowing that they would likely meet great resistance. As it relates to the disciples, the resistance would arrive from the religious leaders.

In asking How do we get there, one will enter into the process of strategic thinking which requires focusing on “how to achieve the desired objectives” (de Kluyver and Pearce II, 2009, p 21). Jesus and then later the disciples would have to consider “key success factors associated with successfully implementing the chosen strategy” (de Kluyver and Pearce II, 2009, p 21). In asking how we get there, we explore the journey portion of the process. Hughes and Beatty (2005) state that Making the journey requires and assessment of how “well are your tactics integrated with your strategy” (p 208). The journey includes an emphasis on long-term as well as short-term outcomes.

The final portion of an emerging strategic plan would entail a continual review of the organizational process. While one could argue that the scripture does not speak to the specifics of this process, one can conclude that the Holy Spirit plays a part in the disciples’ continual assessment and realignment. The Checking our progress process implies that the organization use some kind of balanced scorecard to assess organizational performance” (Hughes and Beatty, 2005, p 208). One would need a metric by which to measure the performance of the plan. In the case of the disciples, they would check their progress by the number of conversions to Christianity and the number of countries in which the movement had expanded. One would need to ask, “How do you assess your progress in developing future capability (Hughes and Beatty, 2005, p 209).

Conclusion    

The process of declaring ones strategic intent requires consideration of cultural relativism as well as potential cultural conflict. Jesus understood this premise when he left the disciples with a specific plan to go and make disciples of the world. We have learned that the strategic process requires a review of some basic probing questions: Where are we now? Where do we go? and How do we get there?” Exploring the answers to these basic questions helps the leader develop a better thought-out and effective long-term plan. This concludes with a review of the plan to assess the strategy for strengths and weaknesses. One will note that the process of strategic intent is a continual process of consideration and adjustment. One will note that Jesus gave very specific instructions with no options for deviations. One could argue that it is the role of the Holy Spirit to act as the guide to help maneuver through the strategy changes required as the disciples acted on the plan. The role of the organizations leadership is to continually evaluate and adjust as needed. This requires continual evaluation and adjustment of the plan as needed. It is through the adherence of this process that an organization can achieve greater success.

References

Sire, James W. (1997). The Universe Next Door. Third Edition. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press

Life Application Study Bible. New Living Translation (12nd ed.).(2004). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, Publishers, Inc.

Andres, Max (2000). Holman New Testament Commentary of Luke. Nashville, TN: Holman Reference.

Robbins, Vernon K. (1996). Exploring the Texture of Texts. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press

Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B., and Lampel, J. (1998). Strategy Safari – A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management. New York, NY: Free Press

de Kluyver, Cornelis A. And Pearce II, John A. (2009). Strategy. A View from the Top. Third Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Hughes, Richard L. And Beatty, Katherine Colarelli (2005). Becoming a Strategic Leader. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

——————–

Philip A Foster, MA is a professional life and leadership coach with Maximum Change Inc.
He works with leaders to develop their purpose, life balance and achieve greater success. Encouraging leaders to take active and consistent steps toward reaching goals and objectives. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Blog | Skype: philip.a.foster | (615) 216-5667

Shepherd Leadership Model: Exploring the leadership of Old Testament figures and Jesus through the metaphor of shepherding.

The Leader as Shepherd

Literature reveals much debate over the leadership style of Jesus. Dr. Gerrit Van Vuuren asserts there are “many writings about Jesus including some about His leadership style.”[1] However, Van Vuuren argues that researchers have done “very little research”[2] into His actual leadership style. This paper will explore the nature of Christian leadership by considering Old Testament figures and the leadership style of Jesus using the metaphor of a shepherd. This paper will show a correlation between shepherd leadership and the servant leadership model.

The New American Standard Bible defines Shepherd as “a caretaker or tender of sheep and goals.”[3] One would note that the image of shepherd as leader would have been perfect, given that many of the “Israelites were sheep farmers and knew exactly what the job of a shepherd entailed.”[4] Many of the Old Testament figures were shepherds. Among them would have been “Abraham and Jacob, the twelve tribes, the prophet Moses, and King David; and the Old Testament prophet Amos.”[5] However, Gerrit Van Vuuren contends, “On the issue of Christian Leadership more is written about King David than Jesus.”[6] Yet, he goes on to say, “All of the Old Testament serves as an indicator towards Jesus Christ.”[7] To understand the nature of leader as shepherd, scholars have asserted that shepherd metaphorically represents “God the Father, Jesus and the leaders of a congregation who help the flock to feed on the Word of God and protect them from false teachers and unsound doctrine.”[8] One could argue that the metaphorical use of shepherd throughout scripture points to the leadership style required by God of those he places in positions of authority. Therefore, as a shepherd one presumes an authority over those being shepherded. If one were to refer back to the NASB definition, one could argue that shepherd leadership includes organizational goals.

Throughout scripture, there are many examples of God giving authority for a specific purpose. In reading scripture, one could argue that one would need authority to become a shepherd over those in which they would lead. For example, starting in Exodus 3:1 we find Moses who was “pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.”[9] From this scripture, one will note the authority given Moses by his father-in-law over the flock. To parallel this idea of authority, one can look to the later dialogue between God and Moses in Exodus 3:10 in which God says, “Come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel out of Egypt.”[10] In this passage, one can conclude that God provided the authority to Moses necessary for him to go to Pharaoh and deliver the Israelites out of slavery. One could argue that Moses otherwise would not have been able to go before Pharaoh and deliver the Israelites from Egypt without such authority from God. Scripture indicates a discourse between Moses and God in which Moses argued, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”[11] Scripture presumes reluctance on Moses part as he felt was not equipped for such responsibility and authority. Yet one could argue that Moses already obtained the needed skills to lead the Israelites out of Egypt through his upbringing in Pharaohs palace as well as his experience shepherding the flock of sheep belonging to Jethro. Further, 2 Samuel 5:2 illustrates the authority given Moses to shepherd as leader by stating, “And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd My people Israel, and you will be a ruler over Israel.’”[12] Matthew 2:6 carries forward the idea of shepherd leadership when it states, “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” One will note the theme in both scriptures, “Shepherd My people.” Both scriptures connote a given authority for someone to take leadership over a group of people. Scripture notes Gods deep interest in shepherding people. Numbers 27:17 illustrates the leadership style of a shepherd when it says, “…and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the Lord will not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”[13] Comparatively, Matthew 9:36 states, “Seeing the people, He [Jesus] felt compassion for them because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.”[14] In both cases, the scriptures capture the idea of leading, serving and providing a covering of safety for those whom God gave responsibility over.

The Leader as Servant

Leadership has been defined as “a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.”[15] Yet, when one looks at the concept of shepherd leadership, one notes the need to serve others. Shepherding appears on the surface to be in conflict with the worldview definition of leadership. To understand shepherding leadership one must understand and define servant leadership. A servant leader is that of a leader who “seeks to serve, and that this serving is a natural component of the leader.”[16] Servant leadership implies a natural calling to serve others. Could this possibly mean that this is not natural for all? Through the interaction with His disciples, Jesus spent much of his time mentoring and teaching them on the acts of service. One could argue that Jesus mission was to show the disciples that this requires a commitment on the part of the leader to serve others without potential of immediate reward. Matthew 16:24-26 illustrates this notion, “Jesus spoke of another kind of commitment. He told His disciples and made it clear that He wants total commitment. Jesus said, unless one commits everything, one loses everything. He urges His followers, take up your cross and follow me.”[17] One could conclude, based on scripture, that servant leadership is a learned skill based on the mentorship of Christ over His disciples.

From Ezekiel, one could further argue that a shepherd is nothing more than a servant leader. One must understand however that a servant leader “is not a particular style of leadership, but rather relates to the motivation behind a leader’s thoughts, words and actions.”[18] Ezekiel 34: 11-31 outlines the differences between a bad shepherd and a good one. One will note that there is a distinct difference in motivation behind both the bad and the good. The following table illustrates Ezekiel 34:11-31 and the differences between bad shepherding and good shepherding:

Bad Shepherds                                              Good Shepherd

Takes care of themselves                                 Takes care of the flock

Worry about their own health                         Strengthen the weak and the sick

Rules harshly and brutally                               Rules lovingly and gently

Abandons and scatters the sheep                   Gathers and protects the sheep

Keeps the best for themselves                        Gives their best to the sheep.

It is important one note that the desire to serve is selfless. Ezekiel illustrated this notion through the idea of taking care of the flock, strengthening them and protecting them. One can look to Isaiah 40:11, which states that, “Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.”[19] Again, the selflessness of leadership is exemplified in scripture. Jesus further expressed this selfless giving in Matthew 20:26-27 “…but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” Jesus taught that one did not have to be a hero to be a leader. Actually, He taught just the opposite. To be a leader one must be a servant. He taught in Matthew 23:8 that there is no need to pull rank on each other, and that “the greatest among you will be your servant.”[20] It can be argued, “Servant leadership may be a style of management to corporations, but to Jesus it was an attitude of heart.”[21] Jesus displayed this in Matthew 20:21 when he said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”[22] One could conclude that shepherd and servant leadership both begin within the heart of the leader to humbly serve and protect those whom authority has been given.

Scripture reflects one of the final acts of empowerment and instruction of shepherding by Jesus. In Matthew 6, we find a dialogue between Peter and Jesus in which Jesus tells Peter that on this rock (Peter) He will build his church. John 21:15-17 confirms this statement when Jesus restores Peter. Jesus provides three commands to Peter: John 21:15 Tend my Lambs, John 21:16 Shepherd my Sheep and John 21:17, tend my sheep.[23] The first instance of the word “tend” one can find translation that indicates the meaning to be “feed my sheep”[24] or to watch after the flocks physical health and wellbeing. Then he commands Peter to shepherd the sheep, which scholars argue is the act of leading the church.[25] The final instance of the word “tend” indicates a spiritual feeding of the church.[26] One would note that Jesus was doing nothing more than “instructing the founder of His church that he would have to lead the disciples and members of the church of the future in a specific way.”[27] As one looks to the model of Christ, it is noted that the leadership style he provoked was not only of shepherd but of servant. One could argue that it is not possible to be a true shepherd unless one is also a servant.

Conclusion

A review of literature indicates very little scholarly research on the matter of shepherd leadership. Regardless of the deficit, one need only look to scripture to understand that shepherding is an important concept to God. One could conclude that God points to shepherd leadership style as a requirement of those placed in authority over others. One could argue that shepherding and servant leadership are synonymous with and interdependent on each other. One must understand that effective shepherding begins with a heart for service and authority to hold leadership over others. When considering the definition of leadership and the influence required in achieving common goals, one must maintain humility and service to those they serve. The difference between a good shepherd and a bad one is rooted in the motivation of the leader. A bad shepherd will be more concerned with his or her own wellbeing. Shepherd leadership is a matter of selfless service to subordinates. This service to others will require a commitment to serve without the potential of immediate recognition or reward. Shepherd leadership will require, at times, gently leading those in their charge, mentoring and sometimes teaching them along the way. One must avoid the danger of Moses who considered himself ill prepared to serve. While humility is an important aspect of shepherd leadership, it may also lead one to miss the skills and abilities already in place to serve. Shepherding begins with ones heart and extends to the skills and abilities they bring to the table to serve as a leader. Like the shepherds of old, one must have the skills, the authority and above all the heart of service to lead others.


[1] Van Vuuren, Gerrit (2010), “The Leadership Style of Jesus Christ Part 2.” Retrieved September 19, 2010 from http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/The-Leadership-Style-Of-Jesus-Christ–part-2-/1503509

[2] Van Vuuren

[3] New American Standard Bible (2000). Holy Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Van Vuuren

[5] Answers.com (n.d.) “Shepherd.” Retrieved September 27, 2010 from http://www.answers.com/topic/shepherd

[6] Van Vuuren

[7] Van Vuuren

[8] NASB

[9] NASB

[10] NASB

[11] NASB

[12] NASB

[13] NASB

[14] NASB

[15] Northouse, Peter G. (2001). Leadership Theory and Practice Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. p 3.

[16] Patterons, Kathleen (2003). “Servant Leadership Theory.” Virginia Beach, VA: Regent University.

[17] Ekeke, C.K. (2006). “Emulate the Life and Leadership style of Jesus Christ.” Retrieved September 16, 2010 from http://nigeriaworld.com/feature/publication/ekeke/122406.html

[18] The teal trust (2002) “Servant Leader” retrieved from http://www.teal.org.uk/dl/servant.htm

[19] NASB

[20] NASB

[21] Hughes, Donald L. (n.d.). “Jesus the CEO adapted from The Leadership Model of Jesus.” retrieved from http://www.jesuscentral.com/ji/life-of-jesus-modern/jesus-ceo.php.

[22] NASB

[23] NASB

[24] Van Vuuren

[25] NASB

[26] NASB

[27] Van Vuuren

——————–

Philip A Foster, MA is a professional life and leadership coach with Maximum Change Inc.
He works with leaders to develop their purpose, life balance and achieve greater success. Encouraging leaders to take active and consistent steps toward reaching goals and objectives. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Blog | Skype: philip.a.foster | (615) 216-5667

Assessing the Constructs of Leader-Follower Theory and the Cultural Context of the Interaction between Jesus, Jewish Elders and the Centurion of Luke 7.

In the opening texture of Luke 7:1 we find Jesus entering Capernaum which is located on the northern edge of the Sea of Galilee. During this time, “the headquarters of the Roman army in Judea was located in Caesarea, on the Mediterranean coast.”[1] Centurions, as in this case, were occasionally assigned to provinces under special assignments. History indicates that Roman centurions were of similar rank to a Captain and “often of the humblest origin; he had been promoted from the ranks simply on account of bravery and military efficiency.”[2] While the Romans ruled over the Jews, the centurion knew that it “would be inappropriate and disrespectful for him to approach Jesus and make a request.”[3] Despite the cultural divide, in verses 2 through 5 we learn that this centurion is well respected by the religious community and is a big donor to the synagogue. Understanding the social station the centurion maintains we are better able to analyze the interaction between Jesus, the Jewish elders, and the centurion.

Leadership is a “process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective.”[4] The centurion under Roman law had the authority to influence those around him by whatever means he chose. “So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant.”[5]

Followership is made of “those individuals towards whom leadership is directed.”[6] The Jewish elders who normally argue with Jesus showed another side as they take on the follower role in their approach to Jesus. As the centurion and Jewish elders work together, we find a leader-follower system at work, which implies that there are “two or more persons working together.”[7] The elders “begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving. For he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”[8] The centurion and the elders are “relational partners who play complementary roles.”[9] It is through the elders that the centurion, “an officer of an unwelcome Gentile occupying force, approach a Galilean wonderworker”[10] to secure such a favor. “From this perspective, the relationship between leaders and followers becomes reciprocal and interdependent.”[11] The elders do this “for the centurion, adding the character witness that the centurion will be a worthy recipient of favor.”[12] The elders recognize all that the centurion has done for the religious community and the centurion calls in a favor.

Entering the middle texture of the text, Jesus takes on the role of follower when he agrees to go see the centurion. “But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof.”[13] We find an interesting dynamic as we compare the texture between verse 3 and verse 6. In verse 3 we see a leader who is “used to issuing commands, the centurion phrased the message bluntly: Come (erchamai) ! Cure! (diasōzō)”[14] Yet, in verse 6 we conversely find a more humble centurion who sends his trusted friends to greet Jesus before he reaches the centurions home. Here the Inner Texture Analysis of Argumentative Texture and Patterns is employed. Argumentative Texture “investigates multiple kinds of inner reasoning in the discourse.”[15] The Argumentative Texture and Pattern between verse 3 and verse 6 help to clarify the centurions understanding of his position by presenting “assertions and supports them with reasons, clarifies them through opposites and contraries, and possibly presents short or elaborate counterarguments.”[16] When the centurion’s friends approach Jesus they “called Jesus kurios, a Greek word that can mean ‘sir,’ ‘lord over the servants,’ or ‘Lord over heaven and earth.”[17] The centurion, now through his friends, maintains a follower’s role through “his great humility, and being conscious to himself of his unworthiness to have such a person under his roof.”[18] “Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.”[19] The centurion simply asks Jesus to delegate His authority so that his servant is healed. The centurion knows that great authority does not have to be present for action to be taken. “Just as this officer did not need to be present to have his orders carried out, so Jesus didn’t need to be present to heal.”[20]

In verse 8 the centurion explains leader-follower theory. “For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”[21] He had the clear understanding that under his superiors he was a follower, yet also a leader over his soldiers. By this the centurion was familiar with “all the principles of obedience.”[22] The centurion would have also acknowledged Jewish laws and customs that “it was not lawful for a Jew to go into the house of an uncircumcised Gentile.”[23] The centurion understood that Jesus was a man of great authority and that a “person in authority has the power to delegate authority to accomplish his purpose.”[24] In a contemporary setting a manager would delegate authority to her staff to accomplish goals and objectives. The manager expects the staff to take on a leader role to accomplish those tasks. Each person in the process “is acting on orders both laterally and from above. And with the responsibility to fulfill the order also comes the authority to accomplish it by whatever authorized means are necessary.”[25] As the centurion recognized Jesus’ authority to act from a distance, contemporary leaders need not always be present for delegation of authority to take place. Tools such as email, telephone, verbal directives, memorandums, and letters can all be used to delegate authority to accomplish organization goals. Additionally the chain of command is a powerful line for delegation. The board of directors as leaders charge the company CEO as the leader/follower to action, the CEO as leader passes the authority to a regional Vice-President and so forth.

The closing texture of text presents a centurion who views Jesus as much a leader as himself. We note that leadership is “not so much about position, but about their ability to influence through behaviors and self-concepts.”[26] “The centurion’s insight is that Jesus’ delegated word of authority can span distance. He has power in the spirit world to speak a word and his word is accomplished.”[27] The story of the centurion illustrates that “leadership and followership are traits in which, at any one time, leaders assume followers’ role and followers assume leadership roles.”[28] From this we know that the “combination of two or more persons working together implies the leader-follower scheme exists”.[29] Luke 7 further illustrates the need to consider cultural context in which the leader-followers operate. In Luke 7 we find a leader who has great authority to do as he pleases, yet understands the cultural significance of a Jewish leader entering his home.

Much can be learned from the humble centurion and the leader-follower theory presented in his story. The leader-follower model presented is an excellent illustration of contemporary manager as leader-follower and is transferrable across organizational and cultural lines. The Gentile was leader of the Jews yet became a follower of the Jews. Likewise, the Jews were following the Gentile but also lead over him. With respect to cultural differences, the centurion was able to effectively lead and follow without having to give up his authority. Jesus and the Jewish elders were able to lead and follow without having to break from Jewish law or their respective roles.


Notes

[1]. Bible History, “Roman Centurion.” http://www.bible-history.com/sketches/ancient/roman-centurion.html (accessed June 16, 2010)

[2]. Roman Colosseum, “The Role of the Roman Centurion.” http://www.roman-colosseum.info/roman-army/roman-centurion.html (accessed June 16, 2010)

[3]. Mark Driscoll, “Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God Part 26: Jesus Heals the Centurion’s Servant Luke 7:1-10” (Mars Hill Church, May 2, 2010).

[4]. Peter G. Northouse, Leadership, Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2001), 3.

[5]. Luke 7:3 (New King James Version)

[6]. Northouse, 3

[7]. John Pitron, “Followership is Leadership: The Leadership-Exemplary Followership Exchange Model.” Version 8. Knol. (August 16, 2008). http://knol.google.com/k/dr-john-pitron/followership-is-leadership/12nb17zejmb1w/2 (accessed May 16, 2010)

[8]. Luke 7:4-5 (New King James Version)

[9]. Michael Z. Hackman and Craig E. Johnson, Leadership A Communication Perspective. (Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, Inc. 2000), 17.

[10]. David A. DeSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 336.

[11]. Gilbert and Matviuk, “Empirical Research: The Symbiotic Nature of the Leader-Follower Relationship and it’s Impact on Organizational Effectiveness.” Academic Leadership.The Online Journal. Vol 6: Iss 4 (Oct 9, 2008) http://www.academicleadership.org/emprical_research/The_Symbiotic_Nature_of_the_Leader-Follower_relationship_and_Its_Impact_on_Organizational_Effectiveness_printer.shtml (accessed June 20, 2010)

[12]. DeSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament, 336.

[13]. Luke 7:6 (New King James Version)

[14]. Trent C Butler, Holman New Testament Commentary on Luke. (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2000), 104.

[15]. Vernon K. Robbins, Exploring the Texture of Texts. A Guide to Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation. (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996), 21.

[16]. Robbins, Exploring the Texture of Texts, 21

[17]. Butler, Holman New Testament Commentary on Luke, 104

[18]. Commentary on Luke 7:6 http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/luke-7-6.html (accessed June 15, 2010)

[19]. Luke 7:7 (New King James Version)

[20]. New American Standard Bible, “Life Application Study Bible.” (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 1752.

[21]. Luke 7:8 (New King James Version)

[22]. The Four Fold Gospel – Healing the Centurions Servant. http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/the-fourfold-gospel/by-sections/healing-the-centurions-servant.html (accessed June 15, 2010)

[23]. Commentary on Luke 7:6. http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/luke-7-6.html (accessed June 15, 2010)

[24]. Ralph F. Wilson, A Man with Authority (Luke 7:1-10). http://www.jesuswalk.com/lessons/7_1-10.htm (accessed June 15, 2010).

[25]. Wilson,”A Man with Authority (Luke 7:1-10)”

[26]. Gilbert and Matviuk, “Empirical Research: The Symbiotic Nature of the Leader-Follower Relationship and it’s Impact on Organizational Effectiveness.”

[27]. Wilson,”A Man with Authority (Luke 7:1-10)”

[28]. Gilbert and Matviuk, “Empirical Research: The Symbiotic Nature of the Leader-Follower Relationship and it’s Impact on Organizational Effectiveness.”

[29]. Pitron, “Followership is Leadership: he Leadership-Exemplary Followership Exchange Model.”

Bibliography

Bible History. Roman Centurion. http://www.bible-history.com/sketches/ancient/roman- centurion.html (accessed June 16,2010).

Butler, Trent C. Holman New Testament Commentary on Luke. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2000.

“Commentary on Luke 7:6” Bible Study Tools. http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/luke-7-6.html (accessed June 15, 2010).

DeSilva, David A. An Introduction to the New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

Driscoll, Mark. “Sermon on Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God Part 26: Jesus Heals the Centurion’s Servant.” May 2, 2010.

Gilbert and Matviuk. “Empirical Research: The Symbiotic Nature of the Leader-Follower Relationship and It’s Impact on Organizational Effectiveness.” Academic Leadership. The Online Journal. Vol 6: Iss 4 (October 9, 2008). http://www.academicleadership.org/emprical_research/The_Symbiotic_Nature_of_the_Leadership-Follower_relationship_and_its_impact_on_Organizational_Effectiveness_printer.html (accessed June 20, 2010).

Hackman, Michael Z. and Craig E. Johnson. Leadership A Communication Perspective. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., 2000.

Holy Bible: The New King James Version. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1988.

Northouse, Peter. Leadership, Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2001.

Pitron, John. “Followership is Leadership: The Leadership-Exemplary Followership Exchange Model.” Version 8. (August 16, 2008). http://knol.google.com/k/dr-john-pitron/followership-is-leadership/12nb17zejmb1w/2 (accessed May 16, 2010).

Robbins, Vernon K. Exploring the Texture of Texts. A Guide to Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996.

Roman Colosseum. The Role of the Roman Centurion. http://www.roman-colosseum.info/roman-arm/roman-centurion.html (accessed on June 16, 2010).

“The Four-Fold Gospel – Healing the Centurions Servant.” Bible Study Tools. http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/the-fourfold-gospel/be-sections/healing-the-centurions-servant.html (accessed June 15, 2010).

Wilson, Ralph F. A Man with Authority (Luke 7:1-10). http://www.jesuswalk.com/lessons/7_1-10.htm (accessed June 15, 2010).

——————–

Philip A Foster, MA is a professional life and leadership coach with Maximum Change Inc.
He works with leaders to develop their purpose, life balance and achieve greater success. Encouraging leaders to take active and consistent steps toward reaching goals and objectives. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Blog | Skype: philip.a.foster | (615) 216-5667

Assessing the Constructs of Leader-Follower Theory and the Cultural Context of

the Interaction between Jesus, Jewish Elders and the Centurion of Luke 7.

Philip A. Foster

425 N Thompson Lane, No 71

Murfreesboro TN, 37129

615-216-5667 phone

615-216-0552 fax

philip@maximumchange.com

LDSL 701

Dr. Gary Oster

June 27, 2010

Abstract

This paper explores the constructs of leader-follower theory through the interaction between Jesus, Jewish elders and the centurion as found in Luke 7:1-10. Through the use of Inner Texture Analysis of Socio-Rhetorical Criticism, the cultural context of interaction between Jews and Gentiles and its contemporary application to the leader-follower model are presented. This study employs the use of argumentative and open-middle-closing textures and patterns of Inner Texture Analysis. Though culturally the centurion was a governmental hēgemōn and could demand by any means necessary anything of anyone, he acknowledges cultural attributes and the authority of Jesus. The centurion demonstrates the traits of a follower as he seeks healing for his servant. Further the symbiotic nature of the leader-follower is present, not just between Jesus and the centurion but also with the Jewish elders as they approach Jesus on behalf of the centurion despite their ongoing conflict with His teachings. We will find that the application of leader-follower theory, as represented in this story, is applicable to present day interactions between leaders and followers of differing levels of authority and cultural affiliation.


In the opening texture of Luke 7:1 we find Jesus entering Capernaum which is located on the northern edge of the Sea of Galilee. During this time, “the headquarters of the Roman army in Judea was located in Caesarea, on the Mediterranean coast.”[1] Centurions, as in this case, were occasionally assigned to provinces under special assignments. History indicates that Roman centurions were of similar rank to a Captain and “often of the humblest origin; he had been promoted from the ranks simply on account of bravery and military efficiency.”[2] While the Romans ruled over the Jews, the centurion knew that it “would be inappropriate and disrespectful for him to approach Jesus and make a request.”[3] Despite the cultural divide, in verses 2 through 5 we learn that this centurion is well respected by the religious community and is a big donor to the synagogue. Understanding the social station the centurion maintains we are better able to analyze the interaction between Jesus, the Jewish elders, and the centurion.

Leadership is a “process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective.”[4] The centurion under Roman law had the authority to influence those around him by whatever means he chose. “So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant.”[5]

Followership is made of “those individuals towards whom leadership is directed.”[6] The Jewish elders who normally argue with Jesus showed another side as they take on the follower role in their approach to Jesus. As the centurion and Jewish elders work together, we find a leader-follower system at work, which implies that there are “two or more persons working together.”[7] The elders “begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving. For he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”[8] The centurion and the elders are “relational partners who play complementary roles.”[9] It is through the elders that the centurion, “an officer of an unwelcome Gentile occupying force, approach a Galilean wonderworker”[10] to secure such a favor. “From this perspective, the relationship between leaders and followers becomes reciprocal and interdependent.”[11] The elders do this “for the centurion, adding the character witness that the centurion will be a worthy recipient of favor.”[12] The elders recognize all that the centurion has done for the religious community and the centurion calls in a favor.

Entering the middle texture of the text, Jesus takes on the role of follower when he agrees to go see the centurion. “But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof.”[13] We find an interesting dynamic as we compare the texture between verse 3 and verse 6. In verse 3 we see a leader who is “used to issuing commands, the centurion phrased the message bluntly: Come (erchamai) ! Cure! (diasōzō)”[14] Yet, in verse 6 we conversely find a more humble centurion who sends his trusted friends to greet Jesus before he reaches the centurions home. Here the Inner Texture Analysis of Argumentative Texture and Patterns is employed. Argumentative Texture “investigates multiple kinds of inner reasoning in the discourse.”[15] The Argumentative Texture and Pattern between verse 3 and verse 6 help to clarify the centurions understanding of his position by presenting “assertions and supports them with reasons, clarifies them through opposites and contraries, and possibly presents short or elaborate counterarguments.”[16] When the centurion’s friends approach Jesus they “called Jesus kurios, a Greek word that can mean ‘sir,’ ‘lord over the servants,’ or ‘Lord over heaven and earth.”[17] The centurion, now through his friends, maintains a follower’s role through “his great humility, and being conscious to himself of his unworthiness to have such a person under his roof.”[18] Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.”[19] The centurion simply asks Jesus to delegate His authority so that his servant is healed. The centurion knows that great authority does not have to be present for action to be taken. “Just as this officer did not need to be present to have his orders carried out, so Jesus didn’t need to be present to heal.”[20]

In verse 8 the centurion explains leader-follower theory. “For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”[21] He had the clear understanding that under his superiors he was a follower, yet also a leader over his soldiers. By this the centurion was familiar with “all the principles of obedience.”[22] The centurion would have also acknowledged Jewish laws and customs that “it was not lawful for a Jew to go into the house of an uncircumcised Gentile.”[23] The centurion understood that Jesus was a man of great authority and that a “person in authority has the power to delegate authority to accomplish his purpose.”[24] In a contemporary setting a manager would delegate authority to her staff to accomplish goals and objectives. The manager expects the staff to take on a leader role to accomplish those tasks. Each person in the process “is acting on orders both laterally and from above. And with the responsibility to fulfill the order also comes the authority to accomplish it by whatever authorized means are necessary.”[25] As the centurion recognized Jesus’ authority to act from a distance, contemporary leaders need not always be present for delegation of authority to take place. Tools such as email, telephone, verbal directives, memorandums, and letters can all be used to delegate authority to accomplish organization goals. Additionally the chain of command is a powerful line for delegation. The board of directors as leaders charge the company CEO as the leader/follower to action, the CEO as leader passes the authority to a regional Vice-President and so forth.

The closing texture of text presents a centurion who views Jesus as much a leader as himself. We note that leadership is “not so much about position, but about their ability to influence through behaviors and self-concepts.”[26] “The centurion’s insight is that Jesus’ delegated word of authority can span distance. He has power in the spirit world to speak a word and his word is accomplished.”[27] The story of the centurion illustrates that “leadership and followership are traits in which, at any one time, leaders assume followers’ role and followers assume leadership roles.”[28] From this we know that the “combination of two or more persons working together implies the leader-follower scheme exists”.[29] Luke 7 further illustrates the need to consider cultural context in which the leader-followers operate. In Luke 7 we find a leader who has great authority to do as he pleases, yet understands the cultural significance of a Jewish leader entering his home.

Much can be learned from the humble centurion and the leader-follower theory presented in his story. The leader-follower model presented is an excellent illustration of contemporary manager as leader-follower and is transferrable across organizational and cultural lines. The Gentile was leader of the Jews yet became a follower of the Jews. Likewise, the Jews were following the Gentile but also lead over him. With respect to cultural differences, the centurion was able to effectively lead and follow without having to give up his authority. Jesus and the Jewish elders were able to lead and follow without having to break from Jewish law or their respective roles.



Notes

[1]. Bible History, “Roman Centurion.” http://www.bible-history.com/sketches/ancient/roman-centurion.html (accessed June 16, 2010)

[2]. Roman Colosseum, “The Role of the Roman Centurion.” http://www.roman-colosseum.info/roman-army/roman-centurion.html (accessed June 16, 2010)

[3]. Mark Driscoll, “Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God Part 26: Jesus Heals the Centurion’s Servant Luke 7:1-10” (Mars Hill Church, May 2, 2010).

[4]. Peter G. Northouse, Leadership, Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2001), 3.

[5]. Luke 7:3 (New King James Version)

[6]. Northouse, 3

[7]. John Pitron, “Followership is Leadership: The Leadership-Exemplary Followership Exchange Model.” Version 8. Knol. (August 16, 2008). http://knol.google.com/k/dr-john-pitron/followership-is-leadership/12nb17zejmb1w/2 (accessed May 16, 2010)

[8]. Luke 7:4-5 (New King James Version)

[9]. Michael Z. Hackman and Craig E. Johnson, Leadership A Communication Perspective. (Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, Inc. 2000), 17.

[10]. David A. DeSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 336.

[11]. Gilbert and Matviuk, “Empirical Research: The Symbiotic Nature of the Leader-Follower Relationship and it’s Impact on Organizational Effectiveness.” Academic Leadership.The Online Journal. Vol 6: Iss 4 (Oct 9, 2008) http://www.academicleadership.org/emprical_research/The_Symbiotic_Nature_of_the_Leader-Follower_relationship_and_Its_Impact_on_Organizational_Effectiveness_printer.shtml (accessed June 20, 2010)

[12]. DeSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament, 336.

[13]. Luke 7:6 (New King James Version)

[14]. Trent C Butler, Holman New Testament Commentary on Luke. (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2000), 104.

[15]. Vernon K. Robbins, Exploring the Texture of Texts. A Guide to Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation. (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996), 21.

[16]. Robbins, Exploring the Texture of Texts, 21

[17]. Butler, Holman New Testament Commentary on Luke, 104

[19]. Luke 7:7 (New King James Version)

[20]. New American Standard Bible, “Life Application Study Bible.” (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 1752.

[21]. Luke 7:8 (New King James Version)

[22]. The Four Fold Gospel – Healing the Centurions Servant. http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/the-fourfold-gospel/by-sections/healing-the-centurions-servant.html (accessed June 15, 2010)

[24]. Ralph F. Wilson, A Man with Authority (Luke 7:1-10). http://www.jesuswalk.com/lessons/7_1-10.htm (accessed June 15, 2010).

[25]. Wilson,”A Man with Authority (Luke 7:1-10)”

[26]. Gilbert and Matviuk, “Empirical Research: The Symbiotic Nature of the Leader-Follower Relationship and it’s Impact on Organizational Effectiveness.”

[27]. Wilson,”A Man with Authority (Luke 7:1-10)”

[28]. Gilbert and Matviuk, “Empirical Research: The Symbiotic Nature of the Leader-Follower Relationship and it’s Impact on Organizational Effectiveness.”

[29]. Pitron, “Followership is Leadership: he Leadership-Exemplary Followership Exchange Model.”

Bibliography

Bible History. Roman Centurion. http://www.bible-history.com/sketches/ancient/roman- centurion.html (accessed June 16,2010).

Butler, Trent C. Holman New Testament Commentary on Luke. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2000.

“Commentary on Luke 7:6” Bible Study Tools. http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/luke-7-6.html (accessed June 15, 2010).

DeSilva, David A. An Introduction to the New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

Driscoll, Mark. “Sermon on Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God Part 26: Jesus Heals the Centurion’s Servant.” May 2, 2010.

Gilbert and Matviuk. “Empirical Research: The Symbiotic Nature of the Leader-Follower Relationship and It’s Impact on Organizational Effectiveness.” Academic Leadership. The Online Journal. Vol 6: Iss 4 (October 9, 2008). http://www.academicleadership.org/emprical_research/The_Symbiotic_Nature_of_the_Leadership-Follower_relationship_and_its_impact_on_Organizational_Effectiveness_printer.html (accessed June 20, 2010).

Hackman, Michael Z. and Craig E. Johnson. Leadership A Communication Perspective. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., 2000.

Holy Bible: The New King James Version. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1988.

Northouse, Peter. Leadership, Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2001.

Pitron, John. “Followership is Leadership: The Leadership-Exemplary Followership Exchange Model.” Version 8. (August 16, 2008). http://knol.google.com/k/dr-john-pitron/followership-is-leadership/12nb17zejmb1w/2 (accessed May 16, 2010).

Robbins, Vernon K. Exploring the Texture of Texts. A Guide to Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996.

Roman Colosseum. The Role of the Roman Centurion. http://www.roman-colosseum.info/roman-arm/roman-centurion.html (accessed on June 16, 2010).

“The Four-Fold Gospel – Healing the Centurions Servant.” Bible Study Tools. http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/the-fourfold-gospel/be-sections/healing-the-centurions-servant.html (accessed June 15, 2010).

Wilson, Ralph F. A Man with Authority (Luke 7:1-10). http://www.jesuswalk.com/lessons/7_1-10.htm (accessed June 15, 2010).