Saturday, January 23, 2010

Redemptive Leadership

redemption: the act, process, or an instance of redeeming; to free from what distresses or harms; to free from captivity by payment of ransom through sacrifice; to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental; to release; to free from the consequences of sin; to change for the better; to exchange.

The Theory

Leadership is influence in relationship. There are countless theories of leadership, though many are hailing Servant Leadership as the most Biblical. If it is Biblical is it universal? If universal should it not apply to the influence military leaders have in their spheres of influence as well? With so many military ministries (and even secular institutions) now advocating Servant Leadership as the model best describing Christ-like leadership I felt compelled to contemplate what really is being advocated. After two years of academic study focused on this model I have learned that there is not one common, universally accepted definition; the spectrum of understanding when using the term spans from secular presuppositions to those with well-meaning Biblical intentions. However, I have become skeptical that no matter where it is that an individual’s worldview resides in relation to servant leadership theory their understanding of the concept is most certainly incomplete, or at a minimum insufficient. The fundamental issue stems from the failure to disassociate the means of leading from the ends of leadership. Put it another way, the problem resides in the confusion that serving others as a leader (or leading others as a servant) is the culmination, the end state and focus of the essence of leadership. I submit, that there is more based on Jesus’ statement of His primary reason for serving saying, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life for the redemption of many” (Matt. 20:28, the Greek word lutron is translated as ransom paid to redeem or redemption). Jesus was a Lutron Leader - a Redemptive Leader. I would submit that's exactly what kind of leader we should endeavor to be and it's the exact model I am going to take some time to write about this week. I believe it to be the best model to effectively and adequately capture Christ-like leadership. If you have questions or comments, as always, leave a post and I will be sure to try my best to address them. Lead to Redeem!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Owner's Manual

"Watch your life and doctrine closely." (1 Tim. 4:16)

A few days ago I wrote of our need to study people, understanding the underlying basis for their decisions.

To do this best you should do it in accordance with the Bible. After all, everything in the Navy is IAW some reference rather it be a technical manual (NSTM), maintenance card (MRC), or operational sequencing system (EOSS, CSOSS, etc.). So, lead IAW BIBLE. While the bookstore is overflowing with leadership books we would do well to remember that the best book on leadership is the Word of God. Study the Bible - no text better describes, defines, and depicts the reality of the human condition. If you want to lead people, you must know people. If you want to know people, you must know the Bible. After all it is the "owner's manual" given to us by the Manufacturer. If something was wrong with my vehicle and I needed to correct it where would I look? What if I wanted to maintain or improve it? The first place I would look would be the owner's manual. (This isn't a great metaphor because the Bible is completely adequate with regard to people.) With a vehicle the company that designed it has put out some basic information on that particular model to inform the owner of the essential and necessary information that the owner should know. The Bible is the Designer's Book for communicating the essential and necessary information to understand the nature of the creation, particularly His greatest creation - men and women. However, unlike an owner's manual for our stuff the Word of God tells us about the Creator as well. With regard to leadership it also describes the model and perfect example of the greatest Leader that ever walked the earth - Jesus. So, while there are biographies and autobiographies of good human leaders - the Bible (the WHOLE Bible - from cover to cover) tells us about Jesus Christ. Read it daily! - "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." (Josh. 1:8)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

60 Second PhD in Leadership

This is worth the time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Paul's Laws of Motive

Law: a rule, principle, or fundamental condition regarded as governing the relationship of an element in the structure of something to the other elements therein contained.

Newton may have his three Law's of Motion, but the Apostle Paul has his own Law's of Human Motive that we would do well to study. Here he describes one of them:

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Rom. 7:14-20)

Do you believe that? That doesn't really help me feel so good about myself. That's not so positive and encouraging. It certainly doesn't help my personal concept of self-esteem and humanistic identity. However, Scripture never discusses these pop-psychology notions. A true picture of human nature is described (in the first person) by Paul. Believe it! It is the truth! It applied to him and it applies to you, me, and the people we lead - it is a
law. Leadership is all about people. Great leaders understand human nature - which is to say the indisputable laws that are at work in them, as well as those that govern the people they influence. You must become a law student, in this regard, to become a better leader. Study people, understand what directs them, consider the common conditions at work in the hearts of men.

Here's the rest of the Good News story - the answer to Paul's closing question: "Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Rom. 7: 25) He is able to triumph over the law of sin at work within his people.