Titus Connection October 2021

Volume 15, Number  10 – OCTOBER, 2021

Greetings.  Shepherds use a staff for a few uses including establishing boundaries because sheep naturally like to stray.  People have similar tendencies.  Plus have you ever considered yourself to be a 2nd chair team member.  Pray these articles encourage you.  Mike


In the time of Jesus, a shepherd had two primary tools to perform his job, the rod and the staff.  The staff a shepherd used had multiple purposes.  The first purpose is to direct which was described in the previous article.  Another purpose was to establish boundaries.
Sheep naturally like to stray.  People are the same as they can quickly scatter and go in so many different directions, doing their own thing to accomplish the task set before them.  This is why when in leadership, we need to keep sharing the vision, of where we are going and a good direction of how we will get there.  It is not a “one and done” activity.  Even though it took only 52 days to rebuild the Jerusalem walls, Nehemiah had to keep laying the vision of rebuilding the walls in front of the people, especially when they faced opposition.
In a shepherd’s world, when a shepherd would see a sheep straying, he would take the straight end of the staff and tap the sheep on the shoulder to point it back in the right direction.  If the sheep did not get it, the curved end would then be used by placing it around the neck to pull it back to the fold.  Leaders need to teach boundaries for protection sake.  If you stray too far, you will get hurt because you are out of the reach or boundary of the shepherd.  You will be living and teaching outside the boundaries Jesus set up.
When leading, do not micromanage people.  In WILD we equip people to do leadership development and then empower them to make what we have shared with them, to become their own ways of how to teach the biblical truths and often how these truths need to be applied in their world and culture.  The boundaries are the scriptural truths and the people have the freedom to teach and live these truths within their culture.  When the practices (culture of the people) of attempting to carry out the scriptural truths is different than what the Bible teaches, we must as Christians conform to the biblical way. 
A staff was also used to rescue lost sheep.  The shepherd will go out, risking his life and look for that one lost sheep (Matthew 18:10-14, John 10:11).  He may have to used the curved end to pull a sheep from a dangerous situation when it is found.  Serving our people, we are responsible for their well-being and safety.   They need to know that we have their backs, to include I will not say anything about them that does not build them up (even when being reprimanded) whether in their presence or when they are not around.  That is having someone’s back!
People will make mistakes, attempt things they should not have tried, say things that are inappropriate or alienate others because they are being unkind or uncaring.  How do we handle these situations when we as servants are leading them?  Do they know they are safe with us even when reprimanded and have to face the consequences of their poor choices?
Finally a sheep knew it was loved when a shepherd used the staff to separate a sheep from the rest of the flock and pull it close to him.  He would also use the staff to gently stroke a sheep’s back.  He was encouraging the sheep, letting it know that it was special to the shepherd.  How we communicate, show care and compassion, how we listen (or do not listen) and how we serve those whom we are responsible to.
Treat people with great respect.  Love them by being kind, listening, building them up, be interested in their lives, deal with difficult issues privately and be sincere in your interactions with them.  This is the metaphor of a shepherd’s staff.  If people know you have their best interest in mind for their lives and their loved ones, you will be acting as the Good Shepherd would. 


Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).  We need each other because we can accomplish more together.  We will keep each other staying on the cutting edge of being strong for the Lord.  Teams make the dream, the vision come into reality.  Are you committed to developing the team attitude?
“A true leader is not someone who can do the work of ten people, but someone who can organize ten people to do the work.”, according to Dale Galloway.   Why don’t want to work with a team or together or if are on a team, that only you can be in charge.
Our ego or pride can get in the way.  “I don’t need anyone”.  I know what is best for me and everyone else.  But we can’t do everything, so we need one another.  Recall that there are many “one another” verses in the Bible.  God created us to be relational beings and we need to allow others into our lives.
Being insecure causes some people to be threatened by others.  Insecure people place weak people around themselves because they must have control over what they are responsible for and also for things that are not their responsibility.  They may very well fear being replaced by more capable people.  Another struggle is inexperience – Some people underestimate the difficulty of achieving big things.  Your personality may be you are not outgoing, so you do not try to get others involved.  Another personality is being stubborn and demanding of others that they drive people away.  They don’t listen to ideas as they say, “My way or the highway!”
A famous orchestra conductor was once asked what the hardest instrument was to play.  His reply was second chair.  Second chair is any instrument where the musician is not the lead but essentially following what the lead musician is playing.  No one really cared to play the second chair.  Everyone wanted to be the lead.
In leadership we essentially struggle with following.  It is hard to follow.  Yet to have an effective team, you have to have followers who will carry out what the leader has directed.  Not everyone can lead at the same time.
In 1 Kings 18 and 19, Elijah was part of a great victory for God over the Baal worshippers.  Then Jezebel threatened vengeance on Elijah, throwing him into a terrible depression.  God met Elijah in the wilderness and told him to go anoint someone who would not only help Elijah but be his successor.  So he found Elisha farming.  Elijah placed his cloak around Elisha signifying Elisha would be Elijah’s successor.  
Just like in Paul and Barabas’ situation where at first Paul was not the leader of the ministry group, when Elisha joined Elijah, he was not made the successor immediately.  Rather he had to follow Elijah for some time, learning from Elijah, faithfully serving the prophet.  Eventually Elisha became the prophet of God for over 50 years. 
He was an effective replacement for he not only learned from his master but also built upon Elijah’s achievements.  In other words, he made Elijah ministry much more credible. 
It is so easy when being put in charge to do everything differently than the previous leader, making a name for yourself.  There are times that needs to be done especially when the previous leader was not at all effective or had sin issues.  If the previous leader had done a good job, faithful to the responsibility, it honors God when we build upon that legacy. 
It is hard to hear sometimes how wonderful the previous leader was when you are presently in that position.  Yet without that previous leader’s foundation, chances are you would not be doing what you are doing.  If the previous leader’s standards were high, out of respect, maintain those levels and even go higher.  If the standards were not high, then work to make them high. Do not rip apart or destroy the previous leader’s reputation as you are developing higher standards.  Playing second chair is not easy but without you, the musical piece would not sound complete.