WISE INTENTIONAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
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
A SHEPHERD’S WAY –
THE STAFF OF DIRECTION TO ESTABLISH BOUNTRIES
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.
YOUTH MINISTRY – SECOND CHAIR TEAM MEMBERS