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The Dynamics Of Jesus’ Leadership Style

In John chapter 10, we read about the Good Shepherd and the predicament of the sheep under His care. The disciples have now been following Jesus day and night for three years. In the process He has been leading them, teaching, and providing for them. They have left all that they had behind, and Jesus became their whole life. However, their lives were at the verge of an unexpected change. Jesus was beginning to condition the disciples to the fact that He would not remain with them forever. They had to gain a new level of understanding on the situation.

To achieve this, Jesus began to turn their focus onto the way that He has been leading them for the past three years. He is the Good Shepherd, and they are the sheep. But soon things would change drastically. He would still remain the Good Shepherd, but they, [the disciples], were soon to become shepherds, and the new followers of Jesus would become the flock under their leadership.

Knowing them intimately, Jesus realized what their weaknesses were, as well as their concerns. Later on, He would put their minds at ease with knowledge of the coming Comforter, but for now, He needed to teach them about His leadership style, the style that they were to reproduce, and which every disciple through the ages was supposed to apply

They did not have leadership experience, and they were not trained in the best colleges or universities. All they had in their favour [thank God for that] was experience that they gained from observing Jesus’ own leadership. They saw and experienced how He led His followers. However, did they understand the dynamics of leadership: more specifically His leadership? I doubt it.

Then Jesus began explaining the dynamics of His leadership style in the form of a parable, as He so often did. Firstly, there were several parties involved in the process of life. Among others, there was the Good Shepherd, the Son of God, their Master, the one telling the parable. Then there was the enemy, Satan, also known as the Devil, snake, wolf thief and some other names he thoroughly deserves. The flock of sheep were easy for the disciples to identify, as Jesus talked about the sheep on many previous occasions.

Many Christians I am sure have noticed that the Christian walk is not a simple interaction between man, God and devil, as some so dearly want to assume.

In fact the life of a true [reborn] Christian is everything but simplex. Firstly our need for a Saviour did not start within ourselves, but was created by God. Similarly, we are only able to love God, because He first loved us, and did not turn His back on us. Also the fact that we are by nature sinners, is not because of something that our parents did wrong. The Christian life is one of the most complex institutions that exist. That is because we live on different planes simultaneously. We are both flesh and spirit in the same life. Therefore we are bound by a set of rules and s spiritual dynamic set by our Creator, God.

We cannot earn it a good standing with God by good works, which would imply receiving merits for knowledge or promotion because of extramural services. Oh, how simplex that would be. No, we live in a very complex, and dynamic realm.

We have to receive the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. That is it. Nothing more, and nothing less.

However, repenting, and accepting Jesus as Saviour, hard as it is for some, is the easiest part of the equation. Although I have known many, who found it hard to conceive, believe and put into action, the Word reminds us that Jesus is constantly ‘knocking at the door of our hearts’. All we have to do is open up and let Him in.

Then, [thus believe the adherents to the simplex Christian life] begins a life of moonshine and roses. However, may I say that this contradicts Jesus’ own words, where He invited all that will follow Him to deny themselves, take up their crosses and then follow Him. [Matthew 16:24 and other] This does not appear like the simplex happy-go-lucky, on-my-way-to-heaven theory coming true to me. However, we do have joy, peace, love and many other things at a level that the unsaved cannot experience.

[Jesus was telling about His leadership style…] Firstly, His leadership of a person only assumes after rebirth. [John 3:5] Until then he/she was following other leaders, but at rebirth, he/she comes under the leadership of Jesus Christ. Put differently, they are now part of the fold. How do you enter the fold? According to Jesus nobody can legitimately enter, except through Him.

He is the only way in, but it is interesting to note that there may be several others attempting to call the sheep out. Strangers for instance, will be calling on them to get them to leave the safety of the fold, not for the sake of spiritual growth, but to get them back in the ‘world’. [In this sense, your ‘old’ friends are sometime the most dangerous enemies.] Jesus calls such leaders ‘strangers’ in John 10 verse 5. However, the good news is, if you entered the fold in the [only] legal way, you will not answer to the voice of the stranger.

On this point, many people have asked me what illegal ways there are to enter the fold, and I love to tell them about the illegal way that I tried for many years. I considered myself part of the fold although I had never been born again. No sir, I was a ‘Christian’ because I belonged to the state church, like the rest of my family. However, I understood the difference when one night, life became too much for me, and I thought of committing suicide. That night, sitting alone next to our kitchen table, I realized that I needed a Saviour, and attending the ‘politically correct church’, was of no use to me. [You may also find the parable of the wedding good reading in this regard.

But, says Jesus, the stranger is not the only person to bother you. There are also thieves, who will try to ‘steal’ you out of the fold. [Complicated, isn’t it?] The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 KJV)

Have you had those ‘smooth-shaved-well-spoken-guy-beautiful-girl’ partnerships knocking at your door? They look so good, and they speak so beautifully, and they seem so honest, it is a wonder they do not steal more sheep out of the fold. But, what they do NOT have, is the anointing of the Holy Spirit! [This is the topic of a future article, so do look out for it.]

And just when you think ‘phew’ I am rid of those now. I am a child of God, and all will be smooth-sailing in future, you open your eyes with a shock to meet the wolf. [The same person who also is also personified as the snake, lion, devil etc.] In short, brothers and sisters, Satan is out to destroy you, and he will not leave you alone until the day that you finally enter your Father’s house.

Do you still believe in a Simplex Christianity? That does not exist. Not at all!

This is only an abstract of the true study on the dynamics of Jesus’ leadership style. If you need more information on this topic, kindly visit my homepage, and learn more about the Shepherd Leader series of seminars, as well as the e-books that I have on offer.

Dr. Gerrit van Vuuren has more than twenty five years of experience as soft skills and management trainer, counselor and life coach. He holds a Masters Degree (M.Sc) in Human Resources Development, a Doctoral (PhD) in Systematic Theology, specializing in Leadership, and another Doctoral (D.Th) in Biblical Counseling.

Dr Gerrit is very popular as guest speaker, motivational trainer, and seminar leader. He has the ability to not only hold the attention of his audience, but to leave a positive and lasting impression on the life of all his clients.

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