Friday, February 26, 2016

Shepherd-Leaders Have Followers

Wilberforce, Ohio

"To manipulate, drive or manage people is not the same thing as to lead them."
- Dallas Willard, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God, pp. 106-107

A sheep dog drives the sheep; a shepherd leads the sheep.

Sheep dogs have prisoners; shepherds have followers. For the Jesus-following shepherd-leader the one to follow is not you, but Jesus. Willard writes:

"When we lead as shepherds, our confidence is in only one thing: the word of the Great Shepherd, coming through us or, otherwise, to his sheep. We know that they know his voice and will not follow another (John 10:1-16). We do not want them to follow another, even if we ourselves are that “other.” Only this supreme confidence frees us to be true ministers of Christ." (Ib., 107)

Our confidence is not ultimately in our own selves, but in the One who leads us. Even the "shepherd" is a sheep. As Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me."

My main task, as a Jesus-follower and pastor, is to dwell in the presence of God so as to hear His voice. (See, in addition, one of the best books ever on pastoral leadership, In the Name of Jesus, by Henri Nouwen.)