Leader, Manager, Predator, Shepherd

(A Lection Reflection on Mark 6 and Psalm 23) (also part of the Leadership series)

Fire up the Google machine and put in “sheep without a shepherd,” “Jesus as shepherd,” “the Good Shepherd,” or “the Lord is my shepherd.” You’ll find a gazillion sermons, blog posts, and web pages talking about church members as sheep, Jesus as shepherd, why us poor humans need shepherding, and so on.

This post isn’t one of those.

Instead, let’s take a different approach. Let’s answer two questions:

  1. What are the differences between leader, manager, predator, and shepherd?
  2. What does being a “good shepherd” mean? And should we try to emulate that?

I’ve got two different blog threads going here, and I’m going to take this opportunity to weave them together. Let’s see if it works — join me below the jump. Continue reading

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Leading vs Managing — An Introduction

(This is the first in a series of posts on “leading vs managing.” If you want to keep up, signing up for the newsletter is the best way. /shamelessplug)

leading-vs-managing-ab-1-728There is a great site on the interwebz called Big Dog and Little Dog’s Performance Juxtaposition. It’s Don Clark’s site about leadership, learning, training, and performance improvement. There is a quiz on there about today’s topic, and the quiz includes two statements that you have to rate in importance:

Nothing is more important than accomplishing a goal or task.
Nothing is more important than building a great team.

Of course, everyone taking the quiz asks how both of these can be true, and Don answers from his Army days — Continue reading

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Worship As B-Roll

We had an interesting moment in worship this morning. I was in my usual place, sitting with the choir in the loft, when I looked up and noticed a TV camera crew in the back of the sanctuary. The camera man was shooting some B-roll, while the reporter was just standing there, watching the service happen. They recorded for about ten minutes or so, and when I glanced back there again, they were gone.

B-roll,” for those of you who haven’t done video production, is video shot of backgrounds, buildings, and other scenes. It is used as intro and outro shots, or to have something on the screen during a voiceover. Since our church is been indirectly in the news this week due to the marriage equality ruling, I wasn’t too surprised to see the TV crew. As I was watching them, though, the thought occurred to me:

How often do we approach worship as B-roll? Continue reading

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What If Gandalf Doesn’t Show?

(a Lection Reflection on Psalm 130 and Mark 5:21-43)

There is a scene in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers where Gandalf is leaving Aragorn to go get help. As he mounts up and prepares to leave, he says

“Look to my coming, at first light, on the fifth day. At dawn, look to the East.”

And with that bit of foreshadowing, Gandalf gallops away.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know the rest. The orc army attacks Helm’s Deep, breaks through the defenses, and is poised to massacre all the forces of good — when, at the darkest moment, the sun rises on the fifth day, Gandalf appears in shining white, and with him is an entire army on horseback, ready to turn the tide and win the battle for the good guys.

What brought this sequence to mind is a verse in this week’s Psalm (Psalm 130): Continue reading

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Is Jesus Calling Us To Be Superheroes?

(a Lection Reflection on Mark 4:35-41)

I have a guilty habit to share: I enjoy reading adventure novels. Jason Bourne, Dirk Pitt, Jack Ryan — I buy them in paperback, and usually read them in a couple of days. They’re brain candy, empty calories, but I still get a kick out of them.

The heroes in these books share at least one thing in common: they’ve learned to manage their fears. Over and over again, when faced with situations that would paralyze most of us, they are able to think through their options, make a plan, and execute that plan. And, of course, they ultimately come out on top. (Hard to have a series if you kill off the hero.)

So here’s my question for this week’s Gospel lection:

Is Jesus calling us to be superheroes?

Continue reading

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