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The Grace Project

Leadership Matters - Finding Our Voice

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As we continue to reflect on the need for a new kind of elder, we stay with the seminal psalm twenty-three. The imagery of Jesus as The Shepherd is as apt as it is incredibly rich and instructive for those of us who follow in His loving footsteps as shepherds of the flock.   The opening statement speaks volumes: The Lord is my Shepherd. Sheep need a shepherd and I believe that people need leadership; Leadership matters.  But if leadership matters the way we lead matters even more.  
Leaders manage meaning.  They tap into our our need for love and our desire to grow and our wish to make a telling contribution.  Leaders either take us hostage or set us free.   They have a profound effect on our lives.  Sadly for every Good Shepherd there are many more false and evil ones.   You have said Paul 'ten thousand instructors but I became unto you a father in the Lord.' (1 Cor 4:15.)   How Paul lamented that he had no one else like Timothy, no one else who was genuinely concerned for your welfare. Most men serve their own interests and not the interests of Jesus Christ. ( Phil 2:26)
Describing himself as The Good Shepherd Jesus tells us in (John 10) that His sheep hear or more specifically recognise his 'voice.'   The subject of 'voice' is becoming increasingly important in leadership.  Voice refers to personhood, it speaks about  the person as a whole.   Leadership is essentially about voice.  It is about attracting willing followers.  Leaders lead through the use of voice.
Finding our leadership voice is a priority.  Without voice all you have to rely on is your position, or your authority. When you have 'voice' you've no need for a position and if you do have one you've no need to use it to coerce or manipulate, your sheep hear your voice and they follow.  And here's the thing - if they don't follow then you can rest assured that they're not your sheep!  When they hear the distinctive quality or pitch or condition that is the particular voice of their shepherd, they follow. The shepherd's voice is unique.   The only time that sheep will respond to the voice of another is when they are sick; then they will follow any one! 
Now I expect you don’t need me to remind you that there is something of a leadership crisis in the world.  That lack seems to be exaggerated in the church.   So what are we looking for if the emerging church is not to become just another emerging church is men and women who are Good Shepherds. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
The acid test for those of us who are exercising a shepherding voice is do the people that we lead: 
1.Grow as persons 
2.become healthier 
3.become freer
4.become wiser 
5.more autonomous  
6.become servants themselves

One person's voice can cause us to rebel or quit whilst another's can generate genuine excitement.  Good Shepherds not only find their voices he helps others to find theirs.   Each of us have a voice, a powerful voice that must cry into the wilderness that is the world in which we live, and that my dear friends is one of the reasons why Leadership matters so let's find our voice. 

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