Abductive Columns

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Geese and Leadership

One of the astonishing things about Nehemiah Chapters 3-5 is that virtually everyone is involved in the work of rebuilding. There is no apparent distinction between leaders and people.

In fact, even Nehemiah and his servant worked together on the wall. Nehemiah himself did not take the portion of food that was rightly his as governor (5:15), but instead personally fed 150 at his table daily (5:17). In the process of working together, the people of God rediscovered community.

Participant ministry will increasingly replace pew observation as God's future continues to unfold in this emerging culture. No longer will lecture be the primary form of learning. No longer will authority be restricted to a few shepherds, creating huge bottlenecks in the work of building the Kingdom.

A couple of years ago my wife and I were walking through the hills of West Virginia. As we approach a lake, a host of Canadian geese flying in a southern direction formed a V as they headed directly toward us. From our vantage point, we were almost at eye level with the formation. I watched with fascination as I saw something take place that I had only previously heard about. The lead goose dropped from the front of the V to the rear, and another goose took his place.

At that moment the Lord provided me with a metaphor for what the body of Christ should look like. Immediately I thought, “…leadership is to be flexible and shared.”

Breaking the trail for the entire V formation is tiring. The lead goose bears the brunt of the forces in the air. Each goose along the V does less work than the goose in front. Eventually, the lead goose gets tired and trades his position with the next goose. This allows each goose time to rest and alternately to experience the exhilaration of being out in front.

No need for control—humility in exchange for pride!


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