I am grateful to have been a part of several interesting discussions recently - and the common thread between them is to do with the interface and cross-over between leadership from a "secular" to a "religious" context.
I have said before that I am so glad David Brent was not on the telly when I was still operating as a Manager in my Engineering career. Having said that I think I was always far more from the Young Mr Grace School of Management...
...trying to be so encouraging that I ended up being pretty ineffectual.
In one of these discussions a valued colleague said
In the secular world Leadership is done from the head and lip service tends to be paid to the individual, whereas in Church it is heart-led and the individual becomes more important.
which, I think, is pretty near the mark, but as I have thought about this further there is a second issue which runs in parallel and is of no less significance.
In my morning Bible readings I am reading a chapter a day through the Old Testament, and am currently mid 2 Kings. There have been many kings of Israel and Judah who have done evil in the sight of the Lord, and one or two who have done good in God's sight such as King Ussiah of Judah of whom is written in 2 Kings 15:4
But the pagan places of worship were not destroyed, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.
And so continues the steady decline of God's people towards exile. And then in 2 Kings 18 we read of the new King of Judah, Hezekiah.
Following the example of his ancestor King David, he did what was pleasing to the Lord. He destroyed the pagan places of worship, broke the stone pillars, and cut down the images of the goddess Asherah. (2 Kings 18:3,4)
so he led not just by doing what was pleasing, but also by tackling some of the pagan rituals that took place, presumably, out in the countryside away from prying eyes. However, and what struck me as I read it, was his courage in going one step further
He also broke in pieces the bronze snake that Moses had made, which was called Nehushtan. Up to that time the people of Israel had burned incense in its honour.
I think that this action must have taken a great deal of leadership; courage and determination, but not least a discernment of the actions and intentions of those who were revering such a vital and important artefact from the good times of the past.
Some things are quite easy to discern, others things a lot less so. On some occasions the discerned view will be picked up by the body of the Church and they will be kicking themselves that they didn't see it before, and in other things the discerned view will be opposed because it will directly confront entranched views and status symbols. It might be tempting to pray for the wisdom of Solomon but, sadly, as 1 Kings 11 explains he might have had wisdom, but he didn't seem to be very discerning
Solomon married seven hundred princesses and also had three hundred concubines. They made him turn away from God