All of us are called to follow someone’s instructions. Effective leadership is not forging a solo path ahead of others; it’s learning to follow the right instructions from the right leader at the right time. Dysfunctions in Christian leadership were typically dysfunctions in followership long before they became dysfunctions in leadership.Continue reading.
Over the past century, several Reformed scholars and church leaders have presented the threefold office of Christ—the munus triplex of prophet, priest, and king—as a typology for church leadership today. According to this way of thinking, priesthood is connected with caregiving and prophecy is primarily about teaching. Continue reading.
This post on suffering and submission in leadership was written with Michael Wilder and is excerpted from our book The God Who Goes Before You: Pastoral Leadership as Christ-Centered Followership. You can order the book here.
After a meal with his disciples in the upper room, Jesus made his way to a familiar place (John 18:2) on the western face of the Mount of Olives. His intention was to spend time in prayer. Jesus chose to spend his final hours before facing the cross in fellowship with his Father. Jesus was “distressed”—”horrified,” “dismayed,” even “terrified”—as he approached this moment (Mark 14:33). “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death,” he said to his disciples. “Remain here, and watch with me” (Matthew 27:38).Continue reading.
Today, The God Who Goes Before You is finally available in bookstores! This book on leadership develops a fresh definition of pastoral leadership that is thoroughly grounded in the storyline and canon of Scripture. As the book unfolds, what Michael Wilder and I have developed together is a vision for the leadership of God’s people that focuses not on particular leadership techniques but on the patterns that should characterize a pastor’s pursuit of Christ.
Here’s what a wide-ranging group of pastors and leaders have had to say after reading The God Who Goes Before You:Continue reading.
This post is excerpted from my book The God Who Goes Before You: Pastoral Leadership as Christ-Centered Followership.You can order the book here.
What does kingship in the Old Testament have to do with church leadership today?
Quite a lot, as it turns out—though perhaps not in the way you would assume.Continue reading.
Incompetent Leaders, Omnicompetent God
The opening verses of Exodus invite readers into a story that stretches backward through Abraham to the very beginning of time. Moses wrote that “the Israelites were fruitful, increased rapidly, multiplied, and became extremely numerous” (Exodus 1:7). When Moses wrote these words, he was reminding his readers that God never forgot the purposes he had when he created Adam or the promises he made when he called Abraham (compare Genesis 1:28; 9:7; 17:6; 28:3; 35:11; 47:27; 48:4).
The Failure of Israel’s Shepherds
Have you ever faced a situation where someone did such a poor job on a project that you declared, “I’ll just do it myself”?
That’s not too different from what God did in response to the self-centered shepherd leaders of the nation of Judah in the Old Testament.
“I will demand my flock from them and prevent them from shepherding the flock,” the God of Israel declared. “I will tend my flock” (Ezekiel 34:10, 15). Faced with shepherds who had abused and exploited his flock, God declared that he was handing a heavenly pink slip to the leaders of Judah and taking over as the shepherd of his sheep (see also Zechariah 10:3; 11:4-17; 13:7).
What does priesthood in the Old Testament have to do with church leadership today?
Quite a lot, as it turns out—though perhaps not in the way you would assume!
Priestly leadership isn’t about becoming a priest; it isn’t even about becoming a caregiver or counselor for the people of God.
To understand the implications of Old Testament priesthood for the church today, let‘s first take a look at an overlooked aspect of priesthood in the Old Testament.Continue reading.
Dayton Moore, general manager of the Kansas City Royals, had a friend who asked him from time to time how his team was doing. Moore would begin talking about his baseball team and the friend would respond, “No, you idiot, … your team at home”—reminding Moore that his faithfulness as a husband and father mattered more than any wins or losses on the baseball diamond.
When the apostle Paul summed up God’s requirements for the church’s pastoral leaders, part of his message to would-be pastors seems to have been, “No, you idiot, … your team at home.”Continue reading.
“To him who … made us a kingdom, be glory and dominion forever,” John declared in the opening paragraphs of the apocalypse he penned on the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:5-6). Living in union with Christ the King, God’s new covenant people have been made into “a kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6).
But what does it mean, in the day-by-day life of a leader in God’s church, to be part of a people who are—because of our participation in Christ—a kingdom of priests?
One much-neglected component of this shared status of kingship is the practice of church discipline.Continue reading.
Recently, I had a conversation with Jonathan Petersen at Bible Gateway about the origin and meaning of the word “canon.” Here’s an excerpt from our discussion:
Jonathan: What is the definition of “canon”?
TPJ: The meaning of the word canon as we know it today can be traced back to how the Greeks used a certain reed, known as a kanon. The Greeks cut these reeds into specific lengths and used them as measuring sticks.Continue reading.
Ariel Sabar, writing for The Atlantic, has presented clear and convincing evidence that the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is a forgery. Dr. Karen King unveiled the fragment in 2012 and suggested that the Coptic text came from a fourth-century copy of an otherwise-unknown second-century Gospel. The clause that gave the fragment its name was found in the fourth line, which read, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife.'”
Sabar’s careful investigation of the fragment’s origins reinforced arguments presented earlier by scholars such as Andrew Bernhard and Francis Watson that the text on the scrap of papyrus was a forgery. Now, even King has admitted that the fragment is probably fake, though she has seen no need to retract her earlier paper.Continue reading.
To coincide with what has become one of the biggest movie premieres in history, The Christian Examiner discussed the theology behind the Star Wars universe with me.
Why is our society so enamored with Star Wars?
Incessant merchandising, of course, has been part of it from the very beginning. But there are a couple of additional factors that have sustained the saga as well: Particularly among fans who are in their 40s now, there’s a longing to be swept up anew in the childlike wonder of those original films and to share that wonder with a new generation. It’s also the story of how a powerful warrior falls into darkness because of his lust for more power; because of his son’s willingness to sacrifice his own life, the fallen father—Darth Vader—is reconciled and redeemed. Continue reading.