About this Project

Why on earth would you want to be a leader? 

Why? Especially, if you are told, that as a leader, you need to abandon yourself to the strengths of others, need to listen attentively rather than talking, need to encourage contrary opinions and also need to bear the pain of others.  Perhaps that was not what you were initially thinking when you considered your involvement in leadership.   Perhaps your heart was hoping more for relevance, popularity and power.

Yet, if confronted with a biblical model of relational leadership that suggests both influence and service, you may have to reconsider your motives for leadership. You may have to realize that your choice to move in such a direction was less your doing, and more of God’s quiet calling for you to serve some of His sheep as a humble shepherd--just like His Son, who came to Earth, respectfully influencing His followers with a vision, values, deep relationships and accountability.

In a hot and humid classroom tempered by a wafting breeze across the room, three dozen Presbyterian Christian school leaders and possible future leaders of Belize gathered to walk and learn together what God requires of them.  Using Walter C. Wright’s book, Relational Leadership: a Biblical Model for Influence and Service as a primary resource, buttressed with the thoughts of De Pree, Fullan, Collins, Crouch, and others, and also sharing their own experiences and wisdom, the participants were confronted with a model that stood somewhat in contrast to the reality of leadership and authority throughout their country and also within their own church and school governance and leadership structures.

Interactive explorations about relational leadership included the power of group norms, the theology of servant leadership, Jude’s condemnation of false leaders, and the crucial understanding that the God (or gods) a leader follows will shape the exercise of leadership.  Additional topics incorporated the biblical imperative for humility, the powerful role of emotion in human relationships, and strategies to curb followers’ dependency.  A retelling of Paul’s letters to Philemon and the Colossians supported the conversation about providing a vision.  Wright’s suggestions on how to build healthy organizational culture, how to deal with conflict, and how to create and reinforce culture in a school opened hearts and heads to new understandings.

The emotional retelling of the history of their church and schools, and the acknowledgement of their individual place in that significant story helped the participants better understand and critique the over-lapping layers of governance structure in which they work.

Throughout the week, participants were challenged about their possible initial motives for wanting to lead within a Christian school setting.  A primary task of Christian schools is to strengthen life-long learning; such strengthening comes, in part, with the implementation of biblical leadership and governance. By the end of the week, the participants’ indications for how they would adjust and refine their leadership within their schools and classrooms was confirmation that God’s Spirit was present with them as they walked and learned together.       - Bill de Jager


Sep 20, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Thank you for this blog - what a beautiful thing to read. Seeing some familiar faces in the group shot....will be going back some day.

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