In recent years Junior has been increasingly sought for leadership development. While many of these are ministerial or church-related, he has also helped communicators, sports coaches, developing business leaders, even teachers and doctoral candidates, in some of the most nuanced and often overlooked ways. Similarly, a growing number of leaders have expressed interest in a regular commentary or mini-devotional from Junior on leadership. In response, the bit below is for you. (All content here and sitewide is the intellectual and copyright property of JDM. All rights reserved.)
When doing multiperson leadership equipping, Junior loves to use small "Mount of Olives" home meetings. These relaxed, candid environments compel leaders to ask questions, share freely, dialogue in-depth, nourish interleader intimacy, and practice their gifted craft in a nurturant, but guided, setting. Individual follow-up spins off naturally and supernaturally from these unusually productive meetings.
As a leader, you are the genes of your group or organization. Your unique helix of personality, instincts, abilities, experience, and maturity level will determine the visible nature and quality of your group. Not only does this impose a stern mandate of personal growth and leadership development, it cautions us to wisely discern the "epigenetics" of leadership also: who we agree to lead, under what conditions, and for how long.
On Shepherding a Person's Entire Time Spectrum:
Discipleship within the ekklesia is incomplete and insufficient if we are not addressing a person's/people's entire time spectrum: their past, their present, and their future.
Some shepherds focus only or mainly on the future, continually circling and emphasizing Biblical promises and exhortations regarding a more blessed tomorrow, a new season that is just around the corner, and other types of futuristic spiritual rhetoric. The person's or the people's past and present do not get quite the same attention. There are great problems with this.
Some shepherds focus only or mainly on the present, without teleological vision that informs actional relevance and strategy in the present, or, without deep retro understanding that informs how he/she/they/we got here in the present.
Some shepherds, those sharply in tune to the importance of the past, become lost therein and focus only or mainly on it. Naturally, the present and the future become collateral damage.
Revelation 1:8 says the Lord was and is and is to come. As an omnitemporal being, which we cannot fully grasp and appreciate, He has a comprehensive, dynamic relationship with past, present, and future. 2Corinthians 3:18 says He is making us into His replicas. If we put these two scriptures together we inductively arrive at a synthesis: He is making us into persons, who, like Him, have a comprehensive, dynamic relationship with past, present, and future. If you are a leader in the ekklesia, that means you need to be comfortable, skilled, and Spirit-guided with shepherding a person's entire time spectrum. You must be a source of hindsight, insight, and foresight, and you must nudge them towards their own hindsights, insights, and foresights.
When the Angel of the Lord found Hagar near a desert spring, He addressed all three time zones in her life. Contemplate His wise multidimensional question (Gen 16:8): And he said, "Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?"
Slave of Sarai...present. Where have you come from?...past. Where are you going?...future.
Interesting that Hagar answered only in the present tense, like many people often do, avoiding unsettling questions about their history and where they might end up. Hagar's response (v8): "I'm running away from my mistress Sarai," she answered.
The Angel responds, once again, by addressing all three time zones in her life (v9-12). He tells her to go back or return...past. He tells her to submit to Sarai...present. He tells her "I will" and "you will"...future.
Shepherds, if we are to fulfill Ephesians 4:11-13 and develop the Body to the full measure of the stature of Christ, then we are accountable to addressing the entire time spectrum in people's lives. Our God is omnitemporal. He has a comprehensive, dynamic relationship with past, present, and future, and if we are to represent and present Him to His people accurately, we must invoke and apply His transforming presence to their past, present, and future as well.