Several verses in the Bible remind us that the Lord is a Good Shepherd, and He will lead us to a place of peace.
"He makes me lie down in green pastures" (Ps. 23).
To lie down, sheep must feel secure. Because of their height and weight distribution, lambs are vulnerable to many predators.
"I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel their grazing ground shall be. There they shall lie on good grazing ground, and in a rich pasture they shall feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord God" (Ezek. 34:14-15).
This passage sheds light on the Lord's shepherding style. In contrast to the self-serving rulers of Israel, He promises to lead His flock to graze in better pastures on the grassy mountains of Israel. David describes the Lord's care from the receiver's perspective: The sheep will lie down in the good pasture and graze in greener meadows.
Verse 15 makes it clear that the Good Shepherd led His followers to eat well and to rest.
God loves us and leads us through the Holy Spirit. The metaphor of a Good Shepherd is at once comforting and challenging.
It is challenging because sheep must submit to leadership. They prefer to wander in search of greener pastures. They love their independence until a wolf eyes the all-it-can-eat flock buffet.
It is comforting because the rod and staff of the shepherd rescue wayward lambs. The rod launches toward the wolf. The staff yanks the sheep into a place of peace.
"As I have moved among men and women from all strata of society as both a lay pastor and as a scientist, I have become increasingly aware of one thing. It is the boss—the manager—the Master in people's lives who makes the difference in their destiny" (Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23).
A servant leader works with rod and staff to create an environment of peace. Dating back to at least the Industrial Revolution, managers were taught the best way to optimize worker performance was to threaten job security. Time and motion studies yielded stifling metrics. "Work faster, or we will get someone who can."
Sheep won't lie down in a threatening environment. Some managers continue to think discomfort and pressure cause people to perform at a higher level. Whatever productivity boost intimidating managers achieve fades quickly when workers find peaceful pasture elsewhere.
Research shows the leading cause of resignations by competent team members is not money. When we lose committed people, the most common cause is a poor relationship with a manager. Effective leaders experience low turnover with these love-driven qualities:
Transparent—What you see is what you get. A genuine leader keeps agendas in view.
Inspirational—Focus on your team, not your own needs. A spiritual leader helps others draw closer to God.
Growth-oriented—Help people improve. An influential leader offers frequent and substantive training and mentorship.
Humble—Accept responsibility for all that goes wrong. A servant leader gives praise to others for all successes.
Results-driven—Till the soil of your green pasture. A motivating leader expects daily execution and progress toward goals.
But no list of leadership do's and don'ts can truly inform the heart of a leader. An effective leader's development occurs "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little" (Isa. 28:10).
Steve and Joy Strang publish Charisma Leader to inform and persuade leaders of the value of Spirit-led leadership. The best leaders are led by the Holy Spirit.
Charisma Media offers Charisma Leader to help ministry and marketplace leaders consider their ways (see Hag. 1:7). We present stories about men and women who are called into leadership and therefore are known by their fruits.
Don't miss this issue's cover story about Charlie Lewis, who attributes 100 percent of his significant success in business to principles of living in the kingdom of God on earth. You might also enjoy listening to my interview with him at cpnshows.com. His story and lifestyle glorify God.
Today, as you lead your team, create an atmosphere of peace. Healthy sheep lie down on the job.
Dr. Steve Greene is publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His Charisma House book, Love Leads, is available at christianbook.com, amazon.com or your local bookstore. Download his Love Leads podcast at cpnshows.com, and follow his Love Leads blog at charismamag.com/blogs/love-leads.
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