DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Sorry Vader…I already have a FATHER!

Written by: on March 2, 2018

Let’s be honest…anything that has the slightest reference to Star Wars usually captures at least a little bit of my interest. In the area of Gary McIntosh and Samuel Rima’s work “Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership”, I found the title especially compelling before it challenges the role of leadership itself. The connection between Star Wars “Force” and “Dark Side” have always been easy pickings for analogies in biblical thought. In my own opinion, I do not believe any other imagery has been able to capture and stick with the mind of Biblically-minded individuals like that between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in their enigmatic struggle between good and evil. However, even more provocative is the struggle between one’s own self in finding the true path to religious obedience; so how could this be used to confront church leaders…I mean after all, aren’t we supposed to be the ones that have already figured this all out?

There were a number of things I actually enjoyed about this book; however, the primary thing I truly enjoyed was its ability to challenge the reader with their own struggles and potential obstacles in leadership. I am passionate about relating scripture to our own life; rather than separating ourselves from the message, I want to see where it applies to me. In the section titled, “Discovering Our Dark Side,” I appreciated the methodology with confronting our own weaknesses. “There are many pastors and spiritual leaders today who feel the need to be in complete control of their organization in every minute detail.”[1] This reality has caused many spiritual leaders to lie to themselves and those they serve because of never appearing “out of control.” The need to never be seen as weak, unable, or even that we still have more to learn ourselves, interferes with the true task at hand…spreading the gospel. The authors reference the short-comings of Moses…I mean come on…MOSES[2], as a means of demonstrating that we all still have issues that we have to overcome. We experience so many things in our role as leaders, and yet, somewhere we fail to realize we all have a need for learning humility. We were not chosen because we were perfect…we were chosen because we were flawed. Paul (Saul) was a Christian persecutor; Peter made more mistakes than anyone did; Judas loved money; and all the apostles fled when Jesus was arrested. In my dissertation, I am working to demonstrate the value that we have as the people that God has called us and the importance of finding our identity in Christ. We all have not just strengths, but also weaknesses that God uses to spread His gospel; it does not mean that we embrace those weaknesses, but it does mean that we need to be honest about them.

Another great portion of this book was its use of Scripture. We just finished a class at church that discussed the topic of “Adding to and taking away.” In our discussion, we saw many messages regarding the purity of God’s Word and the power that comes through it. At least in my own opinion, far too many spiritual reference books today fail to bring the Bible into the discussion. How do we learn not just how to be who we have been called to be, but even more importantly, to overcome the dark side within us, without bringing Scripture into it? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”[3] He also encouraged us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”[4] And yet, even with this kind of instruction and guidance, so many Christian leaders seem to trust in themselves rather than trusting in Scripture. I’m reminded of Darth Vader trying to convince Luke, “You don’t know the power of the Dark Side.” How many ministers truly do not know the power of the LIGHT? The obsession over greed, ego, lust, and selfish ambition has somehow clouded the pursuit for love, faith, hope, and obedience. The ignorance that seems to be instilled as a result of searching worldly resources for answers rather than Godly ones has plagued the church for far too long. We search for answers through advertising, world-view, marketing, politics, and societal acceptability while forming our lessons, rather than searching God’s own Word.

Further in regards to my dissertation aspirations, I found this resources valuable in regard to its help in showing how one’s perspective toward developing identity can be effected based on their reliance upon Christianity as an influence; ironically, this was demonstrated through the life of President Abraham Lincoln. “His self-management techniques allowed him to release inner pressure before it imploded into a significant leadership failure during a precarious period in United States history.[5]” Now, someone may wonder how this quote may have had the effects I just mentioned, the reality is that what we find most important in our lives will dictate the courses of action we take. A leader that is more focused on the ministry may work more diligently at overcoming the “dark” issues of his/her life; thus dealing with anger, hate, jealousy, lust, and even personal welfare in manners that protect the ministry over self. “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.[6]” So sometimes instead of reacting first, we pray instead; sometimes instead of reacting first, we study God’s Word instead; and sometimes rather than doing what we want, we seek out what God wants instead. “But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.[7]” This is how we overcome the power of the dark side!

 

 

Bibliography

McIntosh, G. L. (Ebook Edition 2010). Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: How to become an effective leader by confronting potential failures. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group.

Ministry, T. B. (2002). Overcoming the Darkside of Leadership- The Paradox of Personal Dysfunction. Retrieved March 1, 2018, from The Barnabas Ministry: http://barnabasministry.com/review-darkside.html

 

[1] McIntosh, G. L. (Ebook Edition 2010). Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: How to become an effective leader by confronting potential failures. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group.

[2] Ibid.

[3] John 14:6.

[4] Matthew 5:16

[5] McIntosh, G. L. (Ebook Edition 2010). Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: How to become an effective leader by confronting potential failures. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group.

[6] James 3:16

[7] Matthew 6:33

About the Author

Shawn Hart

10 responses to “Sorry Vader…I already have a FATHER!”

  1. Greg says:

    I should have known that you would make a Darth Vader reference…couldn’t help yourself could you 🙂 I do think we love to talk about leaders as gifted and selected by God to imply that they are perfect. I appreciated this book also for its Biblical approach to identifying traps that leaders can fall into. None of us want to believe we have any darkness in us and we definitely don’t want anyone we lead to call us on it…we believe ignorance is bliss.

    Thanks for continuing to journey through your own journey and how that affects you as a leader. I think you are right that many of us get overwhelmed with the darkness and don’t realize the power of the LIGHT.

    • Shawn Hart says:

      To answer your first question…NO…I could not resist. “You cannot resist the power of the dark side.” I heard that somewhere.

      I’ve been accused of having control issues, but I think mine is more of “order” issues. I plan pretty much everything with great detail. I need to know by the time something is finally ready to take place, everything is in order. When someone tries to mess with that, or alter what is already in motion…well…let’s just say I have issues at that point. That leads to a problem with grace and consideration. We are told to do everything decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14), but sometimes we may get a little carried away.

  2. mm Jay Forseth says:

    Hi Shawn,

    Great title!

    I am thankful you ended the way you did, on a positive note, of how to ensure we don’t give in to the dark side, “But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” This is how we overcome the power of the dark side!

    Well stated!

    • Shawn Hart says:

      We all fall into the pit of trying to please our church more than our God sometimes…and that is a big mistake. He should always come first.

  3. Great minds think alike, the Star Wars theme connected with me as well and I agree with you, us Christians do not use the force as much as we should in order to combat the dark side in us and the world. This line was a great summary…”So sometimes instead of reacting first, we pray instead; sometimes instead of reacting first, we study God’s Word instead; and sometimes rather than doing what we want, we seek out what God wants instead.” Great post Shawn!

  4. mm Jason Turbeville says:

    Shawn
    You said “so many Christian leaders seem to trust in themselves rather than trusting in Scripture.” It is so funny I am preaching through Joshua and so many of us would say great example of a Godly leader, and yet in chapter 9 instead of going to God with the deception of the Gibeonites, Israel’s leaders and Joshua chose to make their own decision. This is nothing new in leadership, we have to keep a sharp mind on taking every decision to God, I think this goes a long way in helping us avoid the dark side.

    Jason

    • Shawn Hart says:

      I watched a dumb video the other day with some guy shocking himself on the tongue with a fly zapper. The first time I sort of understood…it was probably a dare or something; but after the first shock, you have to be out of your mind to do it a second time. Sadly, just like the guy in the video, we don’t learn the first time.

  5. Chris Pritchett says:

    Hey Shawn, thanks for your insightful post. I resonated with the biblical examples that the authors gave in the book, just like you did. Moses in particular is one whose leadership I appreciate taking a close look at. There’s a great book that traces the life and leadership of Moses to reflect on our own spiritual leadership, called “Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership,” by Ruth Haley Barton. I led our staff through it and it was wonderful. Also some great preaching nuggets in there. Anyway, I thought this was spot on: “There are many pastors and spiritual leaders today who feel the need to be in complete control of their organization in every minute detail.”[1] This reality has caused many spiritual leaders to lie to themselves and those they serve because of never appearing “out of control.” The need to never be seen as weak, unable, or even that we still have more to learn ourselves, interferes with the true task at hand…spreading the gospel.” It’s very true. When control becomes an idol, we will do anything to serve it, like lie and stuff.

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