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

Do You Remember These Children Games? Follow the Leader, Simon Says …

Written by: on March 23, 2017

ART is based on one’s opinion. It is the imagination and philosophy of the designer. It is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

  1. skill acquired by experience, study, or observation,
  2. a branch of learning,
  3. an occupation requiring knowledge or skill,
  4. the conscious use of skill and creative imagination, or
  5.  decorative or illustrative elements in printed matter       [1]

Leadership is the ability to design and direct people to work as a team. It is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

  1. the office or position,
  2. capacity to lead, or
  3. the act or an instance of leading [2]

An artist begins their design with an image which they, in turn, utilize several products to create it into a replica of that image. Leadership begins with a purpose which one utilize several ideas to ensure its’ fruition.  They both require one to have goals, ideas, skills, creativity and knowledge to achieve the goal. DePree suggests that Leadership is an Art, and I agree.

One can find many books and seminars on Leadership. There are many personality tests that identify the skills one possess. The spiritual world has created a test which determines the spiritual gifts one possesses. A person must possess an inner gift (skills, creativity) that helps them perform as an effective and intimate leader. DePree introduced the “Covenantal relationships which are based on shared commitments to ideas, to issues, to values, to goals and management processes. They reflect unity and grace and poise.”  (60) He said “those folks are a gift to the spirit’” (62)

Richard Lorenzen article, The Art of Leadership: Become A More Effective Leader In 3 Steps, states, “a leader needs to have exceptional skills to interact and persuade others, and it is an art and science. A leader must have a vision and be able to clearly and vividly communicate this vision to others in a compelling way that will persuade them to follow you.” [3]

DePree stated, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader.” (11) This is on point. Jesus was an awesome leader. He demonstrated and taught that we should be a servant. He is our Savior, yet he said he came to serve and not to be served. As a debtor, maybe one could use the scene where Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, is an example. My leadership style has been one of a servant. I wanted to ensure all that were a part of the purpose were able to present their best. As a leader, I have been assigned to lead in ways to provide a work environment which supports positive self-esteem and assist them in achieving their goals. This process requires teaching them skills, encouraging them during their low moments, allow them independence to fail or succeed and provide patience. A leader must have open communication and honest feedback with the team. In fact, DePree stated, “The measure of leadership is not the quality of the head, but the tone of the body. The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving? Do they achieve the required results? Do they change with grace? Manage conflict?” (12)

Everyone is not a leader for long term projects but could handle short-term projects. To be an effective leader, one must be artful in their techniques of leading others. Jesus was an example of an effective leader. He utilized parables to those he taught. The parables were filled with wisdom and keys that related to their lives and culture. Jesus was respectful of the disciples who strengthen his team, and they were inspired to follow and support him on this long and challenging journey. DePree stated, “Participative management arises out of the heart and out of a personal philosophy about people.” (24)

In some churches, there are pastors with limited leadership skills. We, the people of God, believe that He equips us with what we need. There are many ministers serving as Pastors because they believe God called them to that position. Truth be known, it is evident that they were not. The scripture says you will know them by their fruit. I ask the question, did they enter a position that did not support their call to the ministry? Maybe they were called to be a supporting preacher, teacher, or serve in another capacity. There are so many preachers that want to be a Pastor because that is a high honor. There are some whose congregations don’t have more than ten people and have been in operation for many years and never grew. I always wondered was it their calling or was it something they just thought “surely this is what he has called me to do.”

Then we have the leaders that we learned as a child in the games we played “Simon says” and you do as Simon says are you are off the team.

          [1] Merriam-Webster, accessed 03/22/2017, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/art.

          [2] Merriam-Webster, accessed 03/22/2017, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fruition.

           [3] Richard Lorenzen, Young Entrepreneur Council,  “The Art of Leadership: Become a More Effective Leader in 3 Steps,” Entrepreneurs, 08/06/12, accessed 03/23/52017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2012/08/06/the-art-of-leadership-become-a-more-effective-leader-in-3-steps/2/#44017abc7c87.

About the Author

Lynda Gittens

7 responses to “Do You Remember These Children Games? Follow the Leader, Simon Says …”

  1. Geoff Lee says:

    “DePree introduced the “Covenantal relationships which are based on shared commitments to ideas, to issues, to values, to goals and management processes. They reflect unity and grace and poise.” (60) He said “those folks are a gift to the spirit’” (62)”
    Yes, I thought his contrasting of covenantal and contractual relationships was a really interesting point – covenant combines law and relationship – and DePree’s company seems to have done a really good job at developing these types of working relationships and environments!

  2. Mary Walker says:

    Lynda, you have so many good points but one really struck me – “Everyone is not a leader for long term projects but could handle short-term projects.”
    I guess what I was wondering is, do you see a difference between folks who have a ‘leadership’ position as a life-long permanent calling (career) and folks whose everyday job is maybe farming or something? Perhaps their ‘short term’ leadership is at their church or volunteer job? Also, I agree that maybe some are in leadership positions who missed their real calling (“I always wondered was it their calling or is it something they just thought “surely this is what he has called me to do.”)
    Great post – lots to think about.

    • mm Katy Lines says:

      Perhaps DePree would answer that question, Mary, with his concept of “roving leadership”; that is, people with particular gifts for a particular (perhaps short term) need.

  3. mm Katy Lines says:

    As a faithful Christian, I imagine DePree also sought to follow the model of Jesus as leader. Relationships, diversity in his followers, listening to those with different skill sets, serving from the top, etc. are all points DePree makes that would follow the way of Jesus. Nice connection.

  4. Jim Sabella says:

    Thanks Lynda for your excellent post. You mention one word in your post that is often overlooked in leadership literature, the word, “creativity.” If my Kindle search is correct De Pree only mentions the word “creative” three times! It’s becoming clearer in the leadership literature that creativity is a critical component of good to great leadership. I appreciate your insight and I’m glad that you mentioned the “creative” part of leadership. Enjoyed reading your post Lynda.

  5. It is true that leadership is more that just being called to a position. De Pree discusses the importance of relationships and empowering others through identifying their unique gifts and talents. Leaders have to think strategically and creatively while also knowing the way in which they can actively serve. Their success is not defined by the result but by their servanthood and empowerment throughout the operational process that allows their organization to reach their goal.

  6. Lynda, I liked how you differentiated between art and leadership and defined each. It gave a more powerful visual to the title and theme of the book. Thank you.

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