Leading a Healthy Church Culture - Lesson 4

The Shadow of a Leader - Case Study

The Shadow of a Leader – Case Study

Rick Sessoms
Leading a Healthy Church Culture
Lesson 4
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The Shadow of a Leader - Case Study

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This is a summary version of the Christ-Centered Leadership class in the Certificates section that includes a study guide and additional resources.

Dr. Rick Sessoms
Leading a Healthy Church Culture
The Shadow of a Leader - Case Study
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:01] So we've been talking about remembering our leaders. And we have we've moved from there to to discuss some of the challenges in the 21st century of leading that we believe that I believe that that Christ centered leadership addresses. And we'll get to that in a while. Before we do that, I'd like us to to launch into a case study called The Shadow of a Leader. This is not a true, true story. It's a fictional story, but you may recognize some of the characters as we go along. They asked him if he would read this for us as a reader. Let's follow along. As Tim reads The shadow of the Leader, the crowd listened attentively as the program began. His celebration was organized to recognize Dr. Robert Abela and his 20 years of successful ministry. In addition, Dr. Avella was to be ordained as the President of the grace of God did domination in the country of Acacia. Praise for Dr. Valor was deserved in many ways. Dr. Avella had been a young, gifted Christian leader. He had been a consistent voice for integrity and change in the church and in his community. He had founded the Fishers of Men Ministry, F.M. as the Ministry of equipping Church Leaders to reach their own people. Everyone rose to their feet as Dr. Robert Avella was announced as the new President of the Grace of God nomination. The charge was given for all to awaken from their slumber and make the grace of God the nomination. The shadow of a great leader known in the audience for disagree with the impact of Dr. Bellows ministry. But one person was overheard to say, If Fishers of Men Ministries is shadow, then the grace of God if domination is in trouble.

[00:01:59] A assessment. Looking back, few would say that Robert, as everyone had called him in 1990, was the same person who was on the platform in 2010. Mary and Sergio, the only two members of the original Fishers of Men Ministry team, left the celebration and talked about how Robert and Efim had changed. The first years of FNM were exciting. At the time, Robert was 45 years old. He grown up with a father who ruled with an iron hand because Robert was adventurous. He often was harshly punished as a child. In fact, you could never forget his father's most often used words, You fool, can't you do anything right? Robert was also ridiculed by others when he was growing up because of his intelligence. You can still remember times of great loneliness and rejection. When he became an adult, he was driven to make a difference. When the opportunity came, he started FNM even though he now enjoyed a great deal of success, there was always a nagging sense of self-doubt and insecurity. Early on, Robert was a team player and inspired others with his vision and encouragement. Churches welcomed FM's evangelism training, which proved ideal for those who were eager to reach their friends for Christ. As FNM grew under Robert's leadership, he was invited to travel and teach and in the process became a sought after conference speaker. It wasn't long, however, before the early signs of Big Boss syndrome sickness began to appear. At first, no one seemed to notice. There was no objection when Robert took a large office. After all, this is common among church leaders in Acadia, as is the privilege of a car and a driver. Mary and Sergio could not help remembering, however, that Robert had previously lived a humble and simple life.

[00:03:57] Often, no one seemed to think it strange when Robert spent less time with the esteemed team. As pressure on his time increased, the spontaneous prayer times gave way to a weekly chapel sessions always led by the director, who by now was always addressed as Dr. Avella. The difficulty of seeing Dr. Avila without scheduling an appointment should have been a danger sign. In fact, a policy was put in place restricting access to Dr. Avella. As Mary and Sergio discussed the past, they agree that they should have been more forthright with Dr. Avella, who seemed to change after the embezzlement took place. Looking back, they could see how he had lost all sense of trust in others and willingness to delegate the instituted a policy, insisting that he approve all ministry in financial decisions. This action resulted in many delays and many lost ministry opportunities. So instead of encouraging new ideas and initiatives, Dr. Ballard no longer tolerated deviation from his directives. Those offering a different opinion. Both staff and board members suffered in many ways, ranging from loss of face to being fired. Morale began, began to decay, and all the departments that have found promising young leaders left as quickly as possible, hoping to find an atmosphere that offered more acceptance and support. It was then that Mary and Sergio realized that their original sense of community with their friend and brother probably was lost. Mary Sergio were forced to conclude that Dr. Robert Avila had fallen guilty to misusing the power of his office. It had become a means for self-fulfillment and advancement. Both agree that fellow Christians, including the two of them, did not help this struggling man of God as he was distracted from Christ centered leadership and received more and more expressions of worldly honor.

[00:05:54] Thank you, Tim. What I'd like to do is have you divide up into two groups of three and discuss those three questions at the bottom of the page. How would you describe Robert Avila's early leadership? How would you describe his later leadership? And perhaps the more. Most important question is the last one. So take and divide up your time so you make sure and get to the last question. What explanations can you give for some of Robert's actions as a leader? And there's clues throughout. But I wonder if these you three could could gather and will take about 8 minutes on this. So you'll have to move pretty quickly. But just kind of rehash the story a little bit and then jump into those three questions, if you would. Maybe we'll take as much as 10 minutes, but work through those, please, if you would.

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