Module 2.5 Relational Pictures of a Leader

Last updated: November 19, 2020

Relational Pictures of a Leader

In short, the Church needs leaders who themselves have an intimate relationship with God, and who can bring others into the same communion with God. The Bible uses many different pictures (described below) to demonstrate this need for relationship, pictures that can guide spiritual shepherds in relationships with their sheep.

Father and Child Relationship. This is a picture of the warm, loving relationship between a father and his childern. In this relationship the childern love and respect the father, and respond to his corrective hand. Here we see the shepherd, like father, whose primary purpose is to cause his childern sincerely and without fear to love him, their mother, their brothers and sisters, and those outside of the family. Fathers also seek to mature their childern in all of their relationships in life.

Husband and Wife Relationship. This is a picture of the love relationship of Christ with His Church, the bond of marriage with all its sacred meaning. The husband provides the home and supports his wife in love. the wife receives and responds to his love. Here we see how the shepherd must be the initiator in giving his love to his sheep, and how he must provide them with a good spiritual home.

Head and Body Relationship. This is a picture of a relatioinship of governing and protecting. Just as Christ governs and protects His Church, which is His Body, so the shepherd must take his rod and staff in hand and govern and protect his local church body. In both of these pictures, the head is the covering for the body. The body is many-membered, but the head is singular. As a body has only one head, the shepherd must remember that Christ continues as the only Head of the Body. The under-shepherd takes up his leadership responsibility in service and support of the Head, Christ.

Vine and Branches Relationship. The Lord Jesus presents presents this picture of a relationship between Himself and the Church in John 15. In these verses, He is the vine and His people are the branches. All of the life, source and power for the branches must come from the vine. There is such a close relationship between the vine and the branches that one cannot always discern where the vine ends and the branches begin. Jesus said the branches must bear fruit, or they will be purged by the husbandman. I f need be, the husbandman will take his sharp knife and cut away the worthless parts of a branch. So it is with the shepherd, who should develop such a close relationship with his sheep that will allow him to sheer away some of the unprofitable areas of their lives.

Husbandman and Vineyard Relationship. This is the picture of a vineyard meticulously cared for by a husbandman or farmer. At times, the vineyard is overgrown, and the husbandman must come and clean out all the debris. At ties he must skillfully use his tools to harvest the vineyard’s fruit. Similarly, God’s shepherds must be sensitive enough to his sheep that he can discern the spiritual times and seasons in their lives.

Potter and Clay Relationship. This is a picture of the hand of God which forms His vessel, the Church. The potter’s hand is in complete control of the clay. The clay cannot ask the potter what he is doing. This is the way the Lord deals mwith His people Similarly, the shepherd should be able to so relate to his sheep that he can help form Christ’s character in their lives.

Captain ans Army Relationship. The picture here is one of discipline and authority. The army of the Lord is a place of correction and training. The army must experience many drills in order to be useful to its captain in warfare. At this time, the Church is under the hand of the mightyson of David, the Captain of her salvation, Jesus Christ. Similarly the shepherd must train and discipline his sheep to fit them for their tasks.

Creator and Creature Relationship. God is the all-powerful Creator at Whose words the worlds werebrought into being and framed. At His word, all that is in heavens and earth were formed. The relationship here is not a very personal one, because man alienated himself from God through disobedience. Through obedience, however, man can enter again into a relationship with his Creator. Similarly, the shelherd should be the instrument through which God can create new life in His people.

Shepherd and Sheep Relationship. This last picture of the shepherd and the sheep is a picture of warmth and beauty. Love compassion and tenderness are exchanged. this is demonstrated in the shepherd carrying his small, hurt lamb upon his shoulders to safety. Since this illustration is also shown in one of the titles of God ( the Great shepherd), it holds a tender picture of true ministry.