Rediscovering Redemption

Chronicling the work of Redemption in the lives of Followers and Leaders. Articles, research and meditations from the writings of Dr. Joseph J. Bucci. Get blog updates by following Joe on Twitter @Re_Redemption

Joseph J. Bucci

Defining a New Concept: Redemptive Leadership – (Part 3)

As a part of reviewing scriptural admonitions regarding redemption and restoration, we have this model of Jesus Christ in relationship with others around Him, teaching them about how to live a life a productive life free from self-destructive habits.  From these encounters there develops a glimpse of what a redemptive approach to leadership looks like.  The approach Jesus used in dealing with noncompliant behavior can offer some insights to His management philosophy.  When Jesus famously sat and spoke to a woman of questionable background, unheard of at the time, He laid the “behavior” cards out on the table and gave the woman the opportunity to see her life situation for what it was, as well as the opportunity to change her behavior (John 4:16-26).  In another situation, (although the detail of just how the change took place is more deducted than prescribed) a former dishonest tax collector becomes a renewed social contributor when Jesus expresses a valued interest in him.  While the murmur of the crowd surrounding them questioned his character, Jesus provided a reality check, and an appointment with change occurs as a result (Luke 19:1-10).  In a third situation, the ease of disciplining a member of the community and following the letter of the law for performance management is challenged by Jesus when a woman, although clearly in the wrong, is condemned by members of the community who are themselves in need of behavior change.  Jesus honestly and successfully leads the woman to confronting her situation, and challenges the community at large to assess their own condition (John 8:1-11).  


 Many contemporary authors have stated that the leadership model of Jesus is the pattern to follow, whether for leadership in a Christian or church setting, or even a business setting (Blanchard & Hodges, 2005).  Several contemporary authors have taken to describing the leadership pattern of Jesus as one of Servant Leadership, including Blanchard and Hodges (2005), Agosto (2005), Hunter (1998), Wilkes (1996) and others.  But the pattern of Jesus’ leadership was much more.  Although Gardner and Schermerhorn quote Luthens as encouraging a move away from negative perspectives in management (Gardner & Schermerhorn, 2004), Jesus seems to address the inconsistent performance of His followers by tackling self-destructive and selfish behavior.  Jesus challenges His followers to look beyond themselves and to build trust in them for significant behavior change, to overcome these weaknesses in order to “restore” or “redeem” these men to a greater capacity and service in His plan of communicating the gospel. 


 Just a brief look at some of the individuals Jesus installed in key positions in the service of sharing the gospel message will be evidence of a deep and significant change that occurred in the lives of these men which allowed them to perform in His service.  Paul the apostle was legalistic and sharp-tongued enemy of the early church.  He himself pursued the key leaders of the movement in order to have them arrested and put to death.  Peter was a fickle and emotional man, who quickly turns on Jesus the night of His mock trial.  A brief look at all of Jesus’ band of followers will quickly display many persons with whom the known culture at the time would have had little need for, or certainly not given opportunity to lead.  How is it that such a transformation took place in their lives?  There seemed to be more than a demonstration of authentic leadership by Jesus which turned around the lives of His disciples (compare Acts 9:1-6 and Acts 22:10-16).

As has been discussed, there is a central theme of redemption and restorative activity throughout the Scriptures.  This is most strongly evidenced in the New Testament, where divine redemption not only includes deliverance from bondage through the obedience, suffering, death, and resurrection of the incarnate Son, but also God’s identification with humanity in its plight (Elwell, 2001) and His compassionate divine intervening to restore men to God and to each other.  How much like a shepherd guiding their flock is the manager directing the efforts of those committed to their care (Matthew 2:5, 1 Peter 5:1, 3 from The Message)?  Redemption is not a quick fix, but a long-term commitment on the part of the redeeming leader to the teaching and development of the follower and the restoration of their useful contribution to the firm to which they are employed. 

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Joseph J. Bucci

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