Grace and The Steward Leader
Preparing to teach Biblical Foundations of Executive Leadership this coming January (shameless plug for the CLA online courses and the CCNL credential!), I am revisiting the three-fold process of becoming a Steward Leader that Scott Rodin identifies in his book The Steward Leader. What follows below comes from some of the content for this course.
1. Discovery – Coming to a new and deepened understanding about the nature and will of God for a person. The Steward Leader discovers they are not the owner.
2. Commitment – Discovering a desire for change that is acted upon. The Steward Leader commits to live within God’s kingdom alone.
3. Accountability – Taking the journey in the sight of and with the encouragement of others. The Steward Leader readily admits they do not know everything, cannot function alone, and benefits from help given and received.
These three movements of becoming a Steward Leader fit within the general cycle one lives through when learning they are a steward in general (illustrated in the diagram).
Experience is an experience in receiving the grace of God..
Story is the recounting of that experience. In other words, the moment of receiving God’s grace is followed by my telling you about it. Recalling the story, telling it, reflecting upon it, and trying to find meaning in it reveals how I will live as one who received this grace. That is, a resulting Practice comes to light. God met me. It means enough for me to talk about it. The meaning of that experience informs my choices.
An illustration of this is the experience of the Hebrew people. God rescued them out slavery in Egypt. (EXPERIENCE). They are to recount this experience formally in their worship services and informally in their homes (STORY). And as a people marked by this story, they must care for refugees and widows and orphans and who do not enslave others (PRACTICE).
Psalm 105 is a condensed version of this cycle.
- vv.1-7 – Rejoice in what God did (EXPERIENCE). A worship service is invoked.
- vv.8-44 – Recount what God did (STORY). The largest portion of the Psalm is devoted to re-telling these moments of God’s grace at work.
- v.45 – Relay what God did (PRACTICE). God did all this so this people would continue God’s work.
And this is what makes the process of becoming a steward a cycle of events. As I put what I learn into practice I encounter the grace of God all over again (NEW EXPERIENCES), both in God’s grace in the lives of others. I then have NEW STORIES to tell about God’s grace, which leads to NEW PRACTICES that put me in touch with God’s grace in yet new ways and so on….
EXPERIENCE and STORY are what Rodin identifies as the Discovery that I am not the owner. PRACTICE is what Rodin identifies as Commitment to live within God’s kingdom alone and Accountability to live this journey in full view of others and with accountability.
Whether I am learning to be a steward in general or a steward leader in specific, the grace of God touching a person shapes the choices and behaviors that follow.
May God shape me in this way even as God is shaping you.
Mark L. Vincent is the CEO of Design Group International. He serves as a CLA Leader2Leader facilitator and is actively involved as a subject matter expert and faculty for the CLA Online Academy.
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Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.