For Such a Time as This: A Situational Model of Leadership -- By: William D. Dobbs

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 33:0 (NA 2001)
Article: For Such a Time as This: A Situational Model of Leadership
Author: William D. Dobbs


For Such a Time as This:
A Situational Model of Leadership

William D. Dobbs

William Dobbs (M.Div.Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary) is pastor of First United Methodist Church, Holland, MI, and a D.Min. student at ATS.

Leadership is the challenge of the hour. Leadership in the church in the 21st century demands responsiveness to change. Situations change. Ministry opportunities change. Persons who would provide leadership in the context of change can benefit greatly from knowledge of how other leaders have dealt with change. For those of us in the religious community, we often begin with biblical leaders and then look to more contemporary models. The current model of choice seems to be Servant leadership, but I believe there are other models that are equally valid. I propose to reflect on the leadership of Moses as a different model of leadership. We will examine other biblical examples to see how they relate to the model and then discuss this model in light of current leadership theory.

Moses as the Archetype

The first thing we discover as we read the book of Exodus is that there is a

    crisis
affecting God’s chosen ones who had come to Egypt with Jacob. This is the first criterion of Situational leadership. Some crisis must arise which causes those who know God’s name to cry out for God’s deliverance. This
    cry for deliverance
is, I believe, the second criteria. It implies a realization that self-sufficiency doesn’t work, repentance, and a willingness to renew the covenant. In Egypt, the sons of Israel and their descendants “groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Exodus 2:23c–24 NRSV).

Even as the Israelites were crying for deliverance, God took notice of their plight and began to prepare a leader for them. From Moses’ birth, God was preparing him for the task of leadership that lay ahead. The infancy narrative and the early career of Moses all contribute to making Moses the kind of person who could speak to Pharaoh and survive the wilderness for 40 years. This is not to suggest that God’s power and presence did not play an integral part in Moses’ ministry post “burning-bush.” It is meant to state that

    God’s gift of life experiences
is the third criteria for a Situational leader.

All of which brings us to the call of Moses and three more criteria for a Situational leader. We begin with

    the Divine-human encounter.
“The angel of the Lord appeared to Moses” (Ex. 3:2 NRSV). In Moses’ case, this angelic appeara...
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