In Seminary we studied leadership, going through various models put together by researchers who studied successful businesses, secular and faith based materials aiming at discovering how to lead more successfully. One image that was used was the bus model. Good leaders put the right people on the bus and get the wrong people off. I was disturbed by this analogy for numerous reasons. I was also told that it is essential to mentor the promising if a leader was to pass on his/her legacy. I've always struggled with this advice because I read in the New Testament how Jesus did not choose those that would have fit into the promising category. In fact, I think he may have scraped the bottom of the barrel. And then there is the beauty of the kingdom of God being brought to those that are rejected and the last being first and Isaiah 53 and all that stuff. How does one take that seriously?
Kicking people off the bus evokes in me images of the “wrong people” standing beside the road. Are they the lame the crippled the mentally ill that can’t contribute to the bus’ destination? Or perhaps they are just ordinary people in the wrong place at the wrong time. Does this mean they don’t get to go to wherever it is the bus is going.
The analogy is too narrow. But I fear it mirrors the reality of the scope of most leaders and theorists as well.
So I put out a challenging analogy, just to reveal my own narrowness and inept attempt at expounding on leadership.
The barn raising image. Successful leadership is like a barn raising. The entire community is involved, irrespective of age, talent or disability. What matters is that you are born and that you are a participant in this community. Various “leaders” emerge based on talent and experience in construction. The youth and younger are mentored on-site, on the job. The lunch committee feeds the community. Children laugh and play and do mischief, turning the event into a social gathering. Many hands make the work lighter, as they say. I’ve also seen my father come home from these work day, rejuvenated, with a hopeful gleam in his eye.
Get out of my bus...and into my barn. Sung to the tune of “Get out of My Dreams” (and into my car). No thank you,...mister Amishman...I like my bus...I very, very...like my...charter bus casino. I feel included while it lasts.