It is a lavishly designed and illustrated journey into the world of sheep and shepherd, with striking application to the task of leadership for pastors, elders, managers, executives, teachers, counselors--anyone who finds himself or herself in a leadership role. The author, Dr. Timothy S. Laniak, draws on the experience of many trips to the MidEast and his expertise as professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Cornwell Theological Seminary to craft a vivid, Biblical depiction of the shepherd leader.
The book is divided into forty readings with titles like, "The Shepherd Healer," "Gathering the Scattered," and "My Sleepless Shepherd," punctuated with full-color photographs. One of my favorite passages is found in the reading for Day 7, "Feed My Sheep":
It was twenty years ago that my wife Maureen and I spent a memorable winter in China meeting with members of the underground church. We carried in our backpacks Christian books and tapes that would be useful as a portable seminary. Chinese Bibles took up the most space. When we met our first contact, she informed us that we would need to speak in coded language: "Just refer to what you brought as 'bread.'" That night we served "bread" to a hungry pastor who had traveled for days from a remote province where his whole church had just been jailed. He was hoping for "bread" to take back to his discouraged flock. The unforgettable look of gratitude on his face reminds me that this world's only source of life and hope is God's word.Though frequent (and unnecessary) typographical errors frustrated me at times, I have no doubt that the beauty and benefit of this book will amply reward anyone who reads it.
Will you join me for some honest self-assessment? What do we as leaders eat? To what sources do we return for our soul's primary sustenance? Is our "diet" rich in God's word? Are we as leaders good readers? Do we really study scripture and meditate on it daily, relishing its insights as spiritual delicacies? Do we supplement this feeling with devotional classics, theological treasures, and inspiring biographies? Or do we fill our hungry void with the empty calories provided on television and by endless "browsing" on the internet?