Last week I posted that Jesus did not have a leadership manual, but instead, created expectations of his followers through 15 dominant images. I have written about this in condensed form in the book, Building Leaders. (See link and free chapter in the right hand margin.) Since I was asked to speak on this recently, I wanted to go back to the source of my study- Metaphors for Ministry by David Bennett. Rather than rehashing this in my own words, I wanted to share David's original list of 7 Major Themes that Jesus' "Leaders Manual of Images" brings to the surface.

#1 Function: A disciple is called to participation in a community as well as a task. It is absolutely stunning how Jesus uses images to balance a high-expectation of white-hot cause and thicker-than-blood community. 

#2 Authority: A disciple is under authority. Here is a killer observation: over half of the metaphors that Jesus used describe someone who is under the authority of someone else. 

#3 Responsibility: A disciple exercises authority.  Jesus gives real responsibility away to followers, even though obedience is ultimately rooted in how they obey His authority.

#4 Derivation: A disciple is one who has responded to the call of Jesus. While this is related to the authority themes, it goes even deeper. Jesus uses images to remind his followers that they did not ultimately initiate their association with Jesus. In the end everything starts with God and comes from God.

#5 Status: Disciples are on the same level in relationship with God even though they have different areas and amounts of responsibility. This observation has greatly enriched my own leadership including the intentional use of the image of brother and sister in my relationships with other believers and in my prayers. 

#6 Identification: To be a disciple is to identify with Jesus, both in his pattern of life and suffering. Being a leader in the family of God requires a movement from knowledge, to application, to a full sense of identification. This last stage brings an immersion of attitude and perspective of life patterns not just simple actions.  Ultimately this is measured by a willingness to identify in suffering. 

#7 Accountability: The disciple will be evaluated by the Lord, in terms of his character as well as his service. Jesus' images carry a striking contrast between that which is clearly effective and that which is clearly not. Salt can loose its saltiness and light can be hidden. There is a difference between a hired hand and a faithful, loving shepherd. 

The reflection on these themes coming from the images Jesus used have been some of the richest leadership development learning I have ever experienced.