Monday, July 06, 2009

Triperspectivism: A Biblical Model of Leadership?

A biblical paradigm of leadership: Triperspectivism ..... In essence, as leaders we should exercise the biblical functions of: 1) a Prophet (declaring the Word of God); 2) a Priest (ministering to people's needs, caring for them spiritually); and 3) a King (bring God's rule to people, or leading people to life under the reign of God). If you follow the article and the trail of links below, you will find a solid theological basis of Triperspectivism and some practical explanations of it in practice (I always find Allender--mention at the end of the article--most helpful).

Triperspectival Leadership
by Michael Mckinley ~ 9Marks Ministry: Church Matters

You know I'm a sucker for polysyllabic words... so when I heard about triperspectivalism, my first thought was, "Now, there is an ecclesiological principle I can get behind!" But it's more than just a wonderfully pretentious name. It's also a pretty helpful way of thinking about church leadership.
To over-simplify, the insight is that church leaders tend to be prophets, priests, or kings. Prophets love to proclaim the word of God and dream about where God is leading the church. Kings love to put systems in place to make it happen. Priests make sure that everyone is cared for and feels God's love along the way.
Understanding your church leadership in light of those strengths (and attending weaknesses) can help you identify blind-spots and make good decisions about staffing and new leaders. I have found this really helpful as our church incorporates new elders and thinks through how we can do things better.
If you're interested in more information:
Here is a longish primer on triperspectivalism by John Frame. It speaks to church leadership on pages 8 and 9.
Also, two helpful talks from a 2008 Acts 29 boot camp: Triperspectival Leadership and Prophet, Priest, and King by David Fairchild.
For those with limited attention spans: here's a chart summarizing the some of the key ideas.
I haven't read it, but I've been told that chapter 14 of Leading With a Limp by Dan Allender addresses this issue.
Also, Mark Driscoll gave a very practical message on this topic at the 2008 CCEF National Conference, particularly applying triperspectival leadership to ministering to addicts in your church. You can listen to it here.

3 John 8
Bill H.


Doc. K. said...

Bill, Excellent overview. You've done a great deal of extremely helpful work collating and linking to these various resources. Thanks! Bob

Bill H said...

Hi Bob, thanks for the note, and I would like to take credit but I didn't do the research with links and all, that credit goes to Mike McKinley at 9marks Ministry. Anyhow, it is an interesting paradigm from which to look at leadership. One I'm sure could use much more investigation. Blessings my friend.