The Organizational Development Muse

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

A New Kind of Tribe: The Steward Leader

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Oct 25, 2011 8:00:00 AM

whorled viewz, tribal


If you were a tribal person, and many in the world still find their identity in their tribe rather than their nation state,a triad of people would govern your existence.


  1. A chief or king - Their decrees form the law and their power is believed to be granted by God(s), not the people they govern.
  2. A shaman or priest - They are the ones believed to be able to communicate with God(s) and/or spirit world and to influence the effects of that world upon our own. They are often a key advisor to the chief or king.
  3. The ancestors and parents - Their good will is believed to be important to our good fortune. By showing respect to their previous ways we help to give the tribe a future and a hope.
Western culture is built on abandoning all three. Our culture is built on the idea of the individual being free to self-govern.
  1. The king of my life is myself. Whoever is allowed to govern does so from the collective will of the people and only for a limited time.
  2. The priest for my life is myself. Any priest or pastor is a guide to help me in my spiritual journey. They are not the gateway to God.
  3. The person I must please is myself. I seek to live beyond my parents.
Before saying anything further, let's concede that both tribal and western cultures have deficits and excesses alongside their commendable qualities. Still, western culture is where I and most of this blog's readers reside, and it is where our preference is to make a way for ourselves and our families. Whether we are Democrats, Republicans or Independents; even if we disagree on the scope and responsibility of government in providing these freedoms, we want to make our own choices. We want to have impediments removed. We want to be protected from harm so that we might be free.
Interestingly, many of the roots of Western culture can be found in how the gospel was applied in the early church and beyond. Passages like Hebrews 8:7-13 remind us that the new king/priest, Jesus Christ, sets us free for a direct relationship with God, and newfound freedom to make our choices as those who belong to his kingdom:

7For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

    8For he finds fault with them when he says:

   "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
   when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
   and with the house of Judah,
9not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
   on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
   and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
   after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
   and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
   and they shall be my people.
11And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
   and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,'
for they shall all know me,
   from the least of them to the greatest.
12For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
   and I will remember their sins no more."

13In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

The writer to the Hebrews reminds them that the first covenant God made was to a tribal people, but now that it is made obsolete by the new covenant, everyone may approach God and know God. 
The promise of the gospel in this new covenant is that as each individual realizes they have the power to participate in choosing their destiny, they can realize God is their savior, companion, advocate and friend. It may seem a paradox to choose in freedom to live a life in service to God, neighbor and family, when once this was enforced. Yet, to do so is to claim one's highest created purpose and to find even greater freedom.  
This is the theological foundation of the Steward Leader, and the Steward Leader brings this understanding to organizational development and leadership.
 BELIEVE DOUBT resized 600

Topics: organizational development consulting, emell vee, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Whorled Viewz, steward leadership


Posts by Tag

See all

Subscribe to the Mark's blog


Looking for something that isn't here? It might be in our publication archives or written by another consultant.