Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Murder investigations and leadership

To become part of a murder investigation was not on my to do list. Still, today my wife and me were interviewed by the police in connection with the murder of Suzy Zink.
Suzy was a 26 year old young woman. Agnes visited her almost weekly to conduct a personal home bible study. Two weeks ago she was stabbed to death. The police is thorough and interviews all with whom she was in contact. Collecting all pieces of the puzzle.
Now, in normal life I have little contact with law enforcement, apart from the occasional ticket for speeding. ln my job and public preaching I do have more contact with people who met the strong arm due to more serious issues. And very few of those people are really bad people. In fact, I could have the same conversation with the police officer as with the criminal. Over the years I conducted bible studies with persons who were deeply involved in the drug trade, but also with drug addicts, regular house fathers, young people and the elderly. And a few pot smoking musicians for good measure. A plethora of people from many walks of life.
I often wonder whether I would have met all of them if had not chosen this course of life. Often our lives involves meeting various groups of people. Our parents and siblings, our chosen friends, our school buddies or colleagues and the ones we meet in our recreational endeavors our volunteer work. We can not choose our family, but other than that, all people we associate with is a result of one or more decisions in life. The resulting group of associates no doubt shares many social, economical, cultural, emotional and philosophical characteristics with us. Meeting people from completely different backgrounds and really get to know them , not from a position of authority, but on equal footing, requires deliberate steps, I believe.
The bible gives the encouragement to widen out, not to be narrow minded in our choice of associates. Not to limit our public ministry to the ones who are easy to reach, or are perhaps more in harmony with our own life style. I remember an audio program by John Maxwell, where he discusses the principles of leadership. He portrays himself as a pastor who is a leader as well, which is surprising already considering Jesus’ own words that we should be servants instead of leaders. In that program he describes his efforts to build up his church by focusing on a wealthy and contributing audience. Unfortunately, as he put it, the church building was located in an ill-reputed neighborhood and this was hindering a proper growth. No way the new church elite would come to that church in large droves there. Mr. Maxwell deciced to be a leader and to move the church away from there. At that point in the audio program I became disgusted and turned if of. There was no way in which I could equate this kind of leadership with Jesus’ example. Jesus who felt pity for the people because they did not have the proper spiritual guidance and leadership.
Anyway, mr. Maxwell made his choice and no doubt it made for a materially rich church able to provide him with a sizeable income. For me, I am glad I made a different choice, working part time to pay for my own bills and use the rest of the time to provide spiritual help, for free.

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