Prophets, Priests, and Kings

By Ren Siebenga  |  May 27th

We expect our school leaders to occupy the offices of prophet, of priest, and of king. Each office comes with both promise and a dark side. At different times in a school’s history, one of these offices will be emphasized. However, on a given day, the leader can be called upon exercise her authority in all three of these offices.

The office of king is occupied with the known—creating order, security and predictability. Institutions need kings to keep the chaos of the unknown away from the organization. Kings inherit or learn the story from the existing culture. Kings promote ways of thinking and acting that are known to work, keeping people in the “known” territory and bringing order and predictability to the school. The school cannot survive in the short term without kings; the stability and order they bring enable the community to function together. Every teacher craves stability in their institution so they can get on with leading the youth to develop the skills, tools and insights to be Christian in the culture.

However, when circumstances (either internally or externally) start to push us toward the unknown, we (teachers, parents, board members) cry out for the leader prophet to enter the dark forest of fear and possibility and bring back ideas and models for survival and hope.

Both the offices of prophet and king need the leader priest to translate and stabilize the revelations and to be persistent on bringing the new ideas into packages of understanding for the existing culture. Without this, the priest become noise on the sidelines.

In your leadership role, may you be encouraged to carry out these offices.