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Case Study

The following Case Study was developed to tie together a number of concepts on the development of leaders for a course that I developed.

Peter:

Formation:

1) Mt 4:18-20

· How would you describe Peter: ordinary, exceptional, brainy, rich, poor....

The fishermen of Galilee have been described as anything from lower working class to upper middle class in terms of wealth and stature in the community. Certainly in the way of brains and insight, Peter could not be described as exceptional - he continually makes serious mistakes. What is clear is that his heart attitude and his willingness to work out of that attitude made him exceptional and at the end of this process leave him as the head of the church.

2) Mt 14:22-33

· What was the challenge of this verse?

· Who got out of the boat?

· Who stayed in the boat?

· Who was rebuked for lack of faith?

· Why?

Peter seems to get a bum rap here. Jesus responds to Peter in the context of Peter and not the context of the other disciples. Peter is well out in front of the other disciples but he could have done better and both Jesus and Peter knew this. This was a change point - Jesus' expression of their shared disappointment is aimed to help Peter move on and grow.

3) Mt 16:13-23

· Who had the clearest understanding of who Jesus was?

· How significant/marvelous etc is this understanding?

· How much risk was Peter taking in expressing that Jesus was the Christ?

· How much risk was Peter taking in saying Jesus wouldn't suffer?

· Was he right?

· How clear was his understanding at this point?

· How could he go from blessed to being the incarnation of Satan in 10 verses?

Peter is not yet mature and he has made a simple mistake but with huge consequences. He has seen and understood a little but has yet to get to the point where he understands and has the maturity to operate in all circumstances.

4) Mt 17:1-6

There is a lot of evidence for 4 levels of intimacy between Jesus and his disciples: at the outer edge are the huge crowds that followed him, then the general disciples such as the 70 sent out to minister, then the 12 and finally the three - Peter, James and John.

· Why do you think that Peter has moved from the general disciples, to the 12 (Mt 10) to one of the three?

· What are the important attitudes and insights you have seen so far?

· How well did Peter understand what was happening?

· How serious was his input - did it cause problems? Did it improve things?

5) Mt 26:36-45

· Why did Jesus choose the three to accompany him?

· How mature was Peter's response?

· Did Peter not understand what Jesus was going through or did he just not care?

· What does the answer to the previous say about Peter?

6) Mt 26:33,34;69-75

· How would you rate Peter's actions?

· What would you do in his place?

7) Jn 21:15-19

· What was happening here?

· Why did Jesus repeat himself?

Underneath this passage is a pretty play on words in the greek moving from Agape to Phileo as the word for love. Many exegetes have suggested that this was Jesus asking Peter to love him as God loved him, while Peter only promised to love Jesus as a brother. Finally on the last time, Jesus also uses Phileo i.e. love like a brother. An alternative reading is the link in the number three between the questions here and the number of times Peter denied knowing Jesus.

Release and Ministry:

1) Acts 2:14

· What happened before this?

· Why is Peter now able to stand and lead with authority now?

Peter has been on a long journey of formation. Sometime between the resurrection and Pentecost he has become a "finished" minister - ie someone ready to take up their ministry in the fullest sense. Anointing theology and pneumatology would suggest that a key part of this was the coming  of the Holy Spirit or anointing that Peter received at Pentecost. While Pentecost had a large part I would also like to stress the journey Peter had been on since being called by Jesus from his nets.

2) Acts 2:37-41

· How like the old Peter seen in the formation section is this Peter?

· What aspects of leadership do you see?

· What aspects of character do you see?

3) Acts 4:7-13

· How like the old Peter seen in the formation section is this Peter?

· What aspects of leadership do you see?

· What aspects of character do you see?

· Who were in the position of authority?

4) Acts 5:1-10

· What type of leadership is Peter using here?

· What power bases is he working from?

· Why? How is it appropriate?

Peter is operating out of legitimate power. His leadership is very hierarchical. The context though is dealing with an immature church and immature Christians.

5) Acts 8:14-24

· How like the old Peter seen in the formation section is this Peter?

· What type of leadership is Peter using here?

· What power bases is he working from?

· Why? How is it appropriate?

6) Acts 10:9-14,17-20, 44-48

· What aspects of leadership do you see?

· What aspects of character do you see?

· Were there others in the story demonstrating leadership?

· What is Peter's position?

As much as anyone, Peter is operating as the head of the church at this time.

7) Acts 11:1-5,11-18

· What aspects of leadership do you see?

· What aspects of character do you see?

· Were there others in the story demonstrating leadership?

· What is Peter's position?

· Why did he have to report back?

· Who was he accountable to?

Every leader is accountable to others in a variety of ways. In this story Peter demonstrates that he is accountable to the general church despite being the head of that church.

8) Acts 15:6-14, 19-22

· What aspects of leadership do you see?

· What aspects of character do you see?

· Were there others in the story demonstrating leadership?

· What is Peter's position?

9) Gal 2:11-14

· What aspects of leadership do you see or fail to see?

· What aspects of character do you see or fail to see?

· Were there others in the story demonstrating leadership?

· What did he get wrong?

I find this story very comforting. If a leader of Peter's caliber and stature can stuff up this badly then there is definitely hope for me.