Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

10 Qualities for Success

Some years ago Marvin Smith did a study on what made successful Navigator missionaries as a thesis for his Master’s degree.  The result of his study was a list of ten qualities that he was able to identify that contributed to those who were able to have long-term, fruitful ministries around the world.

Now certainly there are many factors that contributed to the lives and ministries of these people beyond this list of qualities, but as I reviewed them and compared it with my own experience and observations, I too could see the wisdom in what Marvin had identified.

The result was that I took these qualities and made them into a personal prayer list, asking God to help form these qualities into my own life.  Whether these are true or not for me is not for me to judge.  But I continue to ask HIm for these for me and others that I lead.  Perhaps you too would see the wisdom in asking the Lord to form these qualities in you.

Here’s the 10 Qualities of a Successful Missionary from Marvin Smith:

1.       Dependency on God

2.       Love and Compassion

3.       Sensitivity

4.       Humility

5.       Flexibility

6.       Harmony Builder

7.       Courage and Perseverance

8.       Willingness to Sacrifice

9.       Emotional Stability

10.     Good Family Life

Leaders and Pressure

Leadership and life itself is full of pressure.  The pressure comes from within and from without.  Some stresses are self-imposed and some are unexpectedly born.  Regardless of the source, we chafe under pressure, wanting to throw off the strains that sap our life blood and divert our attention.

In Isaiah 5 we find a metaphor of the vineyard referring to God’s people.  God is described and planting the choicest vines in His vineyard and building a hedge of protection and a watchtower in the midst of it.

But God also builds a winepress in the middle of His vineyard, for it is only through the use of this press that the desired results can be obtained.  Grapes are grown to be pressed in order to release the juice stored within them.  Without the pressing of the grapes no wine will be produced.  And so too are we pressed to shape us into the desired image of Christ.

God’s press comes in multiple forms.  It can be relationship stresses, financial pressures, external threats to the mission or task, health issues–the list is seemingly endless.  All are used by God to drive us out of our self-reliance and into dependence upon Him.

In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 we read of Paul’s press that God was using in his own life and how he was responding to it.

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

Note that the pressure Paul describes was far beyond what he thought he could handle, even to the point of wanting to give up and die.  He summarizes it all by saying that the purpose was to force him to rely on God, not himself.  In closing he makes this conclusion – the Lord has delivered in the past, He will deliver them from their current difficulties, and will also continue to deliver them when they face more challenges in the future.

God wants dependent children, not independent ones.  Lean into and embrace the press that you are under.  Don’t run from it.  Rely on Him and let Him accomplish all that He intends through this in and through you.

Leaders and Faithfulness

Dr. Francis Dixon – a well known evangelist in Australia and NZ, revivals / crusades – but led a church in England told the following story:

One Sunday night Dixon asked a man, Peter, in his church to share his testimony.  Peter said, “This is how I was saved… I was in the Royal Navy stationed in Sydney, Australia and one night I was walking down George St. and out of nowhere stepped this little grey-haired old man.  He said, ‘Excuse me sir, but may I ask you a question?  I hope you won’t be offended but if you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?  The Bible says it will either be in hell or it will be in heaven.  Will you think about that?  Thank you.  God bless you.’  And he left.  I had never been asked that question before and I could not get it out of my mind.  When I got back to England, I sought out a pastor and was converted to Christ.”

Several weeks later a revival team came to Dr. Dixon’s church and on a Wednesday night he asked one of the team members (Noel) to share how he had been saved.  The guy stood stood up and said,  “I was stationed with the Royal Navy stationed in Sydney, Australia and one night I was walking down George Street and out of no where stepped this little grey-haired old man.  He said, ‘Excuse me sir, but may I ask you a question?  I hope you won’t be offended but if you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?  The Bible says it will either be in hell or it will be in heaven.  Will you think about that.  Thank you.  God bless you.’  Noel said I couldn’t  get that out of my mind.  When I got back to England I sought out a Christian businessman and I came to know Christ as my Savior and Lord.”

Several months after that Dr. Dixon was in Adelaide.  He was doing an evangelistic crusade and said that he just had to share this so he shared about Peter and Noel.  As he was sharing a man stood up in the congregation waving his hands.  Dr. Dixon stopped and asked what was the problem – to which the man replied, “I’m another.  I was in  Sydney, Australia and one night I was walking down George Street and out of no where stepped this little grey-haired old man.  He said, ‘Excuse me sir, but may I ask you a question?  I hope you won’t be offended but if you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?  The Bible says it will either be in hell or it will be in heaven.  Will you think about that.  Thank you.  God bless you.’  Later I was converted to Christ.

When he came back to his church he shared about the crusade experience – specifically about Peter, Noel, and the man in Adelaide.  Afterwards a woman came up to Dr. Dixon and said, “Well, I’m another.  I was visiting Sydney Australia and walking down George Street….  Later I was converted to Christ.”

Shortly after that he was teaching at a convention in Northern England and he was asked to address a group of pastors.  When he started talking he said, “I’ve got to share this,  This is exciting.”  So he told them about Peter, Noel, the man in Adelaide and the woman in his church.  Afterwards a pastor came up to him and said, “I am another. I was in Sydney walking down George St and out of no where came this grey-haired old man…  Later I was converted to Christ.”

A year later Dr. Dixon went on a world tour and he was in India and was asked to speak to a group of missionaries on evangelism.  So he told them the story and afterwards a missionary came up to him and said, “Dr. Dixon, I am another.  I was walking down George St…. Later I was converted to Christ.”

From there he went to Jamaica.  He was in Kingston addressing a group of businessmen at a luncheon.  He shared this story and afterwards a man came up to him and said, “I am another.  I was on a business trip in Sydney, Australia and I was walking down George Street and out of no where stepped this little old man…Later I was converted to Christ.

Where do you think Dr. Dixon Went next?…Sydney, Australia

He went to a Christian businessman there and told him this story and asked, “Do you know who this man is?”

“Sure, that’s Mr. Jenner.  He’s been doing that for 23 years.  But he is very feeble now.  He just got out of the hospital, is confined to his bed and is almost blind.”

Dr. Dixon said, “Would you take me to him?”

The man said, “Of course.”

So they went to this little grey-haired old man’s house.  As they walked into his bedroom, Dr. Dixon introduced himself and began to unravel one of the most incredible witnessing stories ever verified.  As he started to share about how one after another had come to know Christ, the little old grey-haired man started to weep to the point that Dr. Dixon had to stop.  “Excuse me sir, but what is wrong?.”

Mr. Jenner said, “After 23 years, that is the first time I have ever heard of anyone coming to Christ through my testimony.”

23 years of faithfulness…23 years of sowing and never knowing that the seeds had sprouted and born fruit…23 years of serving out of obedience to Christ.  May we be found faithful!

Leaders and Prayer

Someone has said, “Prayer is one of the most talked about and least practiced disciplines of the Christian life.”  As Kingdom leaders we must be praying about the mission and the people on a very regular basis.  I find for my own leadership that it is easy to be busy with the work of the responsibility and neglect this foundation.  If we are not careful to prayerfully lay this foundation for our leadership we can find ourselves building upon the sand instead of the Rock.

O. Hallesby in his wonderful classic simply titled Prayer says this (p. 81),

“One of the things that the Spirit must teach us about prayer as work is this:  to learn to take time to pray.

All work takes time.  When it becomes clear to us that prayer is part of our daily program of work, it will also become clear to us that we must arrange our daily program in such a way that there is time also for this work, just as we set aside time for other necessary things, such as eating and dressing.”

Time is one of a leader’s most precious commodities.  It is in short supply and demands often far exceed the time available.  Prayer can seem to be an addendum to the day’s work, if time is found for it, rather than the primary work to be done today.  Even in writing this I am saddened by the thought of my own inconsistency in this area.  May I/we all be more faithful to do this essential work each day.

Charles Spurgeon adds this in his work, The Secret Power of Prayer,

“The best praying man is the man who is most believingly familiar with the promises of God.  After all, prayer is nothing but taking God’s promises to Him and saying, ‘Do as You have said.’  Prayer is the promise utilized.  Prayer not based on a promise has no true foundation.”  (p. 41)

The work of prayer for our leadership should flow from the Scriptural promises God has given us.  These promises can be prayed back to Him in faith as we trust Him for on-going influence.  These promises prayed over give a sense of destiny and hope for the future outcomes of our life’s work.  As we pray and meditate over them the Lord will speak, confirm, and direct us.

Prayer – may we be doers and not just hearers only!

Leaders and Commitment

William Borden came from a family whose success in the dairy business was well known.  As a high school graduation gift, William’s parents sent him and a chaperone on an around the world trip to help prepare him for college at Yale.  They gave him a Bible to read on the journey and somewhere in Asia he was struck by the enormity of the task of reaching the world for Christ and how he must give his all to helping to reach those without Christ.  He penned two words in the first page of his Bible, “No Reserves.”

After entering Yale to study business, he became friends with a mission’s zealot named Samuel Zwemmer whose passion for reaching Muslims soon infected William.  He sensed God’s calling him personally to help bring the gospel to the Muslim peoples of western China.  After explaining to his parents that he would not take over the family dairy business after graduation, he wrote two more words in the front of his Bible, “No Retreats.”

Having finished some Biblical studies, he sailed for Egypt to study Arabic before moving on to China.  After only six months of language study, William contracted cerebral meningitis and died.  His mother sailed from New York to Cairo to collect his personal belongings, among which was his Bible.  After opening it, she read two more words that William had added to the front page, “No Regrets.”

“No Reserves!”  “No Retreats!”  “No Regrets!”  That total commitment to Christ drove Borden of Yale to give his life for world evangelism.

The highest good in the Christian life is not becoming a missionary or a vocational Christian worker.  Rather, it is discovering God’s will for your life and doing it with this type of total commitment.  The days demand it.  The King deserves it.  Why not make that commitment today!

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