Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

J.O. Sanders

J.O. Sanders spoke to The Navigators’ Indonesian staff at our annual conference in September 1986 in Central Java.  I had the privilege of accompanying him afterwards across Java to insure that he arrived at his next destination in good order.  This time at the conference and the personal time with him afterwards was one of the highlights of my entire 11 years in Indonesia.

Here are some of the notes I gathered as a result of that time together:

  1. You must pay for a spiritual ministry.  It is paid for a little at a time throughout life.  When you stop paying, the ministry stops.
  2. Leadership trials all leaders face:  appetite, avarice (desire for things), and ambition
  3. God prepares the ministry for the person and the person for the ministry.
  4. The Lord does not always explain Himself.    John 13:7
  5. The word “leader” is only used 6x’s in New Testament.
  6. To see if you are a leader check and see who is following.
  7. Spirituality alone does not make a good leader.
  8. A leader leads in vision and faith.  Joshua got the vision for Jericho, but had to communicate the vision and faith to the people of Israel.
  9. Leaders set the tone by their example.
  10. Watch your life and doctrine closely – notice the order!   1 Timothy 4:11-16
  11. Maturity is the fullness of Christ.    Ephesians 4:13
  12. Becoming mature (Matthew 5:48) as the Father is ‘perfect’ is used in a relative sense.  That is, we are to be mature for our stage of spiritual growth, not mature in an absolute sense.
  13. We are as close to God as we choose to be.     Exodus 33:13,17
  14. Maturity is measured by the fruit of the Spirit, not the gifts of the Spirit.
  15. Gifts can be counterfeited, but fruit can’t.
  16. Tests of a Person’s Maturity
  • Seeks the glory of God more than their own glory or advancement
  • Prefer holiness instead of happiness
  • Desire solid food, not milk from the Word
  • Prefer serving others rather than being served
  • Prefer giving rather than receiving
  • Will be fruitful rather than barren (fruitful in character and in service)
  • Will be joyous rather than gloomy
  • Will accept rather than refuse the discipline of God
  • Will accept responsibility in the service of God

Use the Word!

I can remember going to the house of my mentor as a young staff, lifting up the phone cradle (now you know this is a dated reference), and seeing these words taped onto the phone base: “Use the Word!”

As I reflect on the numerous phone calls with this person over the years that reminder has become a lifestyle – not only for him but also for me.  The ministry of the Word of God to me and others was never an afterthought or a superfluous appendix to our conversations.  Rather, it was an integral, woven, natural part of our friendship.  We shared the Word with each other and integrated it into our life and ministry together.

The following is some more elaboration a Kingdom leader’s ministry of the Word.

  • People that have Word gifts (a designation from Dr. Bobby Clinton – teaching, exhortation, prophecy, etc.) have the ability to use the Word in such a way that it impacts people strongly.  Though each uses the Word in a slightly different way, the impact upon people is strongly evident.  It is evident to me, just from watching how people listen when gifted people speak, who has these gifts and who has developed their gifts.

Regardless of your giftedness, all leaders are communicators and primary communicators of the mission and vision.  Be intentional about developing your communication skills, especially your ministry of the Word!

  • We all need to develop our giftedness for maximum impact for Christ.  We should look to take opportunities to minister the Word to various audiences on various topics.  Besides gaining much experience, always ask someone to critique your ministry of the Word at any opportunity.  Even young people can be valuable sources of feedback, if you limit and focus their critique.  For example, ask them to give you feedback on the introduction only – did it get their attention, was it clear where you wanted to go in the message, how was your appearance, diction, word choice, any weird mannerisms, etc.  Every time you speak try and get better in one particular area.
  • The ministry of the Word can take other forms besides speaking – writing is another way to use Word gifts.  Why not try and write some materials.  Start a blog, develop a bible study, pamphlet, or write an article on a topic you are excited about and share it.
  • Bring the Word to bear whenever you are leading:  1-2-1 times, team meetings, phone conversations, etc.  You will see God blessing your ministry.  It is the Word that the Sower sows that produces much fruit in its season.
  • In addition to more experience and critique, some purposeful development in this area can be a help.  Here are some ideas:  find someone who is a gifted communicator and ask them for some tips or ask them to train you if you have access to them long term; when you’re in meetings pick the brains of the speaker on how they minister the Word; read books on preaching, communication, public speaking, or teaching; sign up for a homiletics course at your local bible college or seminary; take the local homiletics professor in a seminary to lunch and pick their brain for ideas and resources.
  • Pray and ask God to use you with power as you minister the Word.  I read the biography of D.L. Moody some time ago and noted that he prayed for power as he ministered the Word.  Suddenly his ministry changed and God enabled him to speak in such a way as never before.  You can do the same.
  • Charles Spurgeon said, “Set yourself on fire and people will come and watch you burn.”  You will have to saturate your life with the Word so that it ‘oozes out your pores’ as you lead.  This takes a disciplined effort to get time alone with God and His Word.  It will not be easy and others will have no idea of the price you pay to get deep in the Word.  They will only be blessed by your ministry as you draw from the deep well you dig in the Word.  Jesus sees and He will reward.

Finally, remember Mike Treneer’s exhortation to us all:  Lead from the Word and into the Word!  May you sow the Good Seed as you lead!

God Give Us Men

The American Civil War was looming on the immediate horizon and everywhere one looked there were problems with no easy solutions.  Opinions were polarized and there was no apparent means for compromise.  Leaders were stepping back instead of stepping up due to fear and the overwhelming size of the challenges.

It was in this environment that the following was penned.  May it be true of you and me as we go forward to face the challenges of our own day.

The Day’s Demand 

GOD, give us men! A time like this demands

Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;

Men whom the lust of office does not kill;

Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;

Men who possess opinions and a will;

Men who have honor; men who will not lie;

Men who can stand before a demagogue

And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!

Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog

In public duty, and in private thinking;

For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,

Their large professions and their little deeds,

Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,

Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

 

Josiah Gilbert Holland              Circa 1860

5 Ridiculous Prayer Requests

I once did a study on what I titled the ‘ridiculous prayers’ of the bible.  These were prayer requests that from a human viewpoint may seem outlandish or over the top, but God saw fit to say ‘yes’ to.

This study included Moses asking to see God’s face, Solomon asking for wisdom, and Jabez asking for God’s blessing among others.  After I’d finished the study I was humbled when I thought of my own prayer life and my meager requests before the Lord.  I was also challenged to consider what could I possibly ask that may seem foolish or ridiculous, but that was not out of the realm of possibility from God’s perspective.

The result was the following list of five prayer items that I have been asking of the Lord for many years now.  You will see after each of these some references for others who either requested the same or perhaps are promises that I’m praying over related to this request.

1.       Power of the Holy Spirit when Preaching and Teaching

  1 Samuel 10:6; 1 Peter 4:11

2.       God’s Blessing on My Life and Ministry

  1 Chronicles 4:10; Isaiah 45:2-3

3.       Teach me Your Ways Lord – Knowing Why God Does What He Does

          Exodus 33:13

4.       See God’s Glory

  Exodus 33:18

5.       Wisdom for Life and Leadership

 1 Kings 3:9

What ‘ridiculous things’ are you asking Him for?

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