Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

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!

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3 thoughts on “Use the Word!

  1. Forrest on said:

    Tom,
    Have you read Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas? Highly recommend it. Thanks for your insights!

  2. Konstantin on said:

    I am willing to pay the price and dig deeper into the Word so as to to be able to feed myself, minister to others and help them learn to feed themselves and train others.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Tom.

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