Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the month “May, 2015”

Serving God with a Good Attitude

God has a volunteer workforce.  We are all invited to co-labor with Him (see 1 Corinthians 3).  When we ‘raise our hand’ and join up with Him and many other volunteers the key is have a good attitude.  The following are 3 Attitudes of a Spiritual Laborer that make us useful in the Master’s hands.

Attitude #1     Willing to Respond to a Call to Co-Labor

The Lord invites us to join up with Him, but we have the option to choose whether we will serve.  He will accomplish His purposes with us or without us.  It is a privilege to serve with Him.  We were designed for this destiny.

• Personal calling – you will know when He is asking YOU!  –   Moses – Ex 3:4; Samuel – 1 Sam 3:10; Mary – Luke 1
• God can use need or circumstances to call – Paul with the Macedonian vision – Acts 16:9; Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

Attitude #2     Willingness to Work Very Hard

Volunteering for Jesus is hard work!  It requires serving others who will frequently no be grateful.  It requires perseverance for many tasks are difficult and complex.  The example of laboring found in Mat 9:35-38 is one of a common field hand worked the barley or wheat harvests with a small curved knife.  It was back-breaking work in the heat of the day.  Laboring with Jesus is not for wimps!

Attitude #3    Willingness to Risk Everything and Sacrifice

Those who volunteer to serve with Jesus give everything they have.  Billy Graham said, “Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you everything you have.”  Volunteers commit themselves to God for their reward in heaven, not expecting rewards in this life.  They put Christ above comfort; living for world to come.  Two passages mentioning reward for service are:  Mark 10:29-30 and Luke 18:29-30.

How’s your attitude?  Have you raised your hand to volunteer for service?  Having second thoughts?  It’s time to re-up!  Raise your hand!

The Amazing John Wesley

John Wesley was the fifteenth child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley.  Born in 1703,  he was converted at the age of 35 after university and a failed ministry attempt with his brother, Charles, in the Georgia Colony.  Though coming to faith later in life, Wesley made up for his ‘late start’ and his energy seemingly knew no bounds.

“John Wesley averaged three sermons a day for fifty-four years, preaching all told more than 44,000 times.  In doing this he traveled by horseback and carriage more than 200,000 miles or about 5,000 miles a year.

“His published words include a four volume commentary on the whole bible, a dictionary of the English language, a five-volume work on natural philosophy, a four volume work on church history; histories of England and Rome; grammars on the Hebrew, Latin, Greek, French and English languages; three works on medicine, six volumes of church music; and seven volumes of sermons and controversial papers.  He also edited a library of fifty volumes know as “The Christian Library.”

“His daily schedule was as follows.  He arose at 4:00am and worked solidly through to 10:00pm, allowing brief periods for meals.  In the midst of all this work he declared, “I have more hours of private retirement than any man in England.”

“At age 83, he was piqued to discover that he could not write more than 15 hours a day without hurting his eyes; and at the age of 86 he was ashamed to admit that he could not preach more than twice a day.  In his 86th year, he preached to almost every shire in England and Wales and often rode thirty to fifty miles a day.”  (Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations by Paul Lee Tan)

John Wesley finished his race just short of his 88th birthday.  While his lifestyle is one few could imitate, his passion for Christ is compelling.  How’s your work ethic?  Are you pursuing hard after Christ and His Kingdom?

Golden Apples

Hippomenes was a mythical, Greek young man who was in love with the beautiful Atalanta.  Atalanta, in addition to her striking beauty, was also a gifted runner, but she had a cruel, sadistic character.  Many young men became infatuated with her beauty and desired to marry her.  These men were challenged to a foot race with two conditions.  If the man won the race, he could marry Atalanta.  But if he lost, he would pay with his life.  Many a man tried and paid the ultimate price for his second place finish.

Hippomenes also became mesmerized by Atalanta’s beauty and challenged her to a race.  Shortly after the race began he lagging behind.  Reaching into his tunic, he withdrew a golden apple and threw it in front of the streaking Atalanta.  The flash of gold caught her eye and she stopped to pick up the golden fruit as Hippomenes raced by.  She soon recovered and again moved ahead of him.  Hippomenes pulled a second golden apple from his tunic and threw it in front of Atalanta who once again stopped to pick it up.  As Hippomenes passed the crouching Atalanta, she realized that the race was nearing the finish and she recovered soon enough to regain a comfortable lead with a short distance to go.

Hippomenes retrieved the last of his golden apples from his tunic and rolled it ahead of Atalanta as she approached the finish.  Atalanta was in a quandary; should she stop and pick up the apple or press for the finish line?  She reasoned that she certainly could do both, so she stopped to placed the golden fruit in her robe just a Hippomenes passed her and raced towards the finish.  She recovered, but now with such a short distance, she was not able to beat him.  Hippomenes had won!

This is not an illustration on how to find a life partner!  Rather, as you race through life, you will find the enemy of your soul rolling “golden apples” of opportunity, compromise and temptation in your path.  Are you stopping to admire these golden globes?  Have you picked them up and made them your own?

Jesus’ Way of Developing Leaders

I’ve always loved the Gospel of Mark because of the action oriented narrative.   You’ll remember that Mark’s gospel begins with a one-year gap (Mark 1:13-14) between His baptism and the 18-month ministry in Galilee.  This first year of Jesus’ public ministry is only recorded in John 1-4.

Below is a short outline of some key leader development passages as found in Mark.  While this is not an exhaustive list, it does serve as a reminder of how to be more intentional about developing those leaders we have influence with.

Mark 1:14-18 –  Jesus was on the move and He recruited others to join Him in the movement; note that He recruited busy, industrious people

Mark 1:35 –  Jesus was a pacesetter/model, especially in spending time with His Father

Mark 1:36-39 –  Jesus had a plan for His ministry; He took the risk of disappointing those He was leading by saying ‘no’ to their desires for Him

Mark 3:14 –  the emerging leaders were “with Him” first and then sent out

Mark 3:16-17 –  having nicknames indicates He knew His disciples well; there was a deep, personal relationship with Him

Mark 4:10,34 –  He gave special training and development to a few; He told them “why and what”

Mark 4:35 –  Jesus took the initiative and led out by example

Mark 6:6-9 –  Jesus modeled faith and expected it of His disciples; living by faith was to be a lifestyle

Mark 6:30-31 –  He modeled for them the importance of taking time for reflective evaluation and relaxation

Mark 8:31 –  He sought to keep His disciples informed about upcoming events

Mark 9:14-16 –  Jesus protected His disciples from threats; note how He takes the argument with the teachers of the law onto Himself

Mark 10:28-31 –  Jesus was an encourager; He affirmed good behavior

Mark 11:1-3 –  He emphasized forethought, scenario planning, and training before sending them out on assignments

Mark 14:10 –  Jesus too had one of His leaders who did not do well; not all failures are reflections on the leader and their ability to train others

Reflect on these passages.  Open the bible with those you are developing.  Look carefully at the model of Jesus and how He developed leaders.  Remember to, “Lead from the Scriptures and into the Scriptures!”

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