Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the month “November, 2015”

Leading with Love

Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” The one outstanding character quality for Kingdom leaders is that we are known as men and women who love Jesus and one another.

We are to know Him intimately, trust Him explicitly, and are growing in our love for Him with each passing day. This knowledge of God and His love is not just cerebral, but a real-life experience. We are experiencing His love and it is expressed in our lives and in how we relate to others.

Leaders who lead with love are helping others to experience the love of God and become followers of Him. These people have a commitment to multiplying their lives in the lives of others. They want to reproduce Jesus in the lives of as many as possible and thus help make disciples of all the nations. They are not satisfied with spiritually adding, they want to multiply the number of spiritual laborers for the harvest fields of the world.

If we are to see this become a reality it must begin with us today. We will only reproduce who we are. An Indonesian proverb states, “The coconut doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Here are some questions for you to consider:

1) Are you truly experiencing the love of Jesus in your own life? Is this love growing?
2) Are you manifesting God’s love in your relationships with your family and friends?
3) Are those in your ministry falling in love with Jesus and seeking to live lives that are pleasing to Him?
4) Are those in your ministry understanding the vision of spiritual multiplication?

This will take a commitment, a decision to love, even when others do things that are not lovable. This kind of love is more than a feeling; it is an act of the will. May we all model the great and wonderful love of God to one another first and then to the world.

Leading from the Bible and Into the Bible

Once we have good momentum in evangelism, by God’s grace, we will see people coming to faith in Christ. Also, because of our sowing broadly, we will find young Christians who desire to grow up in Christ. These new believers and young, Christian “orphans” will need to be fed spiritual food to help them move towards maturity in Christ. This spiritual food is the Bible, helping them not only understand it, but apply it to their lives.

In our discipling of young Christians and as we equip disciples to become laborers for the spiritual harvest, we must remember that it is the Bible that helps them become established and equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Let’s be sure that our small groups are studying the Bible and not someone’s book about a biblical topic. Let’s be sure that our follow-up plans and equipping packages are Bible centered. As we counsel and advise, let’s be sure that our counsel is full of the Word of God.

As we minister the Word of God to the hearts and minds of others we can become very “cerebral” in our approach, if we’re not careful. We can have verses for everything and every situation, ready to dispense on a moment’s notice, but it is not simply the imparting of Bible information that will bring about transformation in someone’s life. We will need to help them seek application of biblical truth for their lives.

One of our Navigator distinctives over the years has been our emphasis on personal application of the Scriptures. Let’s remember that Scripture memory is not an end in itself, that is, the quoting of verses from memory. Rather, it is the saturation of our minds with God’s Word that we may meditate on it and find application for our lives that is the desired end. We want to be changed into the image of Christ through our memory work and our Bible studies, but this will only happen as we seek to find personal application of the Word for our lives.

In our equipping of spiritual laborers we must help others ground their personal ministry in the Bible. In our evangelism training, let’s ground them in the Scriptures when presenting a credible explanation and defense of the Gospel. Let’s encourage them to have confidence in God’s ability to use His Word to win people to Himself. He will honor the use of His Word. It will accomplish His desires (Isaiah 55:8-11).

In training spiritual laborers to establish others in the faith, we must give them tools that will help them impart the Scriptures to others. They must have confidence in God and in God’s Word if they are to see spiritual generations flowing from their lives. We can help them have that confidence if we model it before them and teach them how.

Discipling and equipping others with the Word of God for a lifetime of laboring for Jesus is a vital part of our leadership mandate. The fruit bearing that results from sowing good seed in good ground is one of the great blessings we get to observe as we co-labor with God. Sow the good seed of the Word of God (Mark 4:14: 1 Peter 1:23)!

Acting Locally, Thinking Globally

World vision has always been at the heart of our work. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, at the peak of the national collegiate ministry renewal (The Jesus Movement), we sent many staff around the world. Dana and I had the privilege of being one of those sent. But, with the decline of the collegiate work in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, our vision necessarily turned inward. We now had to focus on solidifying our sending base and regaining the needed momentum at home in order to be able to once again send to the world. Though never lost, world vision was not emphasized as we sought to rebuild at home.

When we regained momentum at home, we can once again move the topic of “world vision” to the “front page” nationally. God continues to bless us with many new staff and laborers. But this blessing is not an end in itself. We are blessed that we might be a blessing to others. That was the word the Lord gave to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 when He said, “I will bless you…and all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you.”

God’s heart has been and always will be for the whole world. We see this theme throughout the Scriptures. Take a moment and reflect on the consistency of God’s heart for the world in the following passages: Gen. 12:1-3, Isa. 49:6, Mat. 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, and Rev. 7:9. “For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son…”

Isa. 49:6 reminds us that it is too small of a vision to focus only locally. God’s burden is for the entire world and we are to pursue that end also. As we begin to see God multiply our people, making them as numerous as sheep (see Ezekiel 36:37-38), we will want to see many of those He gives us sent to the nations.

One last thought on sending to the world. Let’s remember that there is no “higher good” in crossing an ocean to serve God. Geography does not determine value in God’s service. It is equally valuable in God’s economy to reach, disciple, and equip the ‘nations within’ the U.S. as well as some foreign country. Those that go are no more “committed” or “better” that those who stay.

We all make our strategic contribution for “making disciples in all the nations.” We just do it in different geographical locations around the globe. Some people God gifts and calls for serving cross-culturally. Others are better designed by God to serve within their home culture. All are valuable! All are strategic! All are important!

Beginning at our Jerusalem, may God bless us to reach our Judea’s and Samaria’s and the ends of the earth!

Becoming a Multiplying Leader

“Spiritual Generations.”  We’ve heard it many times. We’ve even had conferences with that title. It’s our heartbeat.

In a recent conversation with a younger staff, he asked me what I thought was unique about The Navigators’ ministry. He was trying to sort out in his mind our contribution as compared to other ministries. I answered that all ministries are about trying to help fulfill the Great Commission and expand God’s Kingdom. But that one of our unique contributions is the multiplication of spiritual laborers for the Kingdom harvest.

The objective of the Great Commission is making disciples of all the nations. But our (The Navigators) strategy to help fulfill this commission is the multiplication of spiritual laborers. A spiritual laborer is one who can do evangelism and follow up (establishing). This is someone who can make disciples of all the nations. By focusing on the need for more laborers (Matthew 9:35-38) we will make disciples and help fulfill the Great Commission, for laborers make disciples.

But even that explanation is incomplete. We are about the multiplication of spiritual laborers, not just increasing their numbers. Spiritual multiplication implies raising up laborers who will then in turn raise up other laborers, who will in turn do that to still more.  We are disciples first and then disciplemakers, who make more disciples and disciplemakers.

It is a multiplying effect, not just addition. It is one becoming 2, becoming 4, who become 8, and so on. It is exponential growth through spiritual generations. That is what we are about—spiritual multiplication through successive generations!

May God continue to lead you to men and women who will be “good seed” that will multiply 30, 60, and 100 fold!

The Grateful Leader

The Apostle Paul in his message to the Athenians while standing in front of the Areopagus says this about God:  “…he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:25).  Has is every struck you that all you have as a leader finds its source in God Himself?

Yes, you have accomplished some things as a leader through your wise decisions, good stewardship, faithfulness, and hard work.  But think a minute.  Who gave you the mind to be able to make decisions?  Who created an ability to discern what was good and not so good in your stewardship?  Who created within you a will that enables you to choose to be faithful?  And who created within you a desire to work and accomplish a task?  Yes, all these things, and yes, everything we are and have finds its source in Him.

Therefore, what should be our response?  It must me one of contrition for taking any credit upon ourselves, humility, and a proper perspective that truly “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

How about making a gratefulness list?  What are you grateful to God for?  Express them to Him from a sincere heart of praise and thankfulness.  Can you truly thank Him for everything including those things that don’t feel or seem good or pleasant?

Here’s some things to get you started:  your relationship to Him, your spouse and family, your mind and body, your spiritual gifts, your role and influence, your opportunities for service, your friends, your team, your possessions, your experiences, and your weaknesses (see 2 Cor 12:9).

A grateful, thankful spirit is attractive.  It bleeds authenticity.  It brings proper perspective.

Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

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