Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the category “#1 KNOW- How a Leader Thinks”

Leadership Changes

“So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus–from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.” So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven. Acts 1:21-26 NLT

During the ten days between the Lord’s ascension back to heaven from the Mount of Olives until Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, Peter suggested that they choose a replacement for Judas Iscariot who had betrayed Jesus. He said this based upon Psalm 109:8 which talks of another who will replace the lost one. Let’s note some principles for replacing leaders.

First, we note that before they talked about specific people, they defined the qualifications for the candidates. A candidate would be, “from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus–from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us.” Any candidate would be a man who had been with Jesus since the time of His baptism by John the Baptist until the ascension back to heaven just recently. This would be a ‘high bar’ to meet and would ensure someone who had seen and heard what the other Eleven had experienced with Jesus. Define the qualities, characteristics, and competencies needed for the job.

Secondly, we see that they defined the ‘job’ of this new replacement. “Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.” Clarify the job that the candidate will fulfill. Put it in writing!

Third, identify candidates who meet the qualifications for the job. The disciples identified two men – Mattias and Barsabbas who met the qualifications.

Fourth, they prayed and asked for the Lord to show who He had chosen for this vital role. The Eleven were really leading a process of discernment, seeking to identify the individual whom the Lord had already chosen. This was a spiritual process, not a political one.

Last, we note that they made the decision between the two – doing so by casting lots. This may seem arbitrary, or chance driven, but culturally it was a common method for decision making – similar to our casting votes. It was choosing black or white stones out of a bag, or long straw vs short straw. Regardless of the specific means, they trusted that God would direct the final choice to the one whom He had already chosen.

Kingdom leaders will be chosen and will transition their leadership to another – it is a matter of when, not if. Prepare now for the steps in the process of the selection, as well as those steps for the transition to another. May you do it with grace and in a God-honoring way!

The Hope of the Resurrection

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” … See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. … They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. Luke 24:36, 39-40, 42-43 ESV

As followers of Christ having accepted Him as Savior and placed our trust in Him for the forgiveness of our sins, we are promised by the Lord Himself a new body at the resurrection of the righteous. This new body will be different from our current one in many ways, yet still maintaining the same basic shape (two hands, two feet, head, torso, legs, etc.) We draw these conclusions from the model of the resurrected body of Jesus when He appeared to His disciples during the 40 days after His own resurrection. Let’s note some of the characteristics of His new body.

What appears to be the same – He still has the nail marks from His crucifixion in His hands and feet (will they remain for all eternity as a reminder to us all in heaven of His sacrifice for us)? He has two hands and two feet. He can walk. His body appears as ‘flesh and bones’ – not some spiritual ghost-like body. He has a mouth and He can eat with it. Do you wonder, at least I do, about the digestive process in the resurrected body? He can speak with this new mouth, and apparently hear with His new ears when spoken to by the disciples. Earlier on the first Easter morning when appearing to two on the road to Emmaus He walked and talked with them, sat down, prayed, tore bread, and passed it to the two (see Luke 24:28-32). Perhaps it was in the passing of the bread that they saw His nail marks and recognized Him?

But for all these similar characteristics, our eternal bodies will have major upgrades. First of all, it is an eternal body – no degenerative aging or decay. It will last forever! Jesus in His new body was able to materialize and disappear at will. With His new body He could move through walls and enter locked rooms (see John 20:19ff). He could ascend into heaven from earth at will (see Acts 1, and the end of Luke 24). He moved about on the earth – appearing in and around Jerusalem and Galilee (around Capernaum) as well as making personal visits to Peter and to James His brother (see 1 Corinthians 15).

We know enough to have anchored hope in the promised resurrection of our new perfect body. But there is also the reality that, “… No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT)

Therefore, comfort and encourage one another with these words!

God’s Favor on your Leadership

[ David ] …who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Acts 7:46-47

David, the man after God’s own heart, enjoyed the favor of God on his leadership. He saw God fulfill his destiny when as a teen he was anointed by Samuel and declared to be the king after Saul. He refused to take the kingship by force, waiting upon God to fulfill what He had promised through Samuel. He saw the Lord deliver him multiple times from Saul’s plots to kill him. He saw God open doors of sanctuary among his enemies and spare him from having to fight against Saul. The tabernacle built by Moses was now under his control and he desired to build a permanent home for the place where God met with His leaders.

All of these instances and others not recounted showed God’s favor towards David. With Joseph we saw God’s favor was manifested in the midst of many life trials. With David we see God’s favor in opening multiple doors of blessing and opportunity. It appears that David presumed he would also be the one to build the permanent temple for God instead of the ‘temporary’ (mobile) tabernacle. But it was not to be. David was told that it would be his son, his successor, who would build the temple for God. How surprising! How disappointing!

David was not given the opportunity to construct the temple in Jerusalem that would become God’s ‘tent of meeting’ where the visible presence of God would dwell. It would be another. David made the plans and acquired the materials, but it was left to Solomon to execute the plan and build the temple. Even though David ‘enjoyed God’s favor there were still limits to what God permitted him to accomplish.

How about you? You may sense God’s hand upon you and your leadership, but that does not mean that everything you desire will receive God’s blessing. God has purposes and ways that are not ours. And we are to submit to Him and His plans, not just assume and expect Him to ‘rubber stamp’ all of our leadership initiatives. Even though we have seen His favor in other areas, there may be some where He says ‘no,’ this is not for you to execute.

It is how we respond when God says ‘no’ that reveals our hearts. Do we wave our raised fist against God and demand He grant our desires? Or are we more clever and think that we can somehow maneuver things to make it happen without His favor? Or, do we humbly submit our desires to His plans and ways, trusting that His ways are right and perfect?

It’s a matter of the heart. How’s yours?

Asking for and Accepting Help

As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. … They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. Luke 19:29-30, 35 NIV

As Jesus neared Jerusalem on Sunday of the Passion Week (Palm Sunday), he needed help. To fulfill the prophesy of Zechariah (see Zech. 9:9), He needed a colt to ride into the city. So, He asked (directed) two of the Twelve to go before Him into the village and bring back the colt for Him. They did as directed and return with the colt, placing their cloaks upon the back of the colt and then lifted Jesus up onto the back of the animal. Jesus then rode the colt into Jerusalem as people laid palm branches in front of the colt, shouting and praising God as He entered the city.

Note the help Jesus needed in the recruitment of resources (a colt to ride) and the assistance He needed to get onto the animal. Here is the King of Kings asking for and accepting help from others. What humility!

Many Kingdom leaders are passionate to use their leadership to serve others. This is good and right – an admirable motivation. Yet, many struggle to ask for help from others or accept the help from others. They are used to providing help and find it difficult to ask for themselves the help they need. Perhaps it’s our ego or just habit that we don’t ask for ourselves. Regardless of why we don’t ask for help, this was not so with Jesus!

What help do you need now to accomplish the mission God has called you to? Have you asked the Lord for His help? Have you asked others for their help also? It’s not ‘either-or’ but ‘both-and’ for your requests. Is your pride preventing you from asking others to help you? Have others offered their help but you are reluctant to accept it? Why? Perhaps the Lord is moving them to come to your aid?

Ask and you will receive!

Planning and the Sovereignty of God

But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. Romans 15:23-25 NIV

Note Paul’s intention. He was coming to the end of his third missionary tour and sent this letter to the Roman believers. His plans were to end his current tour by delivering the offering from Gentile churches to the believers in Jerusalem (no doubt mostly Jewish converts). After this task was finished, he intended to continue his ministry to places where the Gospel had not been preached – he was going to Spain with a short layover in Rome along the way. What a beautiful plan! It was so strategic! So aligned with his calling as the Apostle to the Gentiles!

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NASB95 Or, my paraphrase of this passage – “Man plans his ways and God messes up his plans!”

Paul returned to Jerusalem, was arrested in the Temple, falsely imprisoned for two years, shipped to Rome as a prisoner and lived there awaiting trial for two more years under house arrest. He got to Rome, but in a time and manner that he had not planned on. Whether he got to Spain is a matter for the Bible historians to determine, for the Acts ends with his two years of house arrest in Rome.

How do you respond when God changes your plans – your good, righteous, strategic plans? How flexible are you? Are these your plans that you are asking God to ‘rubber stamp’ His blessing upon? Or are you truly seeking to follow His leading and do His will, not your own? The test comes when things don’t work out the way we thought they would. Ahhhh… there’s the rub!!!

Aging and Retirement – 3

By 1935 the Depression was in full bloom and President Franklin D. Roosevelt had to address the issue of caring for older American workers who had lost their savings in the Depression and had little support to make it to old age.  The Social Security Act of 1935 established the age of 65 as the retirement age for American workers.[1]  It is also interesting to note that the life expectancy for American workers in 1935 was 58 for men and 62 for women.   And now, with the Amended Social Security Act of 1988, the retirement age is gradually being raised to 67 by the year 2025 with life expectancy for men being 76 and women being 81. [2]

The concept of retirement from work into a season of leisure, self-enjoyment and self-fulfillment took root in the 1950s in America.  Workers were encouraged to save for the future with those savings being used for self-indulgence and personal pleasure – a reward for the hard work one had to ‘endure’ during their working career.  Communities for ‘seniors’ emerged and the concept of a leisurely season of retirement after a work career ended became a destination. 

With increasing longevity and life-expectancy growing dramatically due to improvements in health care, workers can now expect that their retirement years may be longer than their working years.  Increasing cost of living, increasing medical costs, and poor financial planning lead to older American workers seeking to extend their working years so that they have income to live and possibly save for a longer than expected life.  Seniors working as big box store greeters and counter help at McDonald’s are now common. 

The fracturing of the American family and the geographical scattering of children from their parents compounds any possible means of caring for a rapidly aging population.  Few churches or ministries have adequate means or a vision for caring for the older members.  What commitments do we have to our aging staff? How do we honor them and honor God in our relationships? Remember the Golden Rule of Luke 6:31! What goes around comes around and we will all be the “old one” someday.


[1] N.Y. Times, The History of Retirement, From Early Man to A.A.R.P.  March 21, 1999

[2] Life Expectancy in USA in 2010; http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005148.html

Aging and Retirement – 2

The Lord said to Moses, “This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the Tent of Meeting, but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer.  They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the Tent of Meeting, but they themselves must not do the work.   Numbers 8:23-26 NIV (1984)

Retirement, that is, stopping work for a life of ease, is a relatively modern concept.  J.I. Packer in his book, “Finishing our Course with Joy” says, “The Biblical “ideal of ripeness and increased focus in life in our old age stands in direct contrast to the advice for old age that our secular Western world currently gives.  Retirees are admonished, both explicitly and implicitly, in terms that boil down to this:  Relax.  Slow Down.  Take it easy.  Amuse yourself.  Do only what you enjoy.”

Cotton Mather, the Puritan firebrand, in the early 1700s attempted to encourage older workers to consider being “…pleased with the Retirement you are dismissed into.” [2]  This concept did not mean the worker would receive a monthly pension; rather it was an encouragement for the older to step aside and let the younger have a place of contribution.  Until the Industrial Revolution, mankind simply worked until they could work no longer.  It was the move away from primarily an agrarian society and to a factory work environment that was less physically demanding that gave older workers an opportunity to continue to work to increasingly older age. 

Monthly pensions to older workers began to be addressed in the U.S. in the late 1800s.  “In 1875, the American Express railroad company set a precedent by establishing the first private pension plan in America.  Banks, utility companies and manufacturing companies quickly followed suit and established pension plans funded mostly by the employer.” [3]

In 1883, Chancellor van Bismarck of Germany had to face the growing attraction of the Marxists who were promising older German factory workers an old age pension.  To counter the Marxists, van Bismarck offered to pay the German factory workers to stop working and receive a monthly payment from the government.  He chose the age of 65 as the age to stop working.  It is interesting to note that the life expectancy in Germany at the time was 62 years of age! [4]

As we form our policies and personal convictions on aging and retirement, let’s be aware of the historical development of the concept of retiring to a life of ease in our old age. More importantly, let’s look to the Bible for direction and help in addressing our aging staff and surrounding demographics.


[2] N.Y. Times, The History of Retirement, From Early Man to A.A.R.P.  March 21, 1999

[3] http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2006/04/01/the-history-of-retirement#.VwGUm5ispiI.email

[4] N.Y. Times, The History of Retirement, From Early Man to A.A.R.P.  March 21, 1999

Aging and Retirement – 1

Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.      Leviticus 19:32 NIV (1984)

America is becoming a nation of old people (the aged) and many Kingdom ministries are similar.  By the year 2030 there will be more Americans over the age of 65 than under the age of 15.  Currently in the U.S. approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers retire each day! 

These demographics and their implications for our work demand that we be proactive in our strategy for how best to utilize and serve this staff demographic.

The world tends to operate from a functional worth system.  That is, the value or worth of an individual is determined by the function that they perform.  The more valuable the function performed, as deemed by society, the more valuable the person is according to society.  Thus, we pay more for leaders than followers, more for doctors than custodians, and more for experienced workers than less experienced ones.  It is this functional worth system that rationally can abort unborn children or euthanize the aged for their function is not deemed valuable by society. 

This functional worth system is in direct contrast to the positional worth system of the Kingdom.  Every individual, whether the unborn, the infirmed, or the aged, is deemed infinitely valuable.  They are all individuals who are created in God’s image and for whom Christ died.  Their value is not determined by function, but rather by position in God’s Kingdom as His unique creation. David Solie, a geriatric expert and author of “How to Say It to Seniors” says, “Aging in this culture is seen as a disease and a failure.” 

In the Leviticus passage above, we note that God reminds us to show respect and honor the aged and elderly. Don’t just put them aside, but rather view them as valuable assets to be strategically deployed for the advancement of the Gospel and the Kingdom.

Waiting for God’s Power and Timing

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. … And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” Luke 13:10-12, 16 ESV

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue and in the crowd was this crippled woman. We note that her infirmity was spiritually caused as Jesus says about her, “whom Satan bound for eighteen years.” This spiritual bondage manifested in some form a back disability that prevented her from standing up straight. Let’s make some observations from this event and apply these to Kingdom leading.

  1. We note that the woman was called out from the crowd by Jesus. Amazingly, it does not seem that she was seeking healing that day. Yes, He knows what we have need of before we ask! So walk with God today, listen carefully for His voice, and should He ask you to come to Him, move quickly.
  2. We observe that she was called out in front of the others at the synagogue and her healing became a public discussion on whether it was right to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus used her infirmity to teach a very important lesson to the hypocritical synagogue ruler and others present. As you obey Jesus, He may put you on ‘public display’ as an object lesson to others of His power and greatness. Don’t shrink back from the attention He brings.
  3. We also see that the healing was instantaneous when He laid His hands on her. Yes, it was an immediate healing, but she had been suffering for 18 years! God’s timing is not ours. And if you are waiting for the power of God to be displayed in your life and leadership, don’t lose hope if it is a long time coming. God’s delays do not mean God’s denials!
  4. Finally we observe that after her miraculous healing “she glorified God.” This was her public testimony to the wonderful work of God in her. As God shows His favor and demonstrates His wonder-working power in your life and leadership, you will have opportunity to glorify Him for His goodness to you. Be careful that the glory stays upon Him and be bold in sharing with others His amazing grace as manifested in your life and leadership.

Is there some challenge or difficulty that you are waiting for the Lord to show His great power? Has it been so long in coming that perhaps you have even stopped asking? Don’t lose hope! Though God is never in a hurry, He is always on time! Trust Him!

Leadership Types- 2

I’m still on a short break from writing this weekly leadership blog. Below is an excerpt from George Barna’s book, A Fish Out of Water, with his understanding regarding the characteristics of two of four leader types – Team Building leaders and Operational leaders. Enjoy!

Team Building Leaders

  • Able to identify & pursue appropriate people, determine their gifts, & knit them into complementary work units
  • Provide the emotional energy to keep teams going
  • Love the interactive dimension of the chase
  • View people as puzzle pieces for the vision
  • Love to enable & empower people
  • Blend vision & personal ability by organizing people
  • Inveterate networkers
  • Being with people energizes them
  • Energize others
  • Make others feel heard & understood
  • Use charisma & popularity to motivate people to get involved & to excel
  • Don’t like meetings, paperwork, or memos
  • Tend to ignore anything on paper
  • Tendency to waffle on details
  • Can invest too much trust & confidence in others—“get burned”
  • Inattention to structure & management burns others

Operational Leaders

  • Structural architects and masters of process
  • Develop systems around the vision, resources & opportunities available
  • Create new routines that serve the purpose
  • Excel at creating dissonance to facilitate change
  • Craft a persuasive case
  • Get everybody moving in the same direction
  • Build systems that tie contributions together
  • Provide stability, predictability, & consistency
  • Create new opportunities & solutions (unlike managers, who tend to refine processes)
  • May be well-liked; low-key & low profile
  • Initiate, coordinate, integrate, facilitate, evaluate & enhance the efforts of others
  • Hate inefficiency, loose ends, communication break-downs, cost-overruns, missed deadlines & legal crises
  • Concrete thinkers
  • Focus on practical operational details
  • Sometimes champion the mechanics of a system rather than the vision
  • Dislike conflict; may surrender too easily
  • Avoid delivering bad news

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: