Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the category “#4 REPRODUCE – Developing More Leaders”

The Look of a Mature Disciplemaking Ministry

A Mature Disciplemaking Ministry  –  Luke 6:13-19

Jesus is approximately one year into His 3+ years of public ministry when we read in Luke 6 that He spent the night in prayer.  While it is not unusual for Jesus to spend time alone in prayer with His Father, this prayer time preceded a significant shift in His work.  From here on He would have a leadership team that would consist of future leaders of the movement He would leave behind.  These 12 would now become His top priority in His ministry and we see that He completes this training of the 12 in John 17:1-6.  It is these leaders that ensure that spiritual generations of future leaders will emerge after He departs.

Jesus’ ministry as described in this one paragraph illustrates the three audiences found in a mature disciplemaking ministry and the three different functions that are addressed in these audiences.

The first audience is the Core leaders  –  Luke 6:13-16.  These are emerging leaders who will be the ‘golden thread’ for spiritual generations to come.  We Train these leaders in vision and skill for spiritual reproduction  –  helping them move to maturity and ability to reproduce their lives in others.

The second audience is the Large crowd of Disciples  –  Luke 6:17.  These are those we lead to Christ and those believers we find who want to pursue spiritual growth.   We Teach these disciples principles about being a Kingdom citizen –   helping them know and apply what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

The third audience was the Great number of people attracted to the movement, but lacking any commitment to it  –  Luke 6:17-19.  We  seek to Touch them in the name of Jesus.  Some we will simply contact – maybe a survey or simply testifying before them; while others we will deeply impact, even winning them to faith in Christ.

Three audiences in a mature disciplemaking ministry – Emerging Leaders, Disciples, and Great numbers of people on the journey.  We seek to Train, Teach, and Touch them for the sake of Christ and for His glory.

The 4 Alls of the Gospel

It was an early morning flight and being a frequent flyer, I had boarded first and was trying to read my Bible while the rest of the plane filled with passengers.  Sitting in the aisle I was secretly hoping that the center and window seat to my right would not be taken, allowing me to spread out some on the short flight from Colorado Springs to Denver. But, the last person to board threw his backpack into the window seat and proceeded to climb over me into the window seat.

Before the plane pushed back from the gate he leaned over and asked, “Hey, what are you reading?”  “I’m reading the book of Isaiah in the Bible,” I replied.  “Oh, that’s one of my favorite books,” he said.  A short conversation ensued where we exchanged some background information and then I asked, “So, how long have you been a believer?”  A quizzical look came over his face when he answered, “I think since I was born.”

I found out that he was headed for a funeral of his 14-month old son who had recently died of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and he had been reading a Bible to see if he could discover what happens to a person after they die.  I asked for permission to share with him a short summary of the central theme of the Bible, a summary I called the “4 All’s.”

As we leveled out after takeoff, he retrieved a Bible from his backpack and we turned to Romans.  I explained that there are four things that are common to all people – the 4 All’s.  We then proceeded to look at the verses in his Bible:  Romans 3:23 – All have sinned; Romans 5:12 – All will die; Romans 5:18 – Jesus died for all; and Romans 10:9,13 – All must receive Christ.  I checked for his understanding after each verse.  He nodded approvingly as we read each verse.

After reviewing these verses I asked him, “If you were to die tonight are you certain of seeing your son again in heaven?  He replied that he was not certain at all.  I then asked, “Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to accept Christ right now as your personal Savior?”  “Why no,” he replied, “but how do I do that?”  I then shared a short prayer with him and somewhere over Colorado at 12,000 feet, Rick trusted Christ as his Savior.

When landing we went over a few short passages on assurance of salvation from 1 John and after de-planing he hugged me and said, “Thanks so much for telling me about Christ!  Please pray for me.  I hope I can tell someone else about Him at this funeral.”




A History of US Revivals

The history of America has been marked by multiple great movements of God’s Spirit. These intense periods of the Spirit’s activity begin with a deep work in the hearts of believers and then moves outward into the hearts and lives of those that don’t know Christ. Christians are “revived” in their walk with God as they confess sin and their renewed heart gives boldness in their witness to the unsaved.

Most church historians would agree that there have been six periods of revival in America. Let’s examine these revivals and draw some parallels for today.

1730-40 Revival The Great Awakening
The first movement of the Spirit of God in America occurred before American independence. The Great Awakening saw many of the colonists touched in a profound way. There were few colleges in the colonies during this time, but those that did exist were profoundly visited.

1805-06 Revival The 2nd Great Awakening
The 2nd Great Awakening began around 1805 and lasted for more than two decades. Though historians differ as to the exact dates, none doubt the profound work of God in the lives of many, especially the college students of the day.

At small Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, three students met in dorm room for prayer and Scripture reading. A student mob gathered outside the door swearing and shouting threats to stop the meeting or suffer the consequences. College president John Blair came to investigate the uproar and after discovering the cause, was vexed in his spirit at the moral state of his student body. The next week the meeting met in the president’s parlor with one-half the student body present. Revival swept the college and the country.

At Yale College “a spiritual revival took place that shook the institution to its center” In a letter from a student to his mother he wrote, “Yale college is a little temple: prayer and praise seem to be the delight of the greater part of the students while those who are still unfeeling are awed into respectful silence.”

1857-58 Revival The Prayer Revival
The third movement of God’s Spirit began with a noon prayer meeting in New York City on Sept. 23, 1857. Six people gathered to pray for the city and their neighborhoods. Within 6 months 10,000 gathered daily for noonday prayer in New York and the revival moved to campuses across America. The YMCA came to America from England, expanded into collegiate ministry in 1858, and was on 180 campuses by 1884.

1905-06 Revival
The fourth visitation of God occurred at the beginning of the twentieth century. “Never in the history of universities have there been so many genuine spiritual awakenings among students.” The seeds in this revival were found in the 1886 Mt. Hermon student conference with D.L. Moody for 250 students. The Princeton Covenant was created by a small group of students at the conference and later signed by thousands, pledging themselves to foreign missions.

1949-50 Revival
Two students from Los Angeles drove 2,300 miles to Minneapolis to pray with Dr. J. Edwin Orr and Dr. Billy Graham for campus revival. Orr preached at Bethel Chapel soon thereafter and, “there was much prayer in the dormitories, followed by intense conviction of sin among the students in chapel and in classroom…Conviction was relieved only by outright confession, restitution, restoration or conversion to God.” In October 1955, the NY Times stated, “more than 1,200 of the nation’s 1,900 colleges and universities now have a ‘religious emphasis week’ of some sort.”

1970’s Jesus Movement
Revival broke out at Asbury College in Kentucky in 1970 and moved to secular campuses. Campus ministers in California who were witnessing to the radical students began to see many converted! Hundreds were converted and baptized in the Pacific Ocean! It is estimated that 250,000 students came to Christ during the next few years.

Are we on the verge of another great movement of the Spirit of God in America?  Let’s pray and ask God for it to begin with us!

More Practical 1-2-1 Discipling Ideas

The following is a list of very practical ideas that will help you be more effective as well as helping you enjoy discipling another individual. You may want to study the passage listed after each idea.

1. Major on being an encourager. As you listen, ask yourself what you can encourage them about.   Hebrews 10:24-25

2. Realize that you are entering into a life-long friendship. Your relationship will be foundational to all you hope to do.    Proverbs 17:17

3. Make sure you are well prepared. Get organized before you spend time with another. Go over the passages and illustrations you hope to share, making sure you are familiar with them. Know the context of the verses you use.   2 Timothy 2:15

4. Set the pace. You can’t take someone farther than you have gone yourself. You can’t build solidly into someone else what is weak or unfamiliar in your own life.  Philippians 4:9

5. Modeling is the key to reproducing your life. More things are caught than taught. Be transparent with those you are helping.  Share your weaknesses and struggles as well as your strengths and victories.   1 Timothy 3:10-11

6. Repeat all things. Make no apologies for going over familiar ground. The basics are basic; keep hitting the basics.    Philippians 3:1

7. Don’t “dump the truck” (i.e. tell them everything you know). Teach them only what they need to know now.   John 16:1-14

8. Take them with you as much as possible. Many lasting impressions are made during discussions in the car or during recreation together.   Mark 3:14

9. Treat them like an adult. Don’t talk down to them. Share with them as a friend.   1 Peter 5:1-3

10. Fit your follow-up plans to the person, not the person to the program. Be flexible.  Meet their needs as well as build into their life.  Don’t spend all your time “putting out fires.”  Think structured building into another’s life, but beware of the “assembly line mentality”.   1 Corinthians 3:9-10

11. Always focus on Christ and relate all you do together to knowing Him or making Him known.  Point them to Jesus.   Hebrews 12:2

12. Communicate an attitude of acceptance and love. Be their fan.  Be their friend.   John 13:34-35

Discipling another individual is a great privilege and challenge. As we invest in the lives of individuals like Steve, we will see them growing to maturity in the Lord and they in turn helping others. Paul referred to himself as a “fellow worker” with God (1 Corinthians 3:9). He also called himself an “expert builder” (1 Corinthians 3:10) of people. May we all seek to be expert people builders, building others up in the faith to the point where they can in turn help others.

Practical 1-2-1 Discipling

I began to work with Steve on a weekly basis, helping to build the basics of the Christian life into his life. Just as a builder comes to the building site with a plan, I too planned beforehand what I desired to share with Steve at each meeting.

These follow up plans consisted of short bible lessons related to the topic I had planned to share. I had previously done a bible study on the topic and summarized this study into a short lesson that I could impart to another individual. Each lesson consisted of a motivation section (a verse, quote, example) to help build anticipation for the topic and then the lesson, a few verses related to the given topic. Whenever possible I tried to share from one central passage rather than multiple verses in different bible books. Examples would be: servanthood – John 13, love – 1 Corinthians 13, faith – Hebrews 11, or the Lordship of Christ – Luke 14:25-35.

Once compiled, these follow up plans are saved for future opportunities to share with others that the Lord may bring into my life. I collect these follow up plans in a follow up notebook. Then when the Lord brings others into my life that He would have me to help, I’m ready with ideas on how to begin.

Just as a builder must start with a foundation, I wanted to lay a solid foundation in Steve’s life. We worked on such foundational topics as assurance of salvation, quiet time, prayer, Scripture memory, meditation, obedience, witnessing, fellowship, and the importance of God’s Word. After being assured that the foundation was solid, I began to help Steve in other areas of his life, seeking to build on top of this solid foundation.

These ‘superstructure’ of the building that I was seeking to construct in Steve’s life, by God’s grace and with His help, consisted of three general areas: doctrine (used in the broadest sense of knowledge of God’s Word), character, and ministry (the ability to personally help others).

When discipling another, be sure to have the mindset of a builder, not a doctor.  The doctor mentality waits for the ‘patient’ to describe their latest symptoms and then dispenses some ‘spiritual medicine.’  This attitude only builds increasing dependence upon the doctor.  But a builder proactively builds into the life of another seeking to build dependence upon Christ instead of themselves.

Be a disciplemaking builder, not a doctor!

Common Bonds in Leadership

A leader who looks with vision into the future sees by faith those who God will give us to influence.  It is essential that these people are unified and aligned around a common purpose or mission. They must also have common bonds around their devotion to Jesus, the hope that the Gospel is truly the power of God to change lives, and that they are personally called to help fulfill the Great Commission.

Remember that unity of purpose and conviction does not mean uniformity. We will be diverse in our applications of these commonalities, but we will be united in our similar convictions. Yes, there are many more things that we will have in common other than these three things, but as we grow and expand into the future that God has for us, these three bonds will have to remain strong.

By “devotion to Christ” I mean our commitment to Jesus above all else in life. This is manifested in a  willingness to put Him first in all areas of our lives–a willingness to sacrifice for Him. It also is seen in a willingness to take risks for Jesus’ sake. As we move into many new ventures of faith, God will ask us to live with some uncertainty and ambiguity for a while. We can do this because we are confident He has led us and our devotion to Him overcomes our feelings of unease.

A second common bond is our “hope in the Gospel.” We believe that the Gospel can and does change lives and that it is the power of God at work in those who believe. With all of the crying needs of this hurting world, we believe that the primary need is spiritual and that need is met through responding to the Good News. Therefore, we must seek to share the Gospel with those that don’t know Him.

As we seek to bring the Gospel, we believe that we will see fruit (in our respective seasons) as we faithfully scatter the spiritual seed. We sow expectantly, trusting that God will bring forth growth as we faithfully labor. But whether we sow or reap, we believe in the hope of the Gospel for those around us.

Our third common bond of unity is the “Great Commission.” We must always remember that the Great Commandment to love God is of higher priority than the Great Commission. But it is our passion for helping to fulfill the Great Commission by multiplying the number of spiritual laborers that also binds us together. We plan, organize, and lead out in our respective spheres with the desire to see people reached, discipled, and equipped to become spiritual laborers. These spiritual laborers will be raised up and then sent to the nations to do more of the same.

The scope of the Great Commission is “all the nations.” Acts 1:8 reminds us that the progression is to begin at our own “Jerusalem.” But our local ministry is always done in the bigger context of seeking to impact the world for Christ!

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!

Leadership Jazz – 5

Continual personal development as a leader is essential for implementing great leadership.  Max DePree addresses this topic in his book titled, “Leadership Jazz.”

“We need to take into account not only the needs of our careers, but the “careers” of every member of our families.

“Leaders think about polishing their personal gifts.

“Leaders see a twofold opportunity—to build a life and to build a career.  And the fact is that people become leaders only by building both.

“Leaders deal in substance and the quality of life, deaf to the calls to pursue quantity and appearances.

“Good leaders know that moving up in the hierarchy does not magically confer upon them competence.  They know that being elected president, for instance, gives them the opportunity to become president.  Leaders also know that their real security lies in their personal capabilities, not in their power or position.

“A leader’s capabilities begin to be tested shortly after she arrives on the job.  Spontaneity and reflection begin to fade away amid the din of schedules leaders don’t make and commitments they don’t seek out.  Required reading begins to edge out elective reading.  More and more energy goes into resisting pressure to move in undesired directions.

“Followers adamantly demand that a leader possess a high degree of integrity when it comes to self-perception.  A combination of self-confidence and humility seems to me to be crucial.

“Organizations have a right to expect decisiveness from leaders.  Being decisive in an area of one’s strengths is not too difficult.

“Acting in the face of one’s weakness requires courage and risk.

“Am I willing to reserve time on my calendar for reflection?

“In learning to listen, have I thought about improving my ability to practice the art of silence?

“Am I prepared to think about polishing gifts as a way of dealing with time and leaving a legacy?  As the years slip by, am I learning to see through the lens of mortality?  How does this improve me today as a leader?

“What will give me joy at seventy or eighty?

“At the end of life, what will I face?  Or, more important, whom?

“Ask yourself frequently, “What truly gives meaning to my life?”

Are you continuing to develop yourself over a lifetime?  Are you continuing to be a life-long learner?

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!”

Post Navigation