Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

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

Developing Kingdom Leaders for What?

In Genesis 12:1-3 we read of God’s promise to Abram that the blessing upon Abram and his descendants would be a blessing to all the world.  1500 years later, Isaiah writes a prophecy about the coming Messiah and states that the mission of the Messiah would be to take the message of salvation not just to the tribes of Jacob, but to all the nations (peoples) of the world.

500 years after Isaiah, Jesus summarizes His entire public ministry with a commission to make disciples of all the nations (see Matthew 28:18-20).  And at His final public appearance, the Ascension from the Mount of Olives, the Lord instructs them to begin at Jerusalem and reach to ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

This mission of discipling the nations is why we need Kingdom leaders.  These missional leaders will seek to advance the gospel and the Kingdom into the various peoples of the world.  These leaders will be called of God to engage in this great cosmic task.  They will hear His voice and raise their hand.

The grand vision of making disciples of all the peoples of the world will need leaders of disciplemaking ministries and disciplemaking movements; leaders who see globally and act locally.  They will not be discouraged or shrink back from the immensity of the task.  Rather, they will rise to the challenge, trusting God by faith to use them is some way to further His purposes.

What better way to spend your life?  Some will be called to engage in this vocationally as full-time workers.  Others will have differing vocations, but their missional commitment will not waver as they engage in the grand enterprise of seeing the nations come to know Him.

These Kingdom leaders must be prayed for, worked for, recruited, trained, developed, and deployed strategically into the peoples of the world.  They will be few in number, given that the ‘laborers are few’ (see Matthew 9:35-38).  But, God does accomplish this mission with just a few (see Revelation 9:7).

We are not disheartened by the few who may raise their hand and volunteer for this daunting mission.  With God, one is a majority!  And with Him we have all the resources needed to accomplish everything He desires of us.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?    Romans 8:31  (NIV  1984)

Creating a Platform for Influence

One of your primary functions as a leader is to develop those leaders around you, helping them grow in their capacity to contribute to the mission.  The ability to influence and help them grow is built upon the foundation of trust in the relationship that you have with them.  But, what do you do when you do not have that kind of history with them–when there is no real relationship established?

In a recent conversation with Paul Stanley, former International VP of The Navigators, we discussed how to address this challenge.  Below are some of our practical ideas on how to build this kind of relationship, especially one that is geographically distant from you, so that you can help them grow and develop.

  1.  The first step is to begin to create trust
    • Remember, the depth of your relationship will determine the impact of your influence
    • You as their leader and mentor, want to be viewed as a ‘value-added’ asset to their life and leadership
    • Mutual vulnerability will create a growing bond of trust, with you, their supervisor, initiating the self-disclosure and openness
    • Mutual confidentiality must be assured, for any ‘leakage’ will quickly destroy any trust that has been built
  1. Seek to create a sense where they know that you are in it with them – we are in it together to help them succeed
    • Join their team in spirit, becoming their fan and champion
  1. Help them see a bigger vision for their life and future contribution beyond their current role
    • Help them believe that their future destiny is more than what they can currently ‘see’
  1. Early on in the relationship, they must feel practically helped in their current responsibility
    • Identify 2 or 3 leverage points for them to focus on in the next 1-2 years that will truly help them make progress and bring change to their mission
  1. Help them clarify their responsibilities before God and the organization that they are to steward
    • Help them shape the stewardship of these responsibilities, seeking to prioritize them into what is most strategic at this time
    • Help them identify 3-4 key responsibilities to focus on for the next 1-2 years
    • Pray for them and with them over these 3-4 key responsibilities
    • Talk with them regularly about progress in these 3-4 items
  1. Help them grow in confidence as a leader
    • Affirm, encourage, advocate for, and champion them
    • Help them identify certain leadership principles that they are already doing that models good leadership
      • Ken Blanchard reminds us to, “Find somebody doing something right and tell them about it.”
  1. Help them grow in self-awareness as a leader
    • What are their personal strengths and weaknesses as a leader
    • Help them learn how to lead from their strengths and staff to their weaknesses
  1. As you supervise and mentor them, adopt the attitude of asking, not telling!
    • Lead with questions, not answers!
  1. Open the bible together and pray together on a regular basis

Qualified to Lead

But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens… Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.  He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.      Exodus 18:21; 24-25   (NIV  1984  Italics added)

Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you…  So I took the leading men of your tribes, wise and respected men, and appointed them to have authority over you—as commanders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens and as tribal officials.       Deuteronomy 1:13, 15  (NIV  1984  Italics added)

In Deuteronomy we have several messages from Moses to the people of Israel before they were to cross into the Promised Land.  In these words, Moses reminds them of their history – how they arrived at this point in time.  In the first chapter he reviews the change of leadership structure that came about from the advice given to him from his father-in-law, Jethro, some forty years earlier (see Exodus 18).

Jethro saw that Moses was being worn down by the daily leadership demands of the people, and thus needed some help.  The advice given and heeded was to set up a hierarchy of leaders to help carry the leadership load and thus free Moses to focus on teaching the people the Law of God and only handling the most difficult cases.

Note the selection criteria for those who were chosen to judge the people:  capable men who feared God and were trustworthy (Jethro’s advice).  Moses’ summary forty years later was the choosing of those who were wise, understanding, and respected.

Here’s two general observations on who was considered qualified to lead.  First, they were to be capable, wise, and respected.  To determine if someone meets these criteria, they must have a track record of their leadership.  We need to be able to assess the results of their decisions and evaluate the outcomes of their choices.  We are to select based upon demonstrated, realized potential, not just potential. We are looking for proven leadership ability, not just raw potential.  Competency counts!

Secondly, they were to be men of godly character.  They were to be – men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain, wise, and understanding.  They were to be able to lead from a foundation of seeing their leadership as a servant and steward of God.  They must be people of integrity.  And they must have wisdom and discernment to see solutions to problems and able to discern root issues.  Character counts!

When selecting leaders for Kingdom leadership we are to choose those with both proven competency to lead and Christlike character.  Competency and character are two wings of the leadership airplane.  We need both for it to fly!

Intentionality – A Little Goes a Long Way

One of your primary responsibilities as a Kingdom leader is to leave behind more leaders.  You are tasked with developing those leaders around you, helping them grow in their capacity to contribute to the mission of discipling the nations.

But what if you don’t have the ‘gift mix’ for developing others?  Often this development gets ignored or we silently hope that with the gaining of more experience that those leaders around us are being developed.  While experience does help, it may or may not be good and certainly does not maximize one’s development opportunities.  What to do?

When it comes to developing others, a little bit of intentionality goes a long way.   A little bit of forethought or planning on how to develop those you are leading in their leadership can bring great gains.  And here’s the secret – you don’t have to be the ‘developer.’  All you have to do is lead them in their development.

Many leaders accept the responsibility for developing the leaders around them, but are paralyzed into inaction because they assume they must be the ones to do the development.  The answer is not in delegating the development of your leaders to another.  Rather, simply lead them in development as you do mission together.  It does not take much effort on your part and those you lead will love you for it.

As you put together your team meeting agendas, set apart some time for leader development.  Depending upon the meeting, the length of time can be short or long.  By setting time for this in the agenda, you will focus the team on the importance of their own development as leaders.  If not, then ‘business items’ will take all available meeting time and still not be completed.

Here’s some simple ideas on how to lead your team in development as leaders:

  1. Select a passage from the Gospels to read about Jesus developing the 12 Apostles.  Read it together and discuss leadership principles you observe and how they might apply to your context.
  2. Print out a short article on leadership or a topic of current interest to discuss together and then relate it to your mission.
  3. Read a book together and discuss it at your team meetings.
  4. Visit another organization as a team.  Meet with their leaders and discuss what you learned that may be applicable when you next meet as a team.
  5. Watch a film that has leadership related themes you believe are applicable for your context and discuss lessons you observed and how to apply them.

In all of these situations you do not have to be the ‘answer person’ for your team’s development.  You just have to take the time to plan ahead and lead them in their development experience.  You can learn and develop right along with them.

Do you have leader development as a part of your team meeting agenda?

The Learning Cycle Applied – 3

Experience is not the best teacher.  It is evaluated experience that makes for truly developmental learning.  For those of us who seek to intentionally develop others, especially leaders, helping them to evaluate their experiences will maximize the developmental opportunity.

David A. Kolb, an American educational theorist, captured a model on how adults learn.  Later Peter Honey and Alan Mumford adapted model for use with a population of middle/senior managers in business.  Here is their Learning Cycle with minor adaptations.

The Adult Learning Cycle

Learning Cycle diagram

4 Phases of the Adult Learning Cycle

  • Experience – The circumstances, people, responsibilities and opportunities that make up the reality of life.
  • Reflection – People need to reflect on their experiences. Questions need to be asked about what happened and why it happened.
  • Conclusion – Having reflected, the learner draws conclusions that form applications for future activity.
  • Application – Applications form the basis of ongoing activities and experience.

Too often busy leaders fail to stop and reflect adequately upon their leadership experiences.  One of a leader developer’s tools for helping others is the ability to cause busy leaders to stop long enough to adequately reflect upon their experiences.  We do this by asking them questions.  Becoming a good questioner is key to helping other adults learn from their experiences.  But many fail to probe another’s experience by failing to ask.  Why?

One of the greatest obstacles to overcome is the desire to talk about yourself and your own experiences.  This self-centeredness flows from an inflated ego and an assumption that my experiences are more important than yours.  We can ramble on and on about ourselves without seeming to take a breath and the listener, though hopefully polite, has really not benefited.  You may feel good about the time, but it is a wasted opportunity for them to reflect upon their own experience because you lacked the self-control to shut up about yourself and listen to them.

Jesus asked hundreds of questions to those around Him, especially The Twelve leaders in training.  Not one time was He asking for information!  It was all for their benefit.

So, are you a ‘teller’ or an ‘asker?’  How you answer can determine how well you develop other leaders.

 

The Learning Cycle Applied – Five Questions for Reflection – 2

Experience is not the best teacher.  It is evaluated experience that makes for truly developmental learning.  For those of us who seek to intentionally develop others, especially leaders, helping them to evaluate their experiences will maximize the developmental opportunity.

David A. Kolb, an American educational theorist, captured a model on how adults learn.  Later Peter Honey and Alan Mumford adapted model for use with a population of middle/senior managers in business.  Here is their Learning Cycle with minor adaptations.

The Adult Learning Cycle

Learning Cycle diagram

4 Phases of the Adult Learning Cycle

  • Experience – The circumstances, people, responsibilities and opportunities that make up the reality of life.
  • Reflection – People need to reflect on their experiences. Questions need to be asked about what happened and why it happened.
  • Conclusion – Having reflected, the learner draws conclusions that form applications for future activity.
  • Application – Applications form the basis of ongoing activities and experience.

Too often busy leaders fail to stop and reflect adequately upon their leadership experiences.  One of a leader developer’s tools for helping others is the ability to cause busy leaders to stop long enough to adequately reflect upon their experiences.  We do this by asking them questions.  Becoming a good questioner is key to helping other adults learn from their experiences.  Here are five of my favorite questions to ask leaders about a recent leadership experience.

  1. What did you learn about yourself from this experience?
  2. What did about your God from this experience?
  3. What did you learn about leadership from this experience?
  4. If you were to repeat this experience, what would you do again and why?
  5. If you were to repeat this experience, what would you not do again and why?

These simple questions will cause a person to stop and think carefully about their life and leadership and help them arrive at good conclusions.  They ‘why’ part of the final two questions is most insightful as it helps us understand their reasoning and values.

So, are you a ‘teller’ or an ‘asker?’  How you answer can determine how well you develop other adults.

The Learning Cycle Applied to Leader Development – 1

Experience is not the best teacher.  It is evaluated experience that makes for truly developmental learning.  For those of us who seek to intentionally develop others, especially leaders, helping them to evaluate their experiences will maximize the developmental opportunity.

David A. Kolb (born 1939) is an American educational theorist whose interests and publications focus on experiential learning, the individual and social change, and career development.  He was first to identify this model of how adults learn.  In the mid 1970’s Peter Honey and Alan Mumford adapted David Kolb’s model for use with a population of middle/senior managers in business. They published their version of the model in The Manual of Learning Styles (1982) and Using Your Learning Styles (1983). Here is their Learning Cycle with minor adaptations.

The Adult Learning Cycle

Learning Cycle diagram

4 Phases of the Adult Learning Cycle

  • Experience – The circumstances, people, responsibilities and opportunities that make up the reality of life.
  • Reflection – People need to reflect on their experiences.  Questions need to be asked about what happened and why it happened.
  • Conclusion – Having reflected, the learner draws conclusions that form applications for future activity.
  • Application – Applications form the basis of ongoing activities and experience.

Too often busy leaders fail to stop and reflect adequately upon their leadership experiences.  They complete one responsibility and ten more await their immediate attention.  They move forward with impressions from past experiences, but not having taken the time to reflect well, these impressions are half-formed thoughts or wrong conclusions that then lead to even poorer applications.

One of a leader developer’s tools for helping others is the ability to help busy leaders to stop long enough to adequately reflect upon their experiences.  We do this by asking them questions.  Becoming a good questioner is key to helping other adults learn from their experiences.

So, are you a ‘teller’ or an ‘asker?’  How you answer can determine how well you develop other adults.

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!

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