Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “kingdom leaders”

Deferring to Others – A Sign of Humility

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:7-11 ESV

Have you noticed a difference in how you are treated by others now that you are a recognized leader in the Kingdom? Before accepting this calling you got little attention from others when attending an event. But now that you have this title or role, others want your attention and usher you to special seats at certain events. It’s easy to assume that you are somehow more important and your ego will crave this type of special attention.

Note that Jesus observed the banquet attendees clamoring for seats of honor. His parable addressed this attitude of self-promotion and self-aggrandizement. His summary was not to diminish the honor that came with certain seats, but rather, it was how you attained that honor. If you sought the honor, you were disqualified. Better to defer that honor to another and then receive it back later.

It’s right that you as a leader be given certain prominence in meetings but be careful about your heart. If you expect to be treated as special, you will have a rude awakening when you are no longer the leader and not given special treatment, for that now goes to your successor. If you continue to pursue this attention or if you think you deserve it (“I sacrificed for them, thus they owe me”), be careful, for you may be publicly embarrassed when others take your place.

Better to defer to others, letting them have the honor due them for their current role, not expecting anything for your previous service. God knows your sacrificial service and He will reward. Then, should you be asked into a place of honor, watch out! Your ego can convince you that, “Well, it’s about time someone noticed me! I’m an important person you know!” It can be so subtle!

Be wise and be circumspect, especially in public gatherings. Defer places of honor and special treatment to others. Never be self-seeking or self-promoting!

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

Leadership Types -1

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 – Strategic leaders and Directive leaders. Enjoy!

Strategic Leaders

  • Vision developers & shapers (not vision conceivers & communicators)
  • Shun the limelight
  • Enjoy intellectual challenges, problem-solving, & foreseeing future results
  • Turn compelling ideas into a viable plan of action
  • Painstakingly scrutinize reality
  • Don’t hesitate to ask the hard questions
  • Able to develop creative & complex solutions
  • Give detailed answers
  • Tendency toward perfectionism & burnout
  • Likely to view people’s emotions as something to be exploited than as something to be valued
  • Firm allegiance to truth & efficiency
  • More loyal to the vision than to people
  • Care for people, but mistrust feelings
  • Take too long to arrive at decisions
  • Capable of juggling many conceptual details, but not organizational details
  • Effective at identifying kinds of teams & work groups needed, but not good at recruiting and maintaining them

Directive Leaders

  • Project typical leader image
  • Vision-casters; create energy around the vision
  • Recruiters—enlist people to become part of the solution rather than the problem
  • Catalysts of change
  • Enable people to believe in themselves
  • Effective public speakers & good listeners
  • Make decisions on behalf of a group
  • Driven by instinct rather than facts
  • Can abruptly change their minds
  • Do not avoid making tough calls, though can be slow about it due to lack of clarity or peace
  • Tendency to burn out
  • Self-confidence & courage soothe others during times of high stress or instability
  • Little patience with details of the process
  • Restless, short attention span
  • Favor action over reflection
  • Quick to move on to the next challenge
  • Demand expedience & progress, but don’t find out what’s going on
  • Don’t care for structure; Promote chaos when they attempt to organize people around the vision
  • Supremely confident in themselves
  • Tend to ignore financial realities
  • Want to make things happen now
  • Love the chase

Leadership Quotes

I’m taking a short break from my weekly leadership posts. Here are some leadership quotes that encourage me. Enjoy!

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” ~ John C. Maxwell

“Leadership is the power of one harnessing the power of many.” ~ John C. Maxwell

“Every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results it gets.” ~W. Edward Deming

“What’s really important to being our best is concentration and focus on something that is meaningful to us.” ~ Kouzes and Posner

“Patience and persistence have a magical affect before which difficulties and obstacles vanish.” ~ John Quincy Adams

“They say that when people are dying they look back on life and wish for certain things they had done differently. for example, rarely does anyone say, “I wish I had spent more time at the office. But…” and here come statements about desired and omitted values of life, etc. If we have lived a life that exudes character that others want to emulate we can say, “That was worth it!”

And if we have faithfully demonstrated a Bible centered ministry we will leave behind in the lives of people values and ideas that will live on. We can look at peoples lives that have changed and we will say, “That was worth it!” We will probably look back and see things we could have done better or things we should not have done. But on the whole if character and a Bible centered ministry are there we will be satisfied. We will have experienced ministry that lasts.” Dr. Bobby Clinton

Alignment – 2

A primary part of leading is aligning resources towards our agreed upon missional outcome. Because resources are limited and opportunity is seemingly unlimited, we must say ‘no’ to some things in order to align our limited resources to best opportunity to accomplish our mission. Below are some thoughts from Navigators staff, Paul Stanley on the important topic of alignment – part 2.

To illustrate alignment, let us look at it in several different contexts:

Alignment in a Team:  Alignment would mean that the members of the team are functioning as a whole. Each member would share a common vision and the individual capacities of the members would be aligned with the vision to create what the members truly desired. The members would be motivated to develop their talents so that their contribution would be greater and increase the desired results . The members would learn to work together, and the more they did alignment would increase. When alignment breaks down, the efforts of the members are partially dispersed rather that harmonized. An unaligned team is like the scattered, incoherent light of a light bulb rather than the “coherent” light of a laser.

Peter Senge (The Fifth Discipline) observed that “…in an aligned team, there is commonality of purpose, a shared vision, and understanding of how to complement one another’s efforts. Individuals do not sacrifice their personal interests to the larger team vision; rather, the shared vision becomes an extension of their personal visions. In fact, alignment is the necessary condition before empowering the individual will empower the team.”

When in alignment, all four automobile tires are pointed in the exact same direction and provide a stable, consistent tide to the passengers. The tires complement one another’s’ performance. But, when the tires are not in alignment energy and rubber are lost and the ride is unstable.

Alignment in an Organization: Alignment would be achieved when the people within the organization, the ministries, the structures and systems and organizational processes are in line with the organization’s Vision, Calling and Values. Alignment would be recognized by the degree to which the organization’s Mission, Vision, and Values match the way the people who are part of the organization are living, relating, and ministering.

Gaining alignment in an organization is a leadership function. It is an ongoing task. Alignment is not to be confused with conformity, rather it is encouraging diversity but focusing and aligning it at the same time. Empowering individuals in an unaligned organization creates chaos, dissipates energy, and makes leading difficult, while the opposite is true in one that is well aligned. When we empowering part of an aligned organization we empower the whole.

Alignment is not a new concept for many leaders, but naming it helps us recognize whether we have it or not. In an unpredictable and rapidly changing environment in which we lead and minister, alignment becomes vital for keeping stability and maximizing our individual and group capacity for fulfilling our mission in a lost and struggling world.

Are you aligned?

Alignment – 1

A primary part of leading is aligning resources towards our agreed upon missional outcome. Because resources are limited and opportunity is seemingly unlimited, we must say ‘no’ to some things in order to align our limited resources to best opportunity to accomplish our mission.

Below are some thoughts from Navigators staff, Paul Stanley on the important topic of alignment.

“Building a visionary company requires 1% vision and 99% alignment. When you have superb alignment, a visitor could drop in from outer space  and infer your vision from the operations and activities of the company without ever reading ii on paper or meeting a single senior executive. Creating alignment may be your most important work. “ [from “Building Your Company’s Vision,” by James Collins and Jerry Porras, Harvard Business Review (Sept-Oct 1996)]

Alignment is not a new word in English, but its usage is new in the world of leadership and organization. Normally, “alignment” is used in the military to “bring a formation of soldiers in line” or to line up exactly behind one another. It has a second common usage with those who work with automobile engines to bring the pistons up and down movement into “alignment” with the electrical spark, so they would work together. … be in harmony with one another.

Alignment means that all elements of a whole are lined up with the same point.

When a group, team or organization is in alignment, the result or benefit is that the efforts of the parts are in line with or moving in the same direction or focused on the same goal. The point around which all the parts align themselves must be clear, and in the case of people, must be compelling.

Unity enhances alignment but differs slightly in that alignment focuses on an external point of reference and is active and dynamic. One can have unity while at the same time not be aligned. Unity in diversity is a blessing, but focused diversity (alignment) is strategic.

Next week we’ll look at how to practically bring alignment into our leadership context.

Pay Attention to Morale!

One of my favorite leadership books is Eisenhower’s Crusade in Europe. This is his memoirs on leading the Allies in Europe during WW2 which are full of leadership lessons easily transferred into Kingdom leading. The following compilation on the importance of maintaining high morale is an important reminder today as many a struggling with mental health issues.

FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO HIGH MORALE from Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe

1.         Morale is the greatest single factor in successful warfare.

2.         The individual is the key to success.

3.         Communicate correct information to counteract negative propaganda.

4.         Maintaining the initiative not only keeps the enemy on the defensive, but builds morale.

5.         Success in reaching a goal or series of victories builds morale and esprit de corps.

6.         When the enemy is successfully attacking, calmness, firmness and optimism are essential to win through to victory.

7.         Keep the civilians informed of the progress of the war.

8.         Visit the troops frequently in the field.

9.         Talk to the troops about everything.  Ask them if they have discovered any new trick or gadget to use in fighting.

10.       Mutual confidence, a feeling of partnership, is the essence of esprit de corps.

11.       Take initiative to find out their problems.  Don’t wait for them to come to you.

12.       Men must feel that they are being treated equally and fairly.

13.       Men must know their own accomplishments are understood and appreciated.

14.       Leadership, discipline, technique, as well as numbers, equipment, mobility, supply and maintenance are prerequisite to the existence of morale.

15.       Morale will suffer unless all ranks thoroughly believe that their commanders are concerned first and always with the welfare of the troops who do the fighting.

16.       Provide recreation and furlough time.  Veterans like to return to their own unit.  Relieve units from front-line duty periodically.

17.       Higher commanders devote every minute of their time to tactics, logistics, and morale.

Fearful?

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:4-7 ESV

Kingdom leaders will often have access to a lot of information that those they lead do not. Because of our strategic role, we have to be looking forward to the horizon and seeking to discern what’s coming that will impact our mission sooner or later? This forward look for potential threats can lead to a reactive, fear-based leadership rather than a proactive, faith-based leadership.

In the passage above Jesus reminds us (His friends) that it is a matter of perspective that can help us deal with our fears. His reminder is that physical death is not something to fear, for after one dies there is nothing more that can be done to us. For believers in Christ, death is a promotion! Rather, we should fear God for He is the one who holds our eternal destiny, not our current temporal existence that ends with our last breath.

And then Jesus brings perspective. He contrasts the fate of a small bird sold for a very cheap price to our own fate. Those seemingly insignificant small birds are not forgotten by God. Neither will we be forgotten by Him, for we are much more valuable than birds! We are so valuable and He is so intimately acquainted with us that He regularly counts the number of hairs on our head!

What fears are you seeing on your leadership horizon that keep you awake at night? What fears are distracting you from your focus on Christ and His promises? What threats are you aware of that cause your neck muscles to tense, your stomach to churn, and your blood pressure to rise?

The reality of the Lordship of Jesus Christ is the answer to all our fears. He is the Alpha and Omega. He reigns over all of His creation. Nothing is too hard for Him. Submit your fears to Him and lead out in faith, not fear!

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34 ESV

What’s Your Speaking Fee?

Kingdom leaders are often given invitations to teach and preach the Word of God to others. This is a humbling and sobering responsibility. “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God…” 1 Peter 4:11 NIV

There may come invitations to speak to groups outside of your normal ministry audience. How do you process those invitations? How do you respond to the question about speaking fees? Below are some guidelines that have helped me over the years regarding speaking invitations.

  1. Receive the invitation graciously and with thankfulness. Respond promptly so the event planner knows if they need to keep looking for another speaker.
  2. If you already have another commitment, say ‘no’ graciously and if desired, suggest another speaker for the event.
  3. Never accept or reject an invitation to minister the Word of God to others based upon the size of the audience or the amount of the honorarium.
  4. If choosing between different invitations on the same dates, select based upon most alignment with your personal mission statement.
  5. When asked whether you have a ‘speaking fee’ here is how I respond.
    • “I would hope that you will be able to pay for my travel expenses (flights, rental car, personal car mileage, meals, lodging).”
    • “Beyond these expenses I don’t charge a fee to speaking. Whatever your event budget allows is fine. All honorariums are gratefully accepted.”
  6. Because I don’t make a living from my speaking ministry, all income from this is ‘extra’ income. Our donor base generously supports our personal ministry and should I accept additional speaking engagements outside of our regular ministry responsibilities, any income generated is extra.
  7. Should you be making a living from your speaking and writing (i.e. you are an author and are invited to speak re your book contents), then it seems a speaking fee could be appropriate. Just be sure that the amount charged for speaking is appropriate for the audience. Religious non-profits don’t have the same budgets as corporate enterprises.
  8. Entrust your provision and reward to the Lord. He will provide for you and your family whether you have a ‘speaking fee’ or not.

Remember the lesson from the leadership of Nehemiah who entrusted himself to the Lord –

But the earlier governors–those preceding me–placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. … I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people. Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people. Nehemiah 5:15, 18-19 NIV

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