Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “leader development”

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?

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!!!

We Left All

Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” Luke 18:28 NIV

A very wealthy man had just walked away from Jesus’ invitation to follow Him. He went away sad for he was very wealthy. Jesus lamented about how difficult it is for those with much to enter the Kingdom of God. This comment stirred Peter’s response. “We have left everything…” he said.

Note that Jesus did not correct Peter’s statement about having left everything, for they certainly had. For the previous two years the Twelve had left their professions to be trained as apostles who would carry the leadership of the movement Jesus started. They had left family, friends, spouses (at least we know Peter was married), physical security, and all that was familiar to their previous lifestyle to be His disciples. Yes, they had left all.

But contrast this with what Jesus instructs them about provision on the evening of the Last Supper. In Luke 22:35-36 we read, “Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Wait! What? Why would Jesus affirm “leaving all” in one context and now He instructs them to get your ‘stuff’ together and go well provisioned?

With the rich young ruler it was not a matter of how much ‘stuff’ he had. Rather it was his heart’s attitude about his ‘stuff.’ His wealth has a central position in his heart and Jesus pointed this out by challenging him to leave it all and follow Him. The Twelve had previously demonstrated that Jesus was central in their hearts (Judas being the exception). Thus, they were instructed to gather, not divest. It was a heart issue, not a materials issue.

As Kingdom leaders we must continually self-examine our heart’s relationship to our ‘stuff.’ It’s easy to fall in love with your ‘stuff’ and move Jesus from His rightful spot on the throne of our life to the margin. How’s your heart today? What is the Holy Spirit saying to you about your relationship to your ‘stuff’?

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.

Divided Loyalty

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. Luke 16:13-15 NIV

Jesus very pointedly addresses a core issue for the Pharisees. Note that Jesus points out their heart issue – they loved money. The accumulation of personal wealth was a high value for them. No doubt there were some who questioned this value, perhaps among the Pharisees themselves. But they justified their choices and behavior, making excuses and giving reasons that on the surface sounded plausible.

This value and behavior had become commonplace among the Pharisees, for Luke notes that they as a group all loved money. This love of money was seen by others around them, but they had become blinded to this conflict of interest. For Jesus points out that their root issue was not one of behavior or lifestyle, but rather one of the heart. They had become lovers of money instead of lovers of God.

Jesus rebukes their acceptance of loving money by saying that no one can serve two Masters. You cannot have a divided loyalty. Loving God and serving Him is not compatible with loving money and serving the accumulation of wealth.

Few Kingdom leaders wake up one day and decide to love money instead of loving God. Rather, it is a slow shift in values and heart direction, incrementally drawing us away from our first love. Little choices made daily over a long time frame gradually allows new values to replace old. We compare our choices and lifestyles with others, focusing only on those that support our own values while ignoring those who live sacrificial, self-denying lives. We justify ourselves saying, “Well, no need to get too radical here.”

Our hearts speak through our value-driven choices and resulting behaviors. What are you modeling for those you lead and for the lost world that is looking for authentic faith? How’s your heart? What do you really love in this life? Or should we say, “Who do you love?”

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

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