Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “leadership gift”

Learning from Your Mistakes

King David had a great idea…let’s bring the ark of God back to Jerusalem to the place it rightfully belonged.  So, he consulted with his leadership and they all agreed that this was a wonderful idea.

They got a new ox cart (this certainly would be God-honoring) to carry the ark and a great procession was planned to bring the ark to its new home.  Things went well until the oxen stumbled and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark and God struck him dead.  This tended to throw a cloud of gloom over the entire event and David decided to end this procession, being frustrated with God his failure to accomplish his plan (see 1 Chronicles 13).

Sometime later David is now well established as king in Jerusalem and he once again remembers that the ark of God is residing in a tent outside of Jerusalem.  With this idea in mind, he again confers with his leaders, but note the difference.  He acknowledges that previously that had forgotten to ‘inquire of the Lord’ as to their plans.  This time they realize that the ark is to be carried only by the Levites and that it is to be carried with poles inserted along the sides.  This time the procession goes to completion with great rejoicing (see 1 Chronicles 15).

David had learned from his previous mistake.  He acknowledges that they did not consult the Lord on their prior attempt and they ended in failure.  As leaders we all make mistakes, just like David.  The key question is do we learn from them?  Do we adjust and continue to move ahead?  Do we own our mistakes?

How about you?  Made any mistakes recently?  Welcome to humanity!  Now, what are you learning from them?

J.O. Sanders

J.O. Sanders spoke to The Navigators’ Indonesian staff at our annual conference in September 1986 in Central Java.  I had the privilege of accompanying him afterwards across Java to insure that he arrived at his next destination in good order.  This time at the conference and the personal time with him afterwards was one of the highlights of my entire 11 years in Indonesia.

Here are some of the notes I gathered as a result of that time together:

  1. You must pay for a spiritual ministry.  It is paid for a little at a time throughout life.  When you stop paying, the ministry stops.
  2. Leadership trials all leaders face:  appetite, avarice (desire for things), and ambition
  3. God prepares the ministry for the person and the person for the ministry.
  4. The Lord does not always explain Himself.    John 13:7
  5. The word “leader” is only used 6x’s in New Testament.
  6. To see if you are a leader check and see who is following.
  7. Spirituality alone does not make a good leader.
  8. A leader leads in vision and faith.  Joshua got the vision for Jericho, but had to communicate the vision and faith to the people of Israel.
  9. Leaders set the tone by their example.
  10. Watch your life and doctrine closely – notice the order!   1 Timothy 4:11-16
  11. Maturity is the fullness of Christ.    Ephesians 4:13
  12. Becoming mature (Matthew 5:48) as the Father is ‘perfect’ is used in a relative sense.  That is, we are to be mature for our stage of spiritual growth, not mature in an absolute sense.
  13. We are as close to God as we choose to be.     Exodus 33:13,17
  14. Maturity is measured by the fruit of the Spirit, not the gifts of the Spirit.
  15. Gifts can be counterfeited, but fruit can’t.
  16. Tests of a Person’s Maturity
  • Seeks the glory of God more than their own glory or advancement
  • Prefer holiness instead of happiness
  • Desire solid food, not milk from the Word
  • Prefer serving others rather than being served
  • Prefer giving rather than receiving
  • Will be fruitful rather than barren (fruitful in character and in service)
  • Will be joyous rather than gloomy
  • Will accept rather than refuse the discipline of God
  • Will accept responsibility in the service of God

Use the Word!

I can remember going to the house of my mentor as a young staff, lifting up the phone cradle (now you know this is a dated reference), and seeing these words taped onto the phone base: “Use the Word!”

As I reflect on the numerous phone calls with this person over the years that reminder has become a lifestyle – not only for him but also for me.  The ministry of the Word of God to me and others was never an afterthought or a superfluous appendix to our conversations.  Rather, it was an integral, woven, natural part of our friendship.  We shared the Word with each other and integrated it into our life and ministry together.

The following is some more elaboration a Kingdom leader’s ministry of the Word.

  • People that have Word gifts (a designation from Dr. Bobby Clinton – teaching, exhortation, prophecy, etc.) have the ability to use the Word in such a way that it impacts people strongly.  Though each uses the Word in a slightly different way, the impact upon people is strongly evident.  It is evident to me, just from watching how people listen when gifted people speak, who has these gifts and who has developed their gifts.

Regardless of your giftedness, all leaders are communicators and primary communicators of the mission and vision.  Be intentional about developing your communication skills, especially your ministry of the Word!

  • We all need to develop our giftedness for maximum impact for Christ.  We should look to take opportunities to minister the Word to various audiences on various topics.  Besides gaining much experience, always ask someone to critique your ministry of the Word at any opportunity.  Even young people can be valuable sources of feedback, if you limit and focus their critique.  For example, ask them to give you feedback on the introduction only – did it get their attention, was it clear where you wanted to go in the message, how was your appearance, diction, word choice, any weird mannerisms, etc.  Every time you speak try and get better in one particular area.
  • The ministry of the Word can take other forms besides speaking – writing is another way to use Word gifts.  Why not try and write some materials.  Start a blog, develop a bible study, pamphlet, or write an article on a topic you are excited about and share it.
  • Bring the Word to bear whenever you are leading:  1-2-1 times, team meetings, phone conversations, etc.  You will see God blessing your ministry.  It is the Word that the Sower sows that produces much fruit in its season.
  • In addition to more experience and critique, some purposeful development in this area can be a help.  Here are some ideas:  find someone who is a gifted communicator and ask them for some tips or ask them to train you if you have access to them long term; when you’re in meetings pick the brains of the speaker on how they minister the Word; read books on preaching, communication, public speaking, or teaching; sign up for a homiletics course at your local bible college or seminary; take the local homiletics professor in a seminary to lunch and pick their brain for ideas and resources.
  • Pray and ask God to use you with power as you minister the Word.  I read the biography of D.L. Moody some time ago and noted that he prayed for power as he ministered the Word.  Suddenly his ministry changed and God enabled him to speak in such a way as never before.  You can do the same.
  • Charles Spurgeon said, “Set yourself on fire and people will come and watch you burn.”  You will have to saturate your life with the Word so that it ‘oozes out your pores’ as you lead.  This takes a disciplined effort to get time alone with God and His Word.  It will not be easy and others will have no idea of the price you pay to get deep in the Word.  They will only be blessed by your ministry as you draw from the deep well you dig in the Word.  Jesus sees and He will reward.

Finally, remember Mike Treneer’s exhortation to us all:  Lead from the Word and into the Word!  May you sow the Good Seed as you lead!

Are Leaders Born or Made?

One of the common questions asked regarding leadership is this, “Are leaders born or made?”  And the answer is, “Yes!”  Here’s my expanded answer to this challenging question — The 3 B’s of Making Leaders!

Born  –   Some people are hard-wired with God-given temperaments, intellects, and natural abilities that will give them the ability to influence others more easily as leaders.  While this God-given ability does allow for easier influence, it does not necessarily mean that the quality of their leadership is better than others who are not so naturally endowed.  These “natural leaders” will also need to grow in their leadership skills in order to utilize these natural strengths to their optimum.

Born Again  –  Some followers of Christ have the God-given spiritual gift of leadership.  In Romans 12:6-8 we have Paul listing several of the spiritual gifts given for serving others in the Body of Christ.  He says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  ‎ If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;  ‎ if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

It is my understanding that all believers in Christ are given at least one spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit.  These gifts are given to us that we might serve others (1 Peter 4:10).  Those ‘gifted leaders’ who have the spiritual gift of leadership will have ability and capacity to lead in other ways than those not gifted will.  But these ‘gifted leaders’  also must develop this leadership gift through careful attention to becoming the best leader they can be for Jesus’ sake.  Note Paul’s reminder to Timothy, ” For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands ” (2 Timothy 1:6).

Built  –  There are certain leadership competencies or skills that can be learned and developed by everyone.  Through practice, feedback, and application everyone can learn to lead to some extent.  Husbands can learn to lead their families, parents can learn to lead their children, and employers can learn to lead their employees.  Though all can learn to lead, the quality of one’s leadership will depend upon our attention to this development.  When compared with others who are the natural or gifted leaders one’s leadership capacity may be less or one may have to work harder to grow in leadership competencies, but you can learn to lead.  In fact, your leadership may surpass those natural or gifted leaders who do not develop themselves.

So….are leaders born or made?  The answer is, “Yes!”  Some are born, some are born again, and some are built!  Are you taking your development as a leader seriously?  Are you seeking to “fan it into a flame?”

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