Tag Archive | Keys to Effective Leadership




A man is going nowhere as long as he lives in the realm of the conditional. His vocabulary will be full of words like “if,” “provided” “in case,” “if so,” “unless,” “in the event of’ until someone may well want to stop and ask, “Sir, is God dead?”

Why do you say, If God can use me.” Didn’t God use a rod, a jaw-bone, five small stones, a handful of oil and a little meal, five barley loaves and two small fishes?

A young preacher, now wonderfully used of God, was having it rough a few years ago. The church he was in was small, nothing exciting was happening, and the thought struck him, “If I could just change churches.”

Attending a pastor’s conference some months Later, he approached the pastor he most respected. “Dr. – my church is not going so well, and I don’t think I’II ever be able to get those people excited. If you happen to hear of some church in another state which needs a pastor, you might keep me in mind.”

Waiting anxiously to hear, “Sure I will, I’ll give you a great recommendation,” he received the surprise of his life. The highly successful pastor pushed a long finger right toward his face and said “Let me tell you something, young preacher, and don’t you ever forget it. You’ll never be happy anywhere until you get happy where you are!”

The young preacher went back to his small, struggling church field, spent a night in prayer on his knees, and dedicated himself to reach the unsaved of that town, and from that moment on God mightily blessed his ministry.

The believer must not allow anything to keep him from God’s intended plan of success. He must at all costs be the person God wants him to be, and achieve the goals God wants him to achieve. God’s plan for his life must not be sidestepped, for God’s plan alone will bring him maximum happiness. No new geographical location will bring it to pass.

Caution-if anything can keep you from achieving the goals God has for you, it is one word-If.

Twentieth-Century Success-Stoppers
The most prevalent word to prevent us from thinking positively-the most prevalent word to damage our effectiveness in being what God wants us to be and achieving what God wants us
to achieve is the word IF.

For a person to claim to be rightly related to the Lord and not allow God to achieve through him is tragic indeed. Yet most of us can readily locate ourselves in the following list:

If I only had time to read my Bible . . .

If I had more power . . .

If I was healthy like he is . . .

If there was something they would ask me to do . . .

If my work didn’t make me so tired . . .

If only I had the energy those young people have . . ,

If our church wasn’t like it is . . .

If I were talented . . .

If those other Christians I know would get on the ball .

If my job wasn’t so demanding . . .

If my kids would read that Bible and practice it . . .

If I made the money he does . . .

If I could memorize those promises . . .

If I had a better pastor . . .

If God did it like that in our day . . .

If my church had the prospects that other church has ,

If I didn’t live next door to them . . .

If my husband (wife) loved God more . . .

If I could forgive myself . . .

If I didn’t have to go to work so early . . .

If they bragged on me like they brag on him . . .

If only I could have lived when Jesus did . . .

If God didn’t have it in for me . . .

If I didn’t have to live with my past . . .

If my parents could just understand me . . .

If they ever elect me as a deacon . . .

If my boss didn’t have it in for Christians . . .

If I had the training and education he had . . .

If I could speak like the preacher speaks . . .

If I had not made that wrong move . . .

If I could have had an easier time growing up . . .

If we ever get to move to a better house . . .

If I had faith like that . . .

If I just knew what to say . . .

If someone would have taught me how to witness when I was young . . .

One common bond unites all those excuses. The blame for nonaction is elsewhere-never where it belongs.

How many of the twentieth-century success-stopper statements have you used?

The Most Destructive Word

“If’ is the word of delay. No inner voice need be totally negative. No one needs to tell us we “cannot” do a task. Enough delay will come through slight implication. “Fine, if you can do it,” a voice seems to say. Hearing that we don’t even attempt.

We are somewhat like the dentist who was bent over working on his patient. The patient in the chair cried “Here, Doc, you haven’t pulled the right tooth! ” The dentist replied calmly, “I know it, my good man, but I’m coming to it.”

“If ‘ is the word of despair. Delay an action once, and the chances of getting it done diminish. Delay it several times and we may never do it. When God impresses a task upon the mind, and we surrender to some “if, we will be frustrated and in despair.

“If’ destroys incentive, wrecks confidence, assassinates character, robs us of God-given dreams, ruins our adventuresome spirit. An unknown author cautioned:

On the plains of hesitation, Lie the bleached bones of thousands, Who, on the very threshold of victory, Sat down to rest, And while resting, died.

Great Men Not Exempt
One might suspect that great men would be exempt from “if” trouble. Not so. The great servants of God, though plagued with the problem, move beyond it by trusting the Lord’s power to be bigger than the problem. (See Eph. 3:20.)

If I were Satan, this is the one word I would seek to lodge in the minds of people more than any other, and my major emphasis would be to place it in the minds of God’s sharpest servants. The ones most plagued with “ifs” would be the ones God would otherwise most likely use to achieve.

Think how that one word must have plagued the prophets. They lived in ancient days, but Satan was alive and well on planet Earth then as now. I can imagine . . .

Elijah.- Shortly after his greatest victory, Elijah leaves Mt. Carmel where the men of Baal have been defeated. He heads for Southern Judah, arrives there extremely tired after running a good part of the way, and he says to himself, “I can win any battle except the battle over Jezebel. If Queen Jezebel had never been born. God, I’m scared. She has her soldiers out to kill me. God let me die. ‘

Elisha.- The same man who has prayed for a double portion of the spirit of Elijah has received it, but is skeptical as God’s power in his life is yet untested. Scared to death, just as he was about to perform his first miracle, he no doubt thought, “If only Elijah were alive.”

Hosea.- God had just shared a tough assignment. “Lord,” he must have prayed, “Let me off the hook this time. You know the situation I have at home. I just can’t do anything for you. I could and I would be the man you want me to be, if only I had a wife who was faithful to me.”

Amos.- Called to be a prophet while serving in his vocation of gathering sycamore fruit, he pleads with God, “I would be glad to if only I had a better education.” Isaiah.- God asks, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” The mind of Isaiah receives the temptation to reply, “You know you can always count on me, God, but the other day King Uzziah died. Now the whole nation may fall apart. We’re all running a bit scared. But if our national affairs were in better shape . . .”

Ezekiel.- The brilliant young Jew, captured in Israel, held captive in Babylon has just been commanded by God to write a book. “I would not mind writing for you, Lord, if I was back in Jerusalem. Talk to me seventy years from now, and if we get out of this place, and I’m back home . . .”

Jeremiah.- He is being told by God he must preach the truth, even though the people will not appreciate the news of their coming judgment and captivity. For hours he wrestles with the thought, “I know what I better do. I’II strike a deal with God. I’II tell him that I’II do it provided he keeps me out of prison. But if I get into trouble and wind up in prison, I’m through listening to God.

Of course the prophets had thoughts like that! They were human, weren’t they? Maybe not those same thoughts, but every way they turned they faced ifs. They became God’s giants by refusing to believe those negative thoughts. When God speaks, calls, and assigns, a negative thought must not be tolerated.

Adoniram Judson, early missionary to Burma, faced seven unbelievably tough years. Number of converts-none. With a touch of sarcasm a “friend” asked “What do you think the future holds for your work in Burma?” Judson replied, “The future is as bright as the promises of God!”

“If’s” of an Apostle

Since Paul was possibly the greatest Christian since the time of Jesus, one might assume he had no “ifs to overcome. Who said’?

The agnostic “if’ was probably Satan’s first game with Paul. Atheism doubts with authority but agnosticism doubts by always coming up with more questions. Before the Damascus Road experience, the question marks of agnosticism kept his brain working overtime. “Relax, Paul, you’ve got a religion. You’re a Hebrew of the Hebrews. If Jesus was for real, what would he do
for someone with as much religion as you have?”

The comparison “if’ may have been the second thought to get him. “I could never be like Stephen-he was something else. Why, he must have been the greatest Christian there ever was”
God had no desire for Paul to be like Stephen, or Stephen like Paul! God wanted Paul to be Paul, but a totally yielded Paul.

The appearance “if” was no doubt his biggest hang-up. There was nothing suave about Paul. His face may have been so common he could not stand himself. Second Corinthians 10:10 (Godspeed) has Paul quoting back to the Corinthian people the exact crude words they had been saying about him. They had said, “His personal appearance is insignificant and as a speaker he amounts to nothing. ” The Amplified Translation has the Corinthians’ comment, “His personality and bodily presence are weak, and his speech and delivery are utterly contemptible of no account!”

Paul could not fake it. Night and day he was tempted to be nervous about his weakness. But he believed God could use even the uncommonly common face. It was a case of, “Here I am, God. If you can use me, great. It’s up to you. I’m not much, in fact, I’m not anything, but maybe that way you will get all the credit for what’s done through my life. Have a go at it, God!”

The ability “if” was the other half of the Corinthian slur. “As a speaker he amounts to nothing!” The sequence of events may have been -(1) the first night he heard their remark he wept; (2) the thought came that God could not use him because of his lack of ability; (3) he remembered that God had all power; (4) he realized it was not Paul but “Christ in Paul” which the world desperately needed to see; (5) he determined anew to let Christ use him in whatever way he could; and (6) what God thought about him was the important thing, not what somebody said.

It was A.B. 58 when he wrote 2 Corinthians and only two years later (A.B. 60) he was writing to the Colossians saying, “Christ worketh in me mightily” (Col. 1:29). Corinth’s comments didn’t stop Paul

Thinking Straight

If . . . if . . . if-ad infinitum. Satan has one “if” to cause us to doubt God, another to cause us to doubt God’s ability, another to destroy any thought that God could use weak vessels, and on and on it goes.

When a believer is Spirit-filled, however, new thoughts should engulf his brain:

(1) Jesus Christ lives in me.

(2) Jesus, with all the talent and ability he has-lives in me.

(3) Jesus, alive with power, indwells my life through the Holy Spirit.

(4) Jesus has always chosen to do great accomplishments through human vessels, provided they are fit for the Master’s use -(2 Tim. 2: 15-23).

(5) Jesus can accomplish through me provided I will be clean, forgiven, usable; filled with his fullness; ask him, allow him, and expect him to work through me.

One sentence turned Dwight L. Moody on. A speaker said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with one life totally yielded to Jesus Christ.” Terrible in speech, poor in grammar, but with a heart hungry to be used, Moody said to himself, “By the grace of God I’II be that man. ”

Summary Questions

1. Why wait until all “ifs” are removed? At least one “if’ plagues every person. The greatest Christian you know-or the most handsome-or the most talented-or the greatest achiever-has some feature about himself he would love to see changed. But he relies on God’s overcoming grace.

2. Why should the achiever always be someone else? God has a wonderful plan for your life.

3. Why should the one little word “if” be allowed to destroy the motivation the Holy Spirit has implanted within your life?


Real motivation comes from a man knowing where he’s going and how he’s going to get there. You can see it in a man’s eyes when he knows where he’s going.

-W.O. “Bill” Menefee Home Care International

As he thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

mo’ti-vate (mo’ti-vat), v.t. To provide with a motive; to impel; incite. mo’tive (mo’tiv), n. [OF. motif, fr. ML. motivus moving, fr. L. movere, motum, to move] 1. That within the individual, rather
than without, which incites him to motion; any idea, need emotion, or organic state that prompts to an action. Webster is sharing several basic truths:

(1) Man frequently needs an outside force to move him (implied).

(2) The force which acts from without is not real motivation. It will last for awhile but something else must take over.

(3) Real motivation needs to come from within.

(4) Action is the end result of motivation, the goal sought for.

Necessity for Right Kind of Motivation
Spencer Goodreds tells of an old gentleman riding on the ocean liner. When a storm blew up at sea a young woman, leaning against the ship s rail, lost her balance and was thrown overboard. Immediately another figure plunged into the waves beside her and held her up until a life-boat rescued them. To everyone’s astonishment the hero was the oldest man on the voyage-an octogenarian. That evening he was given a party in honor of his bravery. “Speech! Speech!” the other passengers cried.

The old gentleman rose slowly and looked around at the enthusiastic gathering. “There’s just one thing I’d like to know,” he said testily. “Who pushed me?”

It should not be too difficult for the intelligent man to understand why he needs to be acted upon. Both psychology and Scripture agree man needs a push and a pusher.

Psychology (the science of human and animal behavior) reminds us of the negative factors fixed within us, stored away somewhere within the twelve billion cells of the brain. Man has been taught “you can’t,” “you must not,” and “someone else can do it better than you,” until something of the basic push God implanted within has departed. This is not to say that all of the negatives we were taught while young have been necessarily bad. In fact, some of them have been startlingly good. But now man needs a Bible-textbook direction as to what is good for him and what is not.

The average parent teaches in four ways-by his habits (which are not always good), by his words (not always wholesome), by his temperament (sometimes explosive), and by the whim of the moment!

“Friends” have done their share of feeding false information into the brain also. Boyce Evans is a traveling evangelist. I heard Boyce speak on the subject, “Why Worry?” The message stressed proper mental attitude and suggested, “Man is primarily the sum total of his thoughts.” He shared an illustration from his seminary days.

Three ministerial students decided to use a friend as a guinea Pig to test whether a man’s physical makeup could be changed by his mental attitude. Their “victim” pastored a small country church each weekend and they set their trap when he returned to school at the start of the week.

“Didn’t you sleep well last night?” the first friend asked, as the victim came whistling up the walk.

“Sure,” he replied, and went on in.

A second man was stationed at the turn of the stairs. He started walking up the stairs with the pastor, and asked, “Bob, are you having trouble in your church?” Bob replied, “Well, I don’t think so! At least not much.”

The third man was stationed in the rear of the classroom. When Bob came in and took his seat, the third friend came over and said “Friend, I am not a psychiatrist, but I can listen and if there is something you need to talk about, I would be glad to listen and try to help.”

A bit of gloom settled over the victim s face. He answered, “Thank you, but I believe I can work it out.” About forty-five minutes later he left class, whispering to one of the friends, “I’m going home. I’m sick.”

Man is going to be motivated-the only question is how.

Kinds of Motivation

That which seeks to motivate from without is not real, lasting motivation.

Psychology tells us that man has basic organic drives-drives which must be satisfied. Drives such as hunger and thirst, activity, rest, sex, physical labor, the body craving for a certain temperature range, all fall into this physiological category.

Self-satisfaction of these drives is important and if God instilled these drives, he apparently intended they would find their outlet. But in every case he either built in saturation points or else gave specific governing rules. It is interesting that if there was not a Bible (book with specific direction as to how to act and what to do) man would have to invent one. So God gave us one-with wisdom straight from the storehouse of his knowledge-and all for our good.

Aside from the physiological needs, man also has psychological needs, He longs for accomplishment of tasks and achievement of goals. Fundamental to his makeup is a desire to achieve. Even the infant in the crib expresses satisfaction when he has achieved

At this point we need to be reminded that behavior is caused. “A stimulus leads to some sort of inter-action with an organism which is followed by behavior that we call a response. This response is also fed back to the organism as a stimulus.”

The S-0-R (stimulus-organism-response) idea continually sends us searching for the right stimulus to motivate man. Consider a business corporation seeking to motivate an employee. What approach would be used?

To motivate man, a corporation invariably uses fear. Industry must lay down the rules of a job and rules invariably imply fear! A job description is placed in a man’s hand. He is told, “This is the job to be done.” The implication is that if the job assignment is not met, the person is fired. This type of reality therapy has him “living under the hammer.” He works, he gives the desired response, but as time goes on something additional is needed.

Industry may also stimulate the man through hope of reward.-Reward (long term benefits, salary raise, or both) is great-for awhile. Let a blue Monday come, when the employee is coming apart at the seams, and the hope of reward, whether given at age sixty-five or in tomorrow’s paycheck, seems to make no difference. He slows down in his work and unless something additional happens, may well walk off the job-unmotivated.

Real motivation is motivation of the spirit. When a man is motivated (moved toward action) from within, he will far surpass any achievements he would otherwise have accomplished. Which brings us back exactly to what Mr. Webster was saying in his definitions. Prompting toward an action needs to work from the inside out.

Paul J. Meyer, President of Success Motivation Institute, states; “No matter who you are or what your age may be, if you want to achieve permanent, sustaining success, the motivation that will drive you toward that goal must come from within. It must be personal, deep-rooted and a part of your inner-most thoughts. All other motivation, the excitement of a crowd the stimulation of a pep-talk, the exhilaration of a passing circumstance is external and temporary. It will not last.”

Henry Ward Beecher suggested, “God made man to go by motives and he will not go without them, anymore than a boat without steam, or a balloon without gas.” Mack Douglas adds, “Find what motivates men and we can touch the button, we can turn the key that makes men achieve miracles.”

Back to the example of the factory worker. When the employer shared the job description and suggested they would be thrilled to have him as an employee, but only so long as he carried out the requirements, he was using motivation by fear. “Was it wrong for him to do it?” Not at all. Some would call it fear motivation, but an even better definition would be fact motivation. He would do the job, or he would be fired, and sharing the truth is a help, not a hindrance. The employee should forever be grateful the facts were shared (and the implications of dismissal) at the time of hiring-rather than not know about his job expectations and discover them later after he was fired.

Fear motivation in relation to accomplishment is not wrong, provided it is based on fact.

Is there anything wrong with reward motivation? Of course not. Again the same requirement must be met-the hope of reward must be based on fact. Reward motivation (offer of raise in salary or advancement in position) is absolutely wrong, even if it gets more work out of the man, if the employer cannot produce the reward.

Motivation of the spirit (attitude motivation) is, however, the best kind of motivation and cannot be surpassed by any other. S-0-R (stimulation-organism-response) has been set in motion but this time the response is a response from love. There is a “want-to” changed on the inside. A man is motivated to work harder, achieve more, because his heart is in the company! And what employer isn’t searching for that in his workers!

“How do you change a man on the inside?” becomes the $64,000 question. What kind of power can remake man? What is there that causes him to Love the assembly line in spite of the fact it is boring and repetitious? Only a motivation of the spirit. When that has happened a man is impelled to respond whether or not circumstances are favorable.

Motivation by Application of the Bible

The secret to real motivation has been in the Bible for centuries. Not only does the Bible teach that man must be spurred to action from the inside, but God even sends his Holy Spirit to dwell within and provide the motivation.

The same is true whether we speak of the physiological needs or the psychological.

God’s help in the physiological area is twofold: first, he lays down laws which make for man’s ultimate happiness; second, he thrusts his power within, enabling man to be able to keep those laws.

In the psychological area, the story of motivation is the same. As the power of God resides in the life through the Holy Spirit, man is motivated to accomplishment. The one who daily reads God’s Word, and daily applies the “Three C’s” (see chap. 15) discovers fantastic inner motivation.

In summary, the Bible attempts to direct man in some stunning principles of achievement. Too often we have considered that the Bible knew nothing about success and accomplishment of goals. When, in fact, if we heed its commands, we will discover every command was for a purpose.

Principles of Achievement

1. Man is meant to achieve, Immediately after creation, man was told to be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth, and subdue it.

2. Man must be motivated to achieve. Satan has many ways of implanting negatives in the mind, and the path of least resistance is the most well-trodden path.

3. Inner change is the beginning of the motivation process. Jesus designed the inner change idea as being converted and becoming as little children” and as “being born again.” Paul said to the Corinthians, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.” Salvation is when we are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph. 2: 10).

4. Motivation must be through daily repetition, feeding the brain with habits, thought patterns, and desires. “Pray without ceasing” and “rejoice in the Lord always” are not idle commands. The psalmist and Daniel each had daily habits of prayer, men in Berea searched the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11), and the disciples went about sharing Christ with others on a daily basis (Acts 5: 42). Repetition is essential in motivation.

5. Goal-setting is the necessary pointer to keep man moving in the right direction. From the time Jesus began his public ministry he seemed to have his goals set-he would please God, defeat the devil, and die for the sins of man. Six months prior to Calvary, he stated that he “must go into Jerusalem, and suffer, . . . and be killed, and be raised the third day” (Matt. 16:21). Earlier he had stated that the goal of his ministry was “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

6. Believe in God’s power to accomplish through you is a must. Napoleon Hill said, “Whatever the mind of man can believe, it can achieve.” Jesus said, “with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:2@) and again, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23).


I am filled with comfort I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

The Apostle Paul 2 Corinthians 7:4

There wouldn’t be a brook without rocks. -S. M. Lockridge

A cartoon showed a man and a woman at a counter marked “Educational Toys.” A clerk was showing them a box filled with odd-shaped fragments. “It’s designed to prepare children for today’s complex world. No matter how they put it together, it doesn’t come out right.”

Right at this point someone might plead, “Is this book going to be like some others I’ve read? Don’t just talk about the good. What about my suffering? Nothing in life s puzzle makes sense to me due to my difficulties. Where does that fit in?”

“You see, I can believe God is interested in my success when my definition fits his. I can believe he is interested in helping me achieve goals he helps me set. But why my pain? I’m his!”

“If God wants me to live on the mountaintop, to possess an inner thrill and radiance, to be surrounded by joy and peace, then I should have no suffering. Right?”


Suffering definitely relates to success and motivation. But not in the way the average man thinks.

Life Without Pain?

If you could have one wish, what would it be? High on the list of answers received to such a question would be, “Just give me life without pain.” You wouldn’t want that!

Little Beverly Smith, born in Akron, Ohio, almost never cried. She never cried when she fell down; she never cried when she bumped her head she didn’t even cry when she burned her hand on a hot stove. She cried only when she was hungry or angry.

The doctors soon discovered that she had a defect in the central nervous system for which no cure is known. She could not feel pain. The doctors told the mother she must watch Beverly constantly; the baby might break a bone and continue using it until it could not be set properly; she might develop appendicitis without nature’s usual warning of pain. Spanking her to make her more careful about hot stoves and knives would do her no good; she wouldn’t feel it. Life without pain would be perpetually dangerous

And up until now, you’ve no reason to expect you’ll ever have life without pain. Only the abnormal never hurt.

Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” That’s not the same as saying that you might have it. You positively shall. Tribulation, trouble, pain, and perplexity is a very normal part of life.

Of all people, Christians are certainly not exempt. If any person came to Christ believing life would automatically be a bed of roses, he received quite a surprise! Years ago, one of the professors at the Seminary used to tell his young ministerial students, “Boys, be kind to everybody. Everybody’s got problems.”

A study of the life of the apostle Paul would indicate that he had more than most anyone! Second Corinthians 11:23-27 reveals that on different occasions he was stoned, beaten with rods, shipwrecked, and one time left for dead! Instead of life being easy, life was tough. He further said he had been “in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness.” If God meant to exempt Christians from problems, he forgot to tell Paul about it!

A life without pain is apparently not God’s intention.

Joy in Spite of Circumstances

Furthermore, the Christian is commanded to be joyful. Instead of joy ceasing when trouble begins, joy is commanded in the midst of and in spite of suffering.

Jesus seemed to begin the idea of New Testament times, As a part of his Sermon on the Mount, he proposed, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad” (Matt. 5: 11-12). In the last week before the cross, Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer” (John 16:33).

From a Philippian jail cell, God inspired Paul to write, sharing not despondency, but thrill. “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord” (Phil. 3: 1). “Rejoice in the Lord away: and again I say,  Rejoice” (4:4).

In other writings, the same theme is echoed. The situation or circumstance surrounding the writing seemed to make no difference-the command was still the same. “Rejoice evermore” (1 Thess. 5: 16). “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (v. 18). “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering” (Gal. 5:22).

John may seem even more shocking on the idea of suffering than Paul, particularly when the background is studied. Scholars tell us he did his writing about A.D. 95 when the persecutions of Emperor Domitian were in full swing. History reveals that by then approximately fifty percent of the population of the Roman empire were slaves. Slaves in the Roman world were not considered people (personaoe) but things (res). And to an audience in which at least 50 percent were slaves, God says, “These things are written that your joy may be full!” (1 John 1:4).

The conclusion can only be one-God expects the believer to have joy no matter what!

The Anguish of Defeat

One type of suffering often overlooked in a discussion of the problem is the suffering caused by defeat. Failure has to be spelled with capital letters in all our vocabularies. Who hasn’t suffered because of himself

Paul did. Prior to his conversion he failed God in a number of ways. To say that he later hated himself for previous actions would be the understatement of the year. But believing in the thoroughness of God’s forgiveness gave Paul a brand new beginning.

In the matter of a saved person disappointing God, John Mark has to be one of two classic examples. Acts 13: 13 tells the sad account of his starting on the first missionary journey, and then turning back. More than that, his action almost split a beautiful friendship between Barnabas and Paul. But bounce, did he bounce! When Paul writes his last letter prior to death, he urges Timothy to bring Mark “for he is profitable to me for the ministry” (2 Tim. 4:11). In addition, God used him to write a book of the Bible!

Simon Peter denied Jesus, but Jesus forgave him. For Simon not to forgive himself would have compounded his sin. He learned to believe Jesus, accept his forgiveness, and the once defeated Simon became the preacher of Pentecost, and God’s leader in the thrilling events to follow.

When Satan has won one victory, some throw up the white flag of surrender and let him have the whole war! Not Simon Peter!

If Mark and Peter, and even Paul could forget “the things that are behind,” so can you. Just don’t forget them until you have confessed your sin to God and received his promised forgiveness and cleansing according to 1 John 1:9.

Tears and Brokenness

What about tears? If a man is a success, does this mean he will never weep again?

Contrariwise, the successful man will be a concerned man. He will be concerned about the will of God, the walk of his friends, and the way the world is going. the more successful he is, the more concerned he will be! A person can weep and be joyful at the same time. Joy is a fixed state of the heart, whereas tears are a God-given emotional outlet. One may be joyful over a thousand blessings God has given, plus joyful and excited about being a Christian, but when he stands in the presence of God he may well become Broken.

Pity the poor man who thinks he is so successful he cannot show concern. He is not successful- he is proud, haughty, calloused, self-righteous, and blind to human need.

God’s great men have always been men of concern. They have known joy as a state of the heart but have, at the same time, been brokenhearted over conditions around them.

David wept over his son Absalom, Jeremiah wept over a nation, Jesus wept over Jerusalem, and Paul shed many tears in Ephesus over a space of. three years. God’s promise to the concerned soul-winner is, “He that goeth forth and weepth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him ‘ (Ps. 126:6).

Fullness of joy will never be discovered by one who runs from human need. God will resist the proud, but give grace to the humble! (Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5).

The Big Jobs

God is on the lookout for people he can trust with giant problems. Giant tasks are everywhere in this world. There is, however, a prerequisite before you can be chosen for this job.

Allow an explanation.

Recently the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar airplane was finished and the company began 18 months of rigorous testing costing $1.5 billion dollars. To test the strength of the jetliner, Lockheed has an airplane torture rack. It bends, twists, and pulls the structure of the plane to simulate the roughest treatment it will encounter in commercial operation.

Hydraulic jacks, electronic sensors, and a computer put the airplane through a fatigue test for a minimum of 36,000 flights. A lower wind joint of the jet liner underwent five lifetimes of simulated flight without failure, amounting to more than a hundred years of airline service.

Thirty-one 250-gallon water tanks were placed inside one of the test aircraft. The water tanks are connected by a series of pipes and pumps for transferring the aircraft’s center of gravity in flight. Flight tests showed that the aircraft could handle a wider range of gravity than predicted by designers.

One of the planes was flown into ice clouds by test pilots. They wanted to check operation of the anti-ice systems and see how the aircraft would respond to ice accretion. The flight test crew permitted heavy chunks of ice to break away from the nose of the aircraft and enter the rear mounted engine. They permitted heavy ice build-ups on one wing while keeping the other ice-free.

That plane has been through it! I wouldn’t mind flying on it, would you? Life is sometimes like that, and the testing times no less easy.

But wouldn’t it be just like God . . . to take one look at the totally yielded Christian who had walked through sufferings and tensions, take another look at a giant task which desperately needed doing, then cast his eye back toward the Christian and write across his life-tested; trustworthy; yielded; motivated from within; ready for the big job!

Posted in AIS File Library, LEGE - General Leadership Training0 Comments

The Called, Chosen and Faithful Leader

The Called, Chosen and Faithful Leader
Hartwell T. Paul Davis


Leaders are made, not born. Like so many other of life’s complex issues, the question of nature vs. nurture in leadership is one that is analyzed, researched, and debated by educators, philosophers, social scientist, and even leaders themselves. Leadership has been dissected as to personality, character, and behavior. Researchers have developed test, established programs, and created the best graduate level courses to study, train, and develop leaders. While there may be differing views on what makes a leader, there appears to be consensus in all schools of leadership about one fact of leadership: Leadership is about relationship. Leadership does not exist without someone to lead and someone to follow.

The Called, Chosen, and Faithful Leader

What is leadership? John Maxwell quotes J. Oswald Sanders which states simply, “Leadership is influence” (2007, Section: God Has Already Called You to Lead). Robbins and Judge expand the definition and write, “We define leadership as the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals” (2009, p. 385). While leaders typically “have authority” and “do management”, Bolman and Deal state that leadership is distinct from authority and different from management. Bolman and Deal observe in Reframing Leadership that leadership is not something that is tangible but that exist only in relationships. It is in the perception of the engaged parties (2008, p.35).

Leaders are made, not born. While there may be differing views on what makes a leader, there appears to be consensus in all schools of leadership about this one fact: Leadership is about relationship. Leadership does not exist without someone to lead and someone to follow. We must look then to the development of relationship from which the roles of leader and follower emerge. There can be no better example of the making of leaders then in looking at Jesus and His disciples. While some leaders change companies, and a few have changed nations, Jesus developed leaders that changed the world.

Jesus, the Master Symbolic Leader

If leaders are made and not born, the question must be asked, how are they made, and who makes them? In the narrowest sense a leader can be made by any foolish person that chooses to not think for themselves and simply follows the influence of someone else, whether it is right or wrong. Jesus speaks to this kind of relationship when he speaks of “blind leaders of the blind” (Matt. 15:14, KJV). Unfortunately there are those that are self-appointed leaders that use force or persuasion to gain power and to keep power. Such was the case of a man called Diotrephes who according to John “loved to have the preeminence” (3 John 1:9, KJV). Then you have those that are appointed by men to positional power, as happens in political patronage; or born into positional power as in the case of royalty. But these are not real leaders that will produce meaningful results. Usually some catastrophe or negative consequence will result that brings down the leader. It is not to say that some leaders don’t emerge out of such circumstances, but the actual leadership develops in-spite of how a person got there, not because of patronage or royalty.

Real leaders are produced by relationship, transformed by relationship, and are sustained by relationship and most always it is the product of mentoring by other leaders. Gabriella Salvatore echoes the mantra that leaders are developed, not born, and contends that no one is better qualified to teach leadership skills than leaders themselves (2009, p.38).

The foundations of leadership, according to Salvatore, include four relationship management competencies: communication, coaching, influence, and managing for change (p.38). Salvatore shares some of the formal knowledge transfer practices of the mentor, including coaching, stretch assignments, job shadowing, and video libraries of “war stories”. These align well with the practices and rules of symbolic leadership suggested by Bolman and Deal which are:

* Lead by example: Salvatore’s job shadowing
* Use symbols to capture attention: a part of coaching
* Frame experience: what experience is gained on those “stretch assignments”?
* Communicate a vision
* Tell stories. It isn’t always a video library but this is an important part of mentoring.

To reiterate a review of the article by Bolman and Deal which was presented to the BUSI501 class, Jesus was the master of the five practices of symbolic leadership (Davis, 2009, Thread Week One).

* Jesus led by example. He made disciples of men.
* Jesus used symbols to capture attention. These were his miracles.
* Symbolic leaders frame experience. Jesus spoke to every day issues using every day examples. Each day was a new day of learning for his disciples because they followed Jesus and experienced what He experienced.
* Symbolic leaders communicate a vision. His message was eternal life and a heavenly kingdom. He prepared his disciples for service.
* Symbolic leaders tell stories. These were his parables.

How does one become a leader?

The Called Leader:

Leadership is a product of relationship. In order to be a leader, one must have followers; otherwise a person might simply be a manager. Robbins and Judge state that “Management consists of implementing the vision and strategy provided by leaders” (2008, p. 385). There will always be the need for leaders to develop managers. But one of the great purposes of leadership is the development of successors. Leadership development is a core strategy of succession planning. Leaders with vision do not limit their vision to one solitary life. John Maxwell list 21 qualities of great leaders. One of those qualities is the quality of vision. Maxwell shares Lessons from Abraham on Vision, and writes that a vision must, “be bigger than the leader” (Notes, Gen. 17:1-8, KJV). Maxwell writes, “While Abraham wanted to father an heir, God wanted him to father nations” (21 Qualities, Notes on Genesis 12:1 – 22:4). Vision is a part of the calling of leadership.

There are two types of calling in the making of leaders. One is a special calling to a first in line leader. This first calling either comes from God or the calling comes from purpose, as related to human events. This is where the initial vision is received, the first inspiration, the beginning of a line of leadership. Examples of the first calling included Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Mohammad, Gandhi, Ford, Edison, and the list goes on.

Callings that result from human events are those that are not based upon a prior relationship, but the event defines the call to leadership. It is likely that even these examples are the handiwork of God. Daniel declares that it is God who sets up kings and removes kings, therefore all leaders are under the rule of God even though they may not know it (Daniel 2:20-21, KJV).

Those that found themselves in leadership by such a call include Winston Churchill, Patton, Roosevelt, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and many others who become leaders, heroes, and legends because of the purpose that became so much a part of their lives.

In the first calling, whether by God or events, the vision is revealed. In the second, the vision is transferred. That first vision is usually unique to a religious leader, company founder, inventor, church planter, entrepreneur, warrior-leader, or father of a nation. Succeeding leaders get parts or perhaps all of that vision in the rite of succession, and their share of the vision may be modified: grow, change, or even replaced.

The second calling is the calling of succession leaders by leaders to carry on the first leader’s vision. Great examples of the second calling are Abraham to Isaac, and then Isaac to Jacob; Moses to Joshua; David to Solomon; Jesus to his disciples, and Jesus to Paul. In each case, the purpose of the calling was to pass on the first leader’s vision. The same is true in the corporate world as leaders are called by other leaders to carry forward the vision of growth, the great ideas, or the life’s purpose of the first leader.

The Chosen Leader:

Jesus declares “many are called but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14, KJV). Sometimes, leaders are selected by followers, but most of the time, leaders are selected by leaders. In the Bible, we find examples of both processes, but what is interesting is that the follower selected leader actually performed management, while leader selected leaders became leaders.

An example of follower selected leaders (actually managers), is the selection of deacons in the first church. There was a need to organize and manage the distribution of food and goods to the widows of the church. The gentile women felt they were being neglected (Acts 6: 1, KJV). In order to solve the problem, someone was needed to manage the daily ministrations, so the apostles gave these instructions to the people to select leaders from among the people (Acts 6: 3, KJV). These deacons were selected by their peers, and then were appointed by the apostles.

Most leaders in the church and in business are chosen by leaders. While some fundamental churches use the process of congregational vote to select pastors, the process is far from scriptural. The choosing of elders was not in the hands of the congregation, but was a responsibility of the apostles and elders. Paul and Barnabas were both apostles (Acts 14:14, KJV) who then ordained elders in each of the churches under their ministry (Acts 14: 21-23, KJV). We later find Titus ordaining elders in every city on Crete (Titus 1:5, KJV), and Timothy receiving instructions from Paul on the process of ordaining both elders and deacons (I Timothy 3, KJV). Leadership development in the Bible was leader to leader, not follower to leader. Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you” (John 15:16, KJV). Succession planning is used by church leaders rarely, and as a result, churches are often required to do the best they can in finding a new pastor. Outgoing pastors or organizational church leaders should be responsible for guiding a process for bringing in new leadership into local churches.

The same is true in the business world. This has given rise to the increased growth of leadership development programs in business organizations. Robbins and Judge write,

Organizations, in aggregate, spend billions of dollars, yen, and euros on leadership training and development. These efforts take many forms – from $50,000 executive leadership programs offered by universities such as Harvard to sailing experiences at the Outward Bound School. Business schools, including some elite programs, such as Dartmouth, MIT, and Stanford, are placing renewed emphasis on leadership development (2008, p. 436).

Robbins and Judge however make an interesting observation. “First let us recognize the obvious. People are not equally trainable” (2008, p. 436). This conclusion means that choosing a leader means more than looking at the academics of leadership development courses and classroom earned credentials. Sally Kalin observes that many leadership programs turn out administrators rather than leaders. Some programs however, such as the Harvard Leadership Institute, goes beyond most others by forcing participants “to examine their own leadership styles through a path of self discovery covering three themes: how you lead, what you lead, and where you lead from” (Kalin, 2008, p. 266).

There are great program that have turned out great leaders, and to some degree these are modeled after the strictest leadership development program ever imagined. The leadership program of Jesus is a model for leaders that hope to bring about great change. This program required meeting the tests of discipleship, which required operating in the realm of faith, and also the development of character.

Commitment: The Test of Discipleship:

Being chosen for Jesus’ leadership development program required the disciples to make the most extraordinary commitment – everything they possessed. Chosen leaders are committed leaders. Consider the minimum requirement for the Lord’s disciples:

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Luke 14: 26-27, KJV).

Throughout the discipleship process, Jesus constantly addressed the priorities required to be great leaders. While the text uses language that might be misunderstood by some, the disciples understood the principle that commitment to Jesus Christ, to a mission, to a vision means that these become first in their hearts and minds. Even the idea of success and wealth was not a concept of the Lord’s school of leadership. Jesus said, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon [money]” (Matthew 6:24, KJV). The emphasis on wealth in many business school programs is detrimental in developing true leaders.

Unfortunately many business schools today emphasize personal reward rather than personal sacrifice. Joel Padony, in writing for the Harvard Business Review, comments, “Unless America’s business schools make radical changes, society will become convinced that MBAs work to serve only their self interest” (2009, Heading). Padony contrast business schools from schools that are really turning out professionals and great leaders by looking at what needs to be emphasized. Followers do not trust leaders when they believe the leader’s motive is more about money and self-interest than the interest of the followers. Padony suggest,

In order to reduce people’s distrust, business schools need to show that they value what society values. They need to teach the principles, ethics, and attention to detail that are the essential components of leadership, and they need to place a greater emphasis on leadership’s responsibilities — not just its rewards. (2009, p. 64)

Chosen leaders must be committed to the vision, not the rewards, and Jesus only chose one “thief” for his purposes (John 12:6, KJV). He did not choose Judas for leadership. Commitment will always be one of the first qualities looked for in leadership. Because Jesus knew that the ultimate sacrifice was to be paid by those he chose, he required the ultimate commitment.

Trichinotis and Scheiner contend that commitment is a part of the ultimate mission of a leader, and write,

The ultimate mission of the committed leader is not found in personal gold medals. Rather it is rooted in a personal commitment based on one simple philosophy: “Service before self.” “Service before self” (better known as the second Air Force core value) is more plainly defined as putting personal agendas aside for the good of the organization and the people within an organization (1996, p. 39).

The element of commitment is the first and foremost requirement of all leaders that are choosing leaders to succeed them.
The chosen leader must live in the realm of faith. Human nature is to live within the comfort zone of experience and tradition. This includes the path of least resistance in what we choose to believe or decisions that we make. Attributed to Francis Bacon is this observation: “Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.” In other words, our minds, thoughts, and beliefs are constrained by what Steven Sample calls our “binary thinking” (2008, p. 115). These are the yes or no, true or false, right or wrong, and good or bad kinds of thinking. One that every leader contends with is the “can or can’t” thinking that happens in the decision making process. Binary thinking is easy, quick, and much less work than really having to process data from many sources and find answers in ways never experienced before.

Binary thinking is the norm; “most people are binary and instant in their judgments” (Sample, 2008, p. 115). It is thinking that is constrained by the tendency “to believe the last thing heard” (p. 117), be influenced by the congenital naysayers (p. 119), and think in well worn ruts (p. 124). It is the kind of thinking that is fraught with skepticism, which is a condition that borders on unbelief. The definition of skepticism includes “systematic doubt” (Merriam-Webster Online).

A part of the leadership development program of Jesus was to constantly challenge the disciples to live in the realm of faith – the ability to think outside of the box. Jesus used miracles to grow the faith of the disciples. Because Jesus was to later “endue them with power from on high”, he must first walk them through the experiences of miracles where overcoming doubt and the constraints of the natural senses could be accomplished. We know of only one early learner which was Peter, the only one willing to step out of the boat and walk on water (Matthew 14: 22 – 30, KJV) and he was the one that eventually received the “keys of the kingdom” (Matt. 16:19, KJV).

Chosen leaders are those that have proven they have ability for creative thinking; that can make tough decisions that are contrary to conventional wisdom, and most importantly, can pass the “challenge testing” of their mentors.

The Chosen Leader Must Exemplify Character Over Personality:

Frank Damazio hits home on this point, particularly in reference to the church leadership of today.

Tragically, today’s over-emphasis on academic degrees has contributed to the pride, hypocrisy, and spiritual lifelessness in many of the Church’s leaders. As we shall see in the Bible, God does not emphasize the academic development of His leaders as much as their development in character, wisdom, and piety (Damazio, 1988, p.2).

Even the secular world regards character as the most important quality of a leader. Alan Davis of Massey University writes,

Like never before our organizations need authentic leadership. Leadership characterized by consistency of character, not text book techniques; visibility to the people affected by their decisions; leadership that understands the power of symbols that demonstrate alignment between what leaders promise and what the organization does. (Davis, 2009, p.1).

David Benzel’s observes in Shedding the Superman Cape, “Credibility is the key ingredient to leadership” (2008, p. 12). The ability to trust a leader does not come from academic success, personality, or even business achievement but comes from authenticity and integrity. Damazio defines character as “the sum total of all the negative and positive qualities in a person’s life, exemplified by one’s thoughts, values, motivations, attitudes, feelings and actions” (1988, p. 106). Notice that this definition begins with what are the internals of a person and ends with actions.

Character becomes the most noticeable part of leadership. David Zumwalt call it executive presence and says, “Executive presence arises from a multifaceted set of skills. The leader must exude authenticity, which includes confidence, competence, and the ability to engage emotionally, as well.” (Long, 2009, p.16). Zumwalt further comments “executive presence combines the heart and mind of the leader” (2009, p. 16). All of this means simply that character shows.

This is the reason why specific requirements for eldership were outlined in the Bible. These did not include credentials, talent, personality, speaking ability, or pedigree. Instead requirements included being above reproach, blameless, not greedy, patient, and more (I Timothy 3: 1-7, KJV). It was all about character on the inside that could be seen on the outside.

Anticipate and Meet Challenges:

“Michael Sales reminds business leaders that organizations are multifaceted social systems that take on a life of their own, and that system dynamics influence individual behavior more than leaders realize” (Gallos, 2008, p. 156). A reminder — leadership is about influence and relationship. The leadership role is fraught with dynamics within the system that is not experienced by others in the relationship. For one, leaders are often the visible symbol of what an organization is all about. Susan Cramm writes, “You’re not paranoid. Everyone is watching you” and then observes, “There is power in all the attention – if you use it wisely” (2007, p. 32). Handling the power of leadership is one of the major challenges for those “who have arrived”.

Power without character is destructive. The character of wisdom, love, patience, humility, gentleness, kindness, longsuffering – elements of the fruit of the spirit – must be present in a leader to prevent corruption and destructive behavior. Hugh Rawson quotes one of the most famous comments on the subject by Lord Acton, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Rawson, 2008, p. 16). Recent news events are full of scandals in government including the use of power and influence to manipulate senate seats: as in the Illinois governor’s office. American citizens are sick of hearing about earmarks, influence peddling, and the back room politics in Washington. A Gallup poll in 2008 gave Congress an approval rating of only 14%, the lowest since 1992 (Saad, 2008, p. 1).
Sales writes, “Effective leadership requires more of us: looking below the surface of everyday events, understanding the impact of system dynamics on individual behavior, and learning to leverage the power and possibility of organizational role and position” (2008, p. 180). This means the effective leader needs to understand more about the relationships inherit with the position of leadership and how the leadership position effects the behavior of others.

The Jesus Model: Inverted Authority:

Jesus understood the nature of jealousy and self-interest and addressed it early with his disciples. When the mother of James and John came to Jesus and asked that her sons could be seated next to Jesus in heaven, the other disciples were offended (Matthew 20: 20 – 28, KJV). Jesus then contrasted his concept of leadership with the known leadership of the day,

Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister. (Matthew 20:25-28, KJV).

In the book Restoring the Five Fold Ministry, this is called inverted authority, which is the kind of authority required for leadership in the church (Davis, 2004, p.2). It is a servant-leader model that is recognized in the business world as well as the church world. Emma De Vita sums up a quote from a little known book Servant-Leadership stating, “True leaders must also be servants. Great leaders must serve their communities and earn loyalty by involvement rather than imposition” (2008, p. 25). “Servant-leadership”, a phrase coined by Robert Greenleaf, is a concept that influenced Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People and John Carver’s Boards That Make A Difference according to John Cassel and Tim Holt (2008, p. 34). But the concept originated with God when he dethroned Moses to make him the leader of the children of Israel (Davis, 2004, p. 3).

Servant Leadership:

Servant leadership is a leadership style that focuses on building relationship and leading from core values of care, concern, and charity (love). Kent Keith posits that with so much advice available about leadership that new leaders should start with the basic principles of servant-leadership (2009, p. 18). This means that leaders should strengthen relationships with their colleagues. These three principles begin with “go to work to serve others” (p.18). This is the real reason why the leadership roles exist. The leader that believes that leadership is “all about the leader” is missing the point about relationship and influence.

A second basic part of servant leadership is that leaders must “listen to colleagues and customers to identify and meet their needs” (Kent, 2009, p. 18). The servant leader operates as a mentor, guide, counselor, advisor, and sharer of vision. Terry Bean, an old colleague of mine, had great insight into understanding relationships by simply asking the question, “Whose needs are being met?” Kent suggests that a servant leader should not begin with their own answers but should be first asking others about their needs, wants, and desires (2009, p. 18). Servant leaders focus on the value of the relationship to those they lead.

Thirdly, servant leaders “develop colleagues”, says Kent (2009, p. 19). If leadership exists because of relationship, growth in leadership comes with growth in relationship. Many good leaders fail by working themselves out of a job. Kent is writing about servant leadership in the context of sales when he says, “Your ability to serve customers will only be as good as your colleagues” (p. 19), but the basic principle is that your efforts at leadership are always measured by the results of others. Whether the metric is production, achievement, or sales dollars, it reflects back to the leader which gets the recognition for the group. Servant leaders grow the value of their own leadership by leading others into the realm of success.

The Power of Position:

There is always trouble when leadership develops an “us or them” mentality. This is the kind of thinking that grew into a hierarchical structure as the church went from a collegial eldership structure to one where “us” and “them” became known as the “clergy and laity”. Frank Damazio writes,

In their application to the Church of Jesus Christ, the terms “clergy” and “laity” contain seeds both of truth and falsehood. It is true that the New Testament presents two general distinctions of ministry. But in doing so, the New Testament never uses the words “clergy” and “laity” or their root meanings (1988, p.3).

What is interesting is that the term clergy, while applied to ordained church leadership, actually comes from the Old English word meaning “clerk” (Damazio, 1988, p.3). The word “clerk” was derived from the Latin “clericus” which really meant a person who was a scholar in a religious order. But Jesus did not put scholarship before character. Nor did Jesus establish a “clergy” position to rule over the church body.

In reality positional power in which power is defined by the position or office is not the same as leadership. Positional power is what fosters the “us” and “them” mentality within the minds of those subject to it. It does not in itself provide confidence, trust, or respect – all which are needed by leaders. There is no doubt leverage for getting things done or effecting management efficiency, and the best use of positional power is in management, not leadership.

Michael Sales recognizes that positional power exist in most organizations, and the “us and thems” are evident. The four fundamental actors in organizational systems are the tops, bottoms, middles, and environmental players, according to Sales (2008, p. 182). But what Sales also points out is that in each of these are subsystems also made up of tops, bottoms, and middles. This suggests that leadership is something that permeates throughout an organization at all levels and is not the private domain of a few folks in positions of authority. The challenge for organizations to become robust and dynamic is to balance the elements of differentiation, homogenization, integration, and individuation among members of the organization.

This challenge to leadership then is to not define relationships as “us and them”, but rather as “we” are partners and members of one another. “Partnership is at the heart of robust systems” according to Sales (2008, p. 194). That is the concept that Jesus really had in mind when he established the church. It is not an up and down vertical relationship between leaders and followers, but rather a horizontal relationship. The vertical axis of relationship is all members under one head, Jesus Christ. The horizontal axis of relationship means that all the rest from leaders to followers are equal in status. Leadership in this context is not a position, but simply a gift of skills to be used to the benefit of the whole organization. This concept is supported by Romans 12 where the “gift” to rule is included with other gifts within the body (Romans 12: 6 – 8, KJV).

This differs to some degree in business, but the concept of being partners and members is a part of recognizing the four basic elements of what people are all about in the robust organization (Sales, 2008, p. 191). Differentiation says that people are different and leaders accept differences in people rather than using them as reasons to create more “them” stereotypes. Everyone is treated fairly and with dignity without respect to their differences.

Homogenization refers to commonality (Sales, 2008, p. 191). Everyone, including leaders and followers, are alike in their humanness. All of us have feelings, wants, and needs. This is true of each of us, and the leaders must see how “we” are bound together by the common need to be loved and cared for.

Integration means that “we” all share in a mission, vision, purpose, and direction. There are no fringe elements that cause some to be classified as “thems”. Any organization is only as strong as its weakest link.

Individuation was true even among the disciples. Peter was fiery while John was caring. Thomas was a doubter. James was a disciple of influence. Like in the body, the differences in each member contributed to its own “position power”. Paul wrote, “Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary” (I Cor. 12:22, KJV).

Making It Happen: The Faithful Leader:

In the end, elevation comes when the called and chosen leader remains faithful to the vision received at the calling. According to Andre Delbecq, “Mission, vision, and purpose are brought to life by the sense of calling that organizational leaders possess” (2008, 489). The calling of a leader becomes the source of the vision, and all of this happens inside of the heart and mind of the leader. This is spiritual leadership which is spiritually inspired and it must be spiritually maintained.

It is the heart and soul of a leader that determines the values and character that ultimately determine the culture of any organization. Milliman and Ferguson sees spiritual leadership as “the values, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to intrinsically motivate ones’ self and others so that they have a sense of spiritual survival through calling and membership” (2008, p. 19). Because the leader’s values play such an important part of the overall organizational culture, any failure in leadership has a corresponding negative effect upon the organization. Delbecq points out, “We also know that better than half the strategic decisions made fail because of a leader’s human weakness” (2008, p. 493). Within a business or any organization, the principles of spiritual warfare are at work, and this includes a great truth from scripture, “Smite the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered” (Zech. 13:7, KJV).

Faithfulness In The Face Of Failure:

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman reviewed the results of two studies of more than 11,000 leaders and identified Ten Fatal Flaws that Derail Leaders. They compared the results of fired leaders with ineffective leaders and concluded the ten most common short coming in leadership were:

* Lacking energy and enthusiasm
* Accepting mediocre performance
* Lacking clear direction and vision
* Having poor judgment
* Lack of collaboration with others
* Do not “walk the talk”
* Resist new ideas
* Do not learn from mistakes
* Lack interpersonal skills
* Failure to develop others

Each of these flaws in leadership can be equated with spiritual deficiencies for which the Bible offers curative suggestions. For example, the Lord created a Sabbath day of rest knowing the physical and spiritual needs of man must both be attended to in a day given to communion with God for restoration. The Lord offers wisdom for those with poor judgment. We read in scripture, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5, KJV). Every deficiency has an answer, but in order to keep from failing, the leader must become aware of them. Milligan and Ferguson write, “These sound like obvious flaws that any leader would try to fix. But the ineffective leaders we studied were often unaware that they exhibited these behaviors” (2008, p. 18).

However, great leaders are not those that have never failed or suffered with personal deficiency; great leaders are those who overcame by faithfully using the strengths they had while working on the flaws. They most often sought the spiritual resources of God or others to receive spiritual nourishment in order to tackle their failings. Many leaders use the path of prayer, almost all successful leaders take instruction from mentors or self-help books, and some use other spiritual techniques whether it is a sabbatical or times of meditation. The most important factor is that all leaders who succeed have “faith in the face of failure”. Their faith is evident in the conduct of faithfulness which simply says, “I will not give up!”

Jim Sullivan readily admits that his failings included several of the Ten Fatal Flaws mentioned by Zenger and Folkman (2008, p. 18). His failure list included ignoring the advice of others, not recognizing top talent, and partnering with dishonest people (Sullivan, 2009, p. 14). But Sullivan observes a point that should be well remembered, “Experience teaches only the teachable” (p.14). Sullivan quotes an old Asian proverb, “fall down seven times, but stand up eight”. Sullivan might have recognized that this was also written by Solomon “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again” (Proverbs 24:16, KJV).

It is just such a promise that sustained David in the time of his greatest failure. He is best remembered for the one big failure of his life in the matter of Bathsheba, but David’s ability to pick himself up after such a long fall was surely because he had learned through many smaller experiences the value of relying on God. David writes,

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand (Psalms 37: 23-24, KJV).

Nourishing the Soul of the Leader:

Andre Delbecq makes a powerful observation, “When the outer environment is complex, it becomes critical that the inner remain centered and balanced” (2008, p. 497). While Delbecq contends that the “litmus test of authentic spirituality in all traditions is attention to those in need” (p. 500), it is important that the leader include himself in the list. Jesus was known for his prayer life, often times praying all night (Luke 6:12, KJV). He not only did this to nourish his own soul but as an example to his disciples. At one point Jesus instructed his disciples, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31, KJV). There are many instructions throughout the New Testament to speak to reviving our souls, fighting spiritual warfare, obtaining peace, the necessity of prayer, and staying faithful. Many leaders have even learned the value of applying Christian principles to guiding their own spirituality in the secular workplace.


Leadership is a process. Leadership theories have looked at behavior, character, and personality. Studies of leadership have focused on charisma, spirituality, motivation, introversion, extroversion and all possibilities to define leadership, many times with the hope that doing so will help organizations make the right leadership choices. In the end, the process is the same on earth as it is in heaven; it is a matter of being one of the called, chosen, and faithful. Leadership more than anything is about the heart of the leader, and it was Talleyrand who summed up leadership from the eyes of those being led; “I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep” (Robbins and Judge, 2009, p. 382).


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This article “The Called, Chosen and Faithful Leader” by Hartwell T. Paul Davis was excerpted from: Personal Research Paper prepared for Liberty University. August 2009. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

This author may not be an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

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Achievement and Success

Achievement and Success

Achievement is setting positive goals that involve a little challenge, that through practice and work, these goals can be reached. When you achieve your goals, you become successful in those areas. Achievement and success is not being able to achieve your goals by working hard to better yourself and listening to others’ suggestions that will help you to better yourself, and then doing the best that you can for yourself.

Achievement and Success begins in the early stages of a persons life.. The years from ages five to twelve, kindergarten through sixth grade, are the most important years in a child’s life of developing confidence in himself and desiring to achieve in school to become successful when they become adults. What a child learned in preschool becomes more organized in kindergarten and first grade. How well a child learns his alphabet, add, subtract, spell, and read, compared to the other children in the class, will effect a child’s learning experience. If a child does well at the beginning stages of learning, he will remember that and will have a positive attitude and most likely become successful on his own.

However, if a child begins his learning experience by learning slow or making a lot of mistakes then that child will probably need a lot of encouragement and special help to achieve and become successful. It may even take a special teacher who is willing to do whatever it takes to help that child and show him that she cares enough about him to help him achieve and become a success.

Longitudinal research indicates that a crucial period for the formation of abilities and attitudes for school learning is set between the ages of five and nine. “Bloom’s 1964 analysis suggests that adolescent or adult intelligence is approximately 50% stabilized or predictable by the first grade, whereas adolescent achievement in school is predictable to the same extent only at age nine, or about the end of grade three. This means that factors that contribute to school achievement other than intelligence are to a considerable extent stabilized during the first three grades. These factors are skill factors and are cumulative. If children have more skills in the first grade, they accumulate further skills in the second, and more in the third.” However, “Kohlberg, LaCrosse, and Ricks, note in 1972, that this stabilization of school achievement is based on the stabilization of factors of interest in learning attention, and sense of competence. This research points to the fact that a positive or negative attitude can effect a child’s school achievement. Children’s feelings about their ability to do their schoolwork are set in their early school experiences and these determine, in a major way, both the intensity and direction of their emerging self-conceptions of ability.

There are four major reasons why a child should experience as much success as possible during their elementary years of school, “(1) subsequent success is not only easier to build onto early success, it seems more possible to the student; (2( early success gives children not only a sense of competence and accomplishment, but a precedent with which they can strive to be consistent; (3) early school success makes any later school failures more bearable because they are more likely to occur within a consolidated self-esteem buttressed by achievement and fortified by personal accomplishment; and (4) early school successes help students develop the kind of positive mental image of themselves with which they can strive to be consistent. The last point is the most important because once a student develops an image and fixes it in his mind, he is mostly likely to behave and achieve in line or connection with that image that he has formed about himself.” (taken from the Psychology text book)

The question has been asked, Which comes first, a positive self-concept or high achievement? Evidence found by Wattenberg and Clifford in 1964, suggested that a negative self-image may affect a skill as basic as reading before children even enter first grade. After studying and research, Wattenberg and Clifford concluded that a child’s ability to read did not have anything to do with the child’s intelligence that was shown by a test score on an achievement test. Other evidence that proves that a positive self-concept comes before achievement was proven in a research involving fifty-three children in two elementary school classrooms. It was found that students who began with high self-concepts spent more time working with school related tasks and improved their self-images by getting more things done than students with low self-concepts. “Students who believe they are smart apparently work harder than students with less favorable self-appraisals and this effort results in higher grades”, (taken from the Psychology Text book). A positive self-concept does not cause high achievement, but it does effect achievement. The more credit a student gives himself will cause him to work that much harder to become productive which will help him to become successful. I agree with the fact that self-concept proceeds achievement because, if you feel good about yourself and what you are learning then you will enjoy and have a stronger desire to work hard to become successful than if you have a low self-concept of yourself and your abilities.

Success, self-esteem, and a positive self-concept are very closely related. Success makes people feel good about themselves and provides an opportunity for significant others to respond positively and favorably to the person behind the accomplishment. Success has a mark on a person’s behavior and how they feel about themselves.

Teachers have a very important part in a student’s achievement and success. Teachers have a big influence on a student’s learning skills. A student who is encouraged by a teacher and praised for his work is more likely to be a success than a student who is put down and told about every mistake that he has made, by a teacher.

I interviewed Sis. Denise Johnson who is currently teaching third grade at a public school in Merritt Island, Florida. She said that she believes in giving praise to a student. Sis. Johnson said that even if the student’s homework is not done correctly, she will find something good about the work that the student has done and praise him for it. She will also make a special effort to help a student who is having trouble by either spending time with that student individually or by letting the student take the assignment home and let his parents help him with it. Sis. Johnson also said that she tries to get to know all of the families of the students so she can learn which parents encourage their children and which parents do not, so she can especially encourage the students who have little or no encouragement at home. Sis. Johnson sometimes does give away prizes for good work done. However, she feels that praise is much more effective.

Praise is the most effective form of recognizing a student’s good work or encouraging a student who is having difficulties, to keep trying. “There are five basic principles to keep in mind when giving praise to a student; (1) Praise is a more powerful motivator than either criticism or reproof. (2) Praise is not just what is said but how it is said. (3) Praise does not affect students in the same way, for example, bright students with high self-concepts usually work harder when their ideas are challenged and criticized. They want to show you how it is done. (4) Effective praise tends to do at least three things. It 1) communicates how you feel about the performance, 2) communicates something about how well the student has done, and 3) encourages the student to evaluate his or her own performance. These are not necessarily communicated all at one time, but if there were a praising remark that you might use, it would be “I feel really good about your performance, or effort, because you have made such a nice improvement over your last try. How do you feel about what you have accomplished? (5) Honesty is important. Only praiseworthy performances or effects should be praised”, (taken from the Psychology text book).

The key to becoming a successful teacher is to believe in that student and help him to become what he is capable of being. A teacher should not only be a teacher, but also a friend. Friendship and showing someone that you care about them, makes them want to achieve and become successful.

Success in the Church

Many of the same principles that make one an achiever in any field are the same principles that help us to achieve our purpose in Christ and be successful in the church. There are five basic characteristics that can be seen in the lives of those who achieve in the world and these characteristics also apply to being a successful Christian in the church.

(1) They have a clear vision of there purpose. A successful Christian knows how to seek God and be specific. They know or have an idea of the calling that God has placed on their life, whether it be a teacher, music director, a prayer warrior, or even a janitor in the church. These people are willing to do what ever they are asked to do for the church.

(2) They stay focused on their purpose. Some people say they know their purpose and feel a calling of God in a certain area, so a pastor will give those people a chance to fulfill that calling by letting them do something in the church. However, some people start things but never finish them. A successful Christian, however, will stay focused on that task that they have been given and see it finished or keep it going.

(3) They have the wisdom and resolve to gather the necessary resources, or training for accomplishing their purpose. Successful Christians in the church, in most cases did not just become a success overnight. They had to learn how to become successful in their ministry. To be successful in the church, you have to first go through a period of training. This means that you must ask questions about things in the church and find other people who are successful in the church and are truly dedicated to God and study under them for a while. They usually have the answers that you are looking for.

(4) They do not associate with “problem-oriented people”, but with “solution-oriented people”. People, who are successful in the church, associate with people who have solutions to situations or positive things to say instead of talking about all of the problems in the church and that have a negative attitude about everything and like to gossip.

(5) They refuse to let obstacles or opposition stop them; they stay resolutely on the course to fulfilling their purpose regardless of setbacks and disappointments. These people refuse to let a challenge or bad circumstance stop them from becoming a success. When tough times come their way, they face the challenge and keep on going. They know how to trust in God and let Him take care of the situation. They understand that if life was always easy, there would be no challenge and that the only way to become successful is to overcome difficulties and achieve new things. This is what makes a person successful.

I interviewed my pastor’s wife, Sis. Louise Syfert, from my home church in Paris Illinois, and asked her what she thinks it takes to be successful in the church as a leader. She said that to achieve a good standing in the church and be recognized as a leader you should be honest to yourself and to others in giving and in a spiritual sense. She said that you most focus on your purpose for serving God and be a servant in the church. This means being willing to do whatever is asked of you. Or if someone else isn’t doing there job and you see the need, be willing to offer your assistance, even if it is the hardest job.

Sis. Syfert said that to be successful, you must also be an example. This means living a pure and holy life, and be willing to help others who are struggling. Be a friend to someone in need and pray with them.

Also, Sis. Syfert said that one way that she feels like she has been successful as a leader and the pastor’s wife is through prayer. You cannot be successful or achieve at anything in the church if you don’t have prayer in your life and allow God to take control of your success. It is God who has made us successful, and He can take away our success at any time if we are not using our success for the right reasons.

God smiles on us and blesses us when we give him the credit for our success and let Him use us for His purpose. If we live for him and follow after His word, He will make us into successful Christians in the church and on the job and in school. Everyone is a success in God’s eyes. All we have to do to achieve and become successful is give ourselves to God and trust in him, and be willing to work hard to become what God has purposed for us to become.


This article may be used for study & research purposes only.

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Pure Myrrh – Purity

Pure Myrrh – Purity
Andy Smith

Take unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh.

Exodus 30:23

The King James Version identifies the myrrh as pure. My friend, purity is not, never was, nor will it ever be, an optional feature. This is not a sports car or luxury sedan we’re talking about! There is no options package in the anointing. We don’t get to keep the color and charge the tire size or skip the floor mats in lieu of the gold trim package. Of the principal spices listed, the principal spice was commanded to be pure. In the plan of God, there is no acceptable option.

Without purity, the other three ingredients will be fouled and tainted. We must understand that even though the most refreshing water, when poured through a rusty strainer, becomes polluted. This is just the way it is. The application of this is tremendous for the person who understands and recognizes the need for and the operation of the Holy Spirit in these last days.

We need the power of the Holy Spirit to change our world, but even the power of the Almighty can be virtually sabotaged if our impurities are in the way. The Living Water that flows form our person (John 4:10, 7:38) is the Holy Spirit and this Spirit of God is as pure as it gets. My warning shot over your bow is to take heed that even the Spirit of God will appear fouled and polluted if we, as the vessels, are polluted by impurity! We are the literal vessels through which the Spirit operates. His Spirit changes us by flowing into us and He changes other by flowing out of us. With this concept as the premise, let me draw you a word picture. Imagine that a wire screen covers the perimeter of your chest. It is almost like an exoskeleton or a second skin that surrounds your torso. Everything that enters into your “heart” passes through this screen. Likewise, everything that comes out of your “heart” passes through the same wire mesh. If you are a man that is walking with Chris and involved in His work, the paramount question is not about whether the Holy Spirit will flow in and out of your vessel. The paramount question and ultimate concern is “what is the condition of my screen?” Is it glistening and clean or is it spotted and rusty? In the final analysis, the condition of the screen determines the perceived purity of what we receive and the projected purity of what we give.

The Holy Spirit, as I stated earlier, is pure and wholesome. That is not the problem. The problem lies in the fact that our “screens” can become rusty and these impurities will be passed on in our witnessing, our family relationships, and our ministry. In other words, the operation of the Holy Spirit that flows from us will be bitter to the taste and difficult for others to swallow. We, not the unchurched, will be the hindrance to the operation of God. We will stain and leave an unholy residue on the lives of the men and women we touch. Likewise, the Spirit’s voice will speak to our human spirit and, being interpreted through our fouled screen, will likely agitate and aggravate us. The move of the Spirit that should refresh our souls will leave us with a bitter aftertaste and we will not experience the refreshing that He intended. In both scenarios, our tendency would be to blame the Product when the problem is in the vessel. We will get mad at God when the problem is in us. We lack purity and that taints all that we say or do. This realization should make us want to pause and pray. In fact, when you feel prompted to pray or repent while reading this book or any other, please respond to the voice of our Savior. He is trying to save us; He is trying to save the people we touch. Mark your page and pray (the book will be here when you and God are done) and we’ll all be glad you did!

I have often appreciated the potency of the following example. If a man has Limburger cheese wiped under his nose, what will be the effect of this situation upon his day? He will sniff the sweetest of roses, but will only smell Limburger cheese. He will inhale the freshest of breezes, but will only smell Limburger cheese. He will order the savory of meats, but will only smell Limburger cheese. He can brush his teeth and have minty-fresh breath, but during our conversation we will only smell Limburger cheese. Get the picture? So I will ask again, what will be the effect of this situation upon his day? How will this circumstance affect his perspective and his outlook? He can blame everything else, but the source of the foul odor is under his nose. The flower was sweet, the air was fresh, and his breath was clean and fresh. Unfortunately these passed through a foul-smelling situation that completely dominated all the beauty and pleasure that they offered. I do not desire to come-off as melodramatic. I truly believe this is an accurate representation of the dynamics we experience when we compromise our purity. The fault is our own. Therefore, let us look at ourselves.

Holiness is not in our nature as men. When Paul revealed his desire to Timothy (I Timothy 2:8) that “men would pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting,” he was addressing fundamental deficiencies in us. Prayer does not come easy to us because we are socialized to be the hunter/provider. The “Shell-Answer-Man,” if you please. The very fact that we would pray is an admission of our inabilities to solve the situation or care for our families in our own strength. The call to lift up holy hands reveals our reticence toward a posture of submission and a lifestyle of purity. The admonition to eliminate wrath form our behaviors is challenging to the gender that basically knows only five emotions: mad, glad, sad, happy, and angry! The problem we have is that, for so many of us, anger is the mask that covers-up every other true emotion. When we’re really frustrated, we say we’re angry. When we’re really disappointed, we say we’re angry. When we’re really feeling vulnerable and powerless, we mask it with anger. These behaviors make it easy to understand why God would reach out to us through the pen of Paul and encourage us to address our inclinations toward wrath and anger. And finally, Paul calls out for us to trust. We play the role of Great Hunter, but most of us have faced great walls of insecurity throughout the course of our lives. We doubt. We are kin to Peter, who returned to fishing, and Thomas, who would only accept the tangible. We doubt – mostly ourselves. God calls us to give Him our doubts by casting all of our cares upon Him. We don’t have to have confidence in ourselves because we are not our answer anyway. He is.

All of that was said simply to reinforce the fact that God knows our weaknesses as men, the scriptures do not command us to watch football or work 50 hours a week in our professional pursuits. These are things we readily and more easily do. His commands and directives focus upon our liabilities and shortfalls. A priority among those divine directives is the call to purity and holiness.

It is the holiness of God that will cause us to become pure again. We must understand that righteousness and holiness are not the same things, nor are they attainted in the same way. Righteousness is placed upon us through faith. It is an immediate result of our faith in Christ. As Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness, so it with us today. Holiness, however, is a process in us. The great apostle, now writing to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 7:1), admonishes us to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Holiness is not a one-time deal. The holiness of God is developed within us as He reveals Himself to us. He will reveal Himself and His ways to us as we spend time with Him. If you are having an issue with purity, spend quantities of time with your Holy Father and things will begin to change. Holiness will be perfected in you.

My mind goes to the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery-the very act, in fact. This was obviously a set-up and the men in the story cared nothing for the well-being of the woman. They were not driven by holy motives. Their rage was propelled by self-righteousness and self-promotion. It is a familiar passage in John 8, but I would like us to consider an alternative ending to the story. A dozen men stand with stones in their hands before a man they identify as “Master.” They have just thrown a trembling woman at his feet who lies there as stripped and vulnerable as she has ever been. We know that Jesus writes in the sand and presents the men with the directive that “he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone” (John 8:7). Here is where the application for us becomes rich.

The scriptures tell us that each man walked away, from the oldest to the youngest. The woman, only, was left with Jesus. The question that I have is, “Why did they leave?” Jesus revealed their sin. They acknowledged their sin by the fact that they left. All they had to do to be free from the sinful condition that was just revealed in their hearts was to stay! They just needed to keep standing right where they were – in His presence! He forgave the woman. I believe that He was prepared to forgive her accusers as well. The outcome of the story could have changed for those men. The similarities are that the men and the woman were all active sinners. The similarities continue in that they all acknowledged their sinful state. The difference lies in the fact that the woman stayed and the men left. Thus, the woman was forgiven and the men retained their sin.

Brothers, our desire to purify ourselves can only be realized if we stay in His presence. The story of these individuals in John 8 shows us what can happen when the present of the Lord reveals sin in our hearts. Option one- we stay near the Lord and our sin leaves (the woman). Option two – we leave the presence of the Lord and keep our sin (the men). Option three – the Lord leaves (Sorry, not applicable to this, or any other, story!) Check out Luke 15 to reassure yourself of His never-ending love and commitment to your restoration in His family.)

Please choose Door #1 and stay in His presence. Make time to be with Him every day. Do not be deceived to hold onto your sin and the impurities of the flesh. Discipline yourself to spend time with God in worship and conversation. He will cleanse your screen. Peter tells us that we experience a washing of regeneration by the Word – so place yourself under Biblical preaching and personal study. Moses found that when God’s Spirit came into a place, it caused the most common of desert areas to immediately become holy ground – so place yourself in His holy presence through prayer and worship. If you are concerned about your follow through, submit yourself to an accountability partner or prayer partner. Truth be told, in order to remain purity they will need you as much as you need them. We all do.

The above article, “Pure Myrrh – Purity” is written by Andy Smith. The article was excerpted from the second chapter of Smith’s book The Scent of Anointing.

The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

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Retire With a Slow Fizzle

Retire With a Slow Fizzle
Tom Harper

When you retire, it should be all about your successor. It’s been about you long enough.
“I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or forsake you.” Joshua 1:5 Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries wrote extensively about the “retirement syndrome.” He said loss of status, recognition, and income, along with physical aging and emotional stress, can make letting go a bitter, depressing experience, forcing many to cling to power indefinitely. Perhaps the greatest biblical retirement example is Moses, who smoothly propelled his successor, Joshua, into authority. Similar transitions have been successfully emulated in modern times.

In 1981, Jack Welch became CEO of GE at the age of 45. At 58, with seven years to go before his planned retirement, Welch began searching for his replacement. “From now on, choosing my successor is the most important decision I’ll make,” he said.

Bob Russell, the 40-year senior minister of 18,000-member Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Ky., also began succession planning seven years before his retirement. He started sharing the pulpit with associate minister Dave Stone a little more every year. Finally, after a flurry of retirement parties, roasts, public accolades, gifts and emotional sermons, Russell handed the reins to his protege. Like Joshua, Stone had been at his commander’s side for many years, and most of the congregation followed their new leader without hesitation.

The lessons of this smooth transition are many:

Pass the baton at full speed. He explains that in a relay race, the runner receiving the baton cranks up to full speed before taking over, with the goal of gaining a step in the transfer. In the same way, the new leader should already be running hard when he or she takes command.

Bow gracefully and leave the building. Russell didn’t visit his church for a full year after his retirement. He wisely gave the new minister center stage. Plus, when Russell saw that his ongoing presence would stretch out the letting-go process, he shortened his exit by a few months.

Force the fizzle. Whenever he accepted awards and applause, his every word of appreciation pointed to how great Stone was going to be. He consistently pushed the spotlight off himself.

Go early and stay free. After 40 years in the same church, Russell was still in his early 60s when he retired. He’s doing many things he long dreamed about but never had the freedom to pursue.

A gracious exit relieves the bitterness and regret of retiring. When we plan our departure, we have time to open the door to longstanding dreams. We can look to our twilight years with anticipation rather than trepidation.

This article “Retire With a Slow Fizzle” was excerpted from: Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible by Tom Harper (B&H, 2010) Posted June 2011 on www.churchcentral.com web site. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

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Three Ways to Be a Better Youth Pastor

Three Ways to Be a Better Youth Pastor
Kevin Smith

There are many areas in which youth pastors could use some major improvement. I don’t mean this as a knock against the whole of youth ministry, but that personally and individually, we all know where we are weakest. (Bonus tip: If you don’t know where you are weakest, you can be a better youth pastor by figuring out your strengths and weaknesses.)

One thing you’ll almost always see is “reading your Bible more,” and that couldn’t be more true. Connecting with God through both the scriptures and prayer is definitely the best thing you can do for your ministry. But I believe there are also a number of other things we can do to step up our game, and below are three things that I believe lead to better youth ministry.

1. Read more Blogs

The times where I’ve learned the most were the times I was reading the most blogs. I love to read the blogs of other youth pastors because I love reading about what other youth ministries are doing, and it can spark creativity in myself; whether it gets me thinking about an event because of something they did, or its just an event that I think would work in our context and would be awesome.

I also have grown from the community that can be built by regularly reading blogs. I love that there are guys out there that I may have met and hung out with for a few days, and others that I have never met in person, yet we are able to now text each other and really pray with each other. Some of my favorite blogs are ones that aren’t part of the good ol’ boys club, for example, Nick Farr who writes EverythingPastor.com; Ben Kerns, who writes Averageyouthministry.com; and JC Thompson writes JCisonline.com.

I was going to make it a separate point, but I also believe that writing a blog leads to growth. Even if no one reads it, forcing yourself to write out why you do the things you do in youth ministry really sparks growth, at least for me. I only have a handful of people read my weekend in review posts, but I don’t write those for others, I write those for myself, and I love it.

2. Read Leadership Books

Read your Bible, read books on theology, but challenge yourself to grow as a leader and learn from other leaders. Whether we like it or not, youth pastors are leaders. We don’t always act like it; we don’t always get treated like it. But if our ministry is going to be as effective as it can and should be, we need to be Leaders. I try and read five books on leadership a year and I’d have to say my favorite one right now is Axiom by Bill Hybels. I highly encourage you to both check it out and get into more Leadership books.

3. Take Time Off

One of the areas I am failing right now is being able to unplug. Moving to a new ministry, trying to overcome expectations that were placed on me from a previous church that aren’t here now, and just the transition as a whole has really had me going at full speed for the last several months. I need to be able to take a break with my wife and get away for even just a night where I don’t bring my laptop or cell phone, I don’t check twitter or read a blog, or even think about youth ministry.

We all need those times where we are able to just celebrate the fact that we are alive. And to be a better youth pastor we need to have times that intentionally remind us that we are more than just youth pastors. It’s so easy to get so wrapped up in youth ministry that we forget how to be children of God. We have to have those times, and I’m not just talking about one day a week where we don’t go to the office. I mean really getting away for a few hours. I know that youth pastors don’t get paid much so it seems impossible to get away for a night. But this is one of the best investments you can make in your marriage, in your ministry, and in your life.

So those are my three tips for being a better youth pastor. What tips would you add?

This article “Three Ways to Be a Better Youth Pastor” by Kevin Smith was excerpted from: www.youthministry.com web site. December 2011. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

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10 Wishes from a Pew Sitter

10 Wishes from a Pew Sitter
Thom Shultz

At the start of a new year, as a pew-sitter, I have a few wishes for the church leaders I know and love:

1. Banish the “stand and greet your neighbor” time in the worship service. I know your intentions are good, but it’s forced, fruitless and goofy.

2. Forget everything they taught you about three-point sermons. You’re wildly successful if you can get across one point. Just one good point.

3. Get out and spend time with real people. Schedule lunches at your members’ workplaces and schools. Listen.

4. Encourage regular evaluation. Use comment cards. Ask us what we remember from last week’s sermon. Then take us seriously, and adjust.

5. Crank down the volume of the music. Allow us to actually hear the voices of the flock.

6. Burn the fill-in-the-blank sermon guides. They’re insulting, distracting and ineffective. (Can you imagine Jesus using them? Let’s see, “Feed my _______.”)

7. Show hospitality. Encourage people to enjoy a cup of coffee after service.

8. Let us participate. Entertain our questions. Let the real people around us tell how God is working in their lives.

9. Relax. Make some real friends. Spend more time with your family. Don’t schedule every evening with church meetings.

10. Get rid of the pews. Really.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

This article “10 Wishes from a Pew Sitter” by Thom Shultz was excerpted from “Holy Soup” blog. www.holysoup.com web site. January 2011. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

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I Desire More

I Desire More
By Mark Johnson & Tracy Noel

I want God to use me more and more. I started thinking, is there anything that I can do make it more likely that He will use me in the future? What does He look for when He puts together His plan and chooses people to have roles in a work of His?

Why did God choose Noah to build the ark? Did God ask a thousand other men before Noah said yes? I think that unlikely. I don’t know for sure, but I think Noah must have had some expertise in woodworking. It is surely within God’s capacity to teach someone a brand new skill, but I think it more likely in this case anyway, that Noah was familiar with saws, and gouges, and drills and awls before God approached him.

Axiom number 1: Have a skill that God needs

If you only have one skill, if the only thing you can do is to knit baby booties, then don’t be surprised that God doesn’t ask you to build an ark. If you have a dream of one day God using you to build an ark, go to the career center, go sign up for classes at Ivy Tech, enroll in a carpentry apprenticeship program, carry shingles for a roofer, volunteer for Church-in-a-Day, sign up for a Habitat for Humanity work day, call La Casa over in Goshen to see if they need any help in their projects. Develop skills in your life that will expand your usefulness to God.

People fall into two categories in the Bible. They are either doers or doees, people active in God’s plan doing a task for Him or they are people who God is filling a need for. Granted everyone has needs that only God can fulfill, so in a sense we are all doees at times in our lives and there is nothing to he ashamed of in that, but many people never get past that stage of staring at the cruet waiting for ark Elijah to come along and fill it with oil.

Staying with Noah, another characteristic that Noah had was that he was willing to do something for the Lord that he had never done before. He wasn’t intimidated by the task that God put before him. In the old Bill Cosby skit, in a deep, deep voice God asks Noah to build an ark and fill it with pairs of each kind of animal and Noah responds, “You want me to what!!!!” That would be the reaction of most of us.

Sure Noah had carpentry skills, but this was beyond anything he could have imagined on his own. To build a 450 foot long boat. . . it’s said to have taken him from between 50 and 100 years, a daunting task to say the least. Don’t put handcuffs on God.

Axiom number 2: Be willing to let God come up with the plan, then follow it no matter how impossible it might seem.

When God tells you He needs a boat, don’t do a Google search for canoe designs. Let God tell you, show you the scale of His plan. Don’t limit God by your fears. Don’t limit God by your lack of imagination. Be ready for, be willing for anything that God puts before you.

Genesis 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

After Peter came back from his little walk on the water, 11 guys may well have been sitting there wondering, regretting as to why they weren’t chosen to get out of the boat, forgetting that it was Peter who spoke up, that it was Peter who was ready and willing to get out of the boat. Peter was an impulsive guy, maybe even rash at times, but it was rashness, a seeming recklessness based on his faith in God. He was always ready for anything. Noah must have been a similar type of person, not intimidated by the seemingly impossible before him.

I’m sure that there were many men who had the necessary carpentry skills to build God a boat, but God did not need a vast flotilla of canoes. He needed an ark. He needed an ark builder, therefore He asked Noah. Noah had it within him to follow the plan of God and not be intimidated.

Most of our lives are littered with half finished projects. How many of us have. . . name it, bird houses half built, baby blankets half crocheted, cross stitch projects gathering dust, landscaping projects growing weeds, home remodeling projects gathering dust, crafts with missing pieces from being half done for so long, books half written, songs half composed, etc. etc. etc. Lots of dreams, beautiful plans, but the harvest, the fruit is always still to come some day off in the future.

What good would it have done anyone to have had a half-built ark? Noah not only had to be willing to say ‘yes’ to God when God asked, but he also had to be a man who would keep at the task until it was completed.

Axiom number 3: Be absolutely dependable. Finish what you start. Be there when you say you will. Be true to your word. No excuses . . . Do it!!!

Don’t worry. You aren’t going to derail God’s plan by not finishing a task that He was counting on you to do. He knows your heart ahead of time. There is no record of half-finished arks laying here and there, dotting the landscape all over the region from men who started them, but did not complete them. Our purpose here is to try and structure our lives so that we can be used by God more often and for greater tasks. If you are a person who cannot be depended upon, God will not ask you in the first place.

Genesis 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

Follow your word with actions that fulfill your word, even to the point of being ridiculous.

If you tell someone that you will be there at noon. You have not kept your word if you arrive at 1.2:01. Strive to be as absolutely dependable as you can in all your relationships and business. Show God that He can count on you by others being able to count on you. It is the small things by which a man’s integrity is measured.

Most everyone gets the big things right. After someone passes on, Chatting in the funeral home, it’s not often you hear, “Man-o-Man was he was an awesome guy. He never robbed his mother or molested his children.” I don): s to have that said about me. I want it said about me, “His word was gold. You could always depend upon him. When he said he would do something, when he said he would be there at a certain time, you knew that he would do what he said.” I believe that is pleasing to God. I don’t believe that is being legalistic. I don’t think it’s going to get me into heaven. But I believe it’s honorable and righteous to do what you say, to be a dependable person.

Anytime I have been involved in a work of God, His work did not wait for me. I had to be in the right place at the right time. Who knows how many times God wanted to use me for something. But I wasn’t willing to be led by His timing.

What a poignant and sorrowful scene. . . What if Noah had decided on his own that he needed, he deserved a little vacation after the building of the ark. . . what if Noah had been somewhere else and not on the ark when the rain started coming down. . . .

Genesis 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

We must, in everything we do believe that we are doing the will of God. That should be our only guiding principle for everything.

Here is a verse that Paul wrote:
Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Can we reverse this? And he that doubteth not is not damned if he eat, because he eateth of faith: for whatsoever is of faith is not sin.

I don’t want to build an entire doctrine on that, but sometimes it is interesting to look at the mirror image of a verse to see where that takes you. Paul’s example is especially relevant. Paul/Saul horribly persecuted the early Christians. I don’t know Paul’s mind, but you know I bet Paul did the things he did believing that he was doing the will of God. I’ll bet he didn’t do them to be cruel or just to be evil and mean. He believed he was doing the will of God. We may be wrong, but if we error doing something, with full faith at the time, that what we are doing is the right thing, even if it turns out later that we were mistaken, I don’t think it will be counted against is as a permanent black mark against us.

Here is my last axiom.

Axiom 4: Whatever you do, do it in faith.

If you feel you are in a situation, watching something, reading something, listening to something, eating something that is not right, not in the will of God. Stop doing it immediately! If you feel like you are supposed to do something, if you feel God wants you to walk around your car three times before you go into the grocery store, whatever it is, if you feel that it is what God wants you to do, then do it!
I want to do anything that I can to make myself more useful to God. My obedience, my faith, my abilities, my sensitivity . . . everything about me I want to be in tune with what God wants, what God desires for me to be

From, “Apostolic Trumpet”/ July 2007/Page 5 & 10, by Mark Johnson & Tracy Noel

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The Use of Authority

The Use of Authority
David Sanzo

The proper understanding of authority not only entails submission to authority but also the proper exercise of authority. Authority can very easily be misused, especially on the mission’s field where one may be so far away from the organizational authority above him or her. It can also be easily misused in any other situation where the authority above us may be so far away (or is perceived to be detached from direct involvement) and unlikely to discipline us. A misunderstanding of authority causes its misuse and abuse, which, in turn, forms an incorrect relationship with the authorities above us. This, in turn, causes rejection by God, the loss of authority and its benefits, and even results in unanswered prayers (I Peter 3 :7).

This is seen in the life of King Saul who did not submit to the authority above him, which was represented by Samuel the prophet and the priests of the LORD in certain matters. God rejected him from being the permanent king over the Israelites. Saul, in turn, began to misuse his authority further for his own benefits and tried to kill some of his subjects (David, Jonathan, and Ahimelech with eighty-four other priests of the LORD) because of his jealousy and rage.

Those involved in leadership should remember never to exercise authority out of jealousy of another’s talents or opportunities or because they are afraid of losing control. This is simply evidence that you do not know how to use authority or are refusing to use it properly.

Saul’s jealousy of David’s greater triumphs is evidence of his lack of understanding of the principle of authority. Our position of authority does not necessarily reflect our superiority over our subjects. We are simply stewards of God’s authority in the matter. Though Saul still remained king for a while, his authority kept weakening. When he needed an answer from God, he could not get through. His prayers would not be answered. This almost drove him crazy.

Finally, he resorted to using the witch of Endor to find out what his plan of action should be. His wrong attitudes toward authority led to his misuse and abuse of authority. This, in turn, led to the ultimate weakening of his authority. The heart of the people continually shifted toward David. In the end, when Saul’s prayers were hindered, he endorsed the ultimate form of rebellion -witchcraft.

Letting God Establish Our Authority

Our authority is not something that we should try to establish or assert right away as soon as it is granted to us. David refrained from killing Saul on two occasions when he had opportunity to do so. He was waiting on God to establish his authority. He refused to force the issue and assert his promised authority. Even when those in authority over you misuse and abuse their authority, you must not transgress by trying to take them down, especially if you are the next in line. You should submit yourself as much as possible until God puts you in place and establishes your authority. This will require both humility and patience. Nee observes:

“David was one who was able to be subject to authority. He never annulled Saul’s authority; he simply waited for God to secure his authority. He would not try to help God do it; he instead would willingly wait for God. Whoever is to be God’s delegated authority must learn not to try to secure authority for himself.” 1

Political Versus Spiritual Authority

It is better for those involved in the work of God not to get involved with politicking for promotions or for greater authority among men. If it is offered to them they should carefully consider it and gratefully accept (unless believed to be contrary to the will of God). J. Oswald Sanders writes, “The true spiritual leader will never canvass for promotion.” 2

What the man of God is seeking is spiritual authority. Political authority is of little importance. To be a true spiritual leader of men is defined by Brengle (as quoted by Sanders) as “a leader whose power is recognized and felt in heaven, on earth and in hell.” 3 He continues, “Religious position can be conferred by bishops and boards, but not spiritual authority, which is the prime essential of Christian leadership.” 4 And spiritual authority is what we are interested in – authority that ultimately can be expressed over sicknesses, diseases, afflictions, infirmities, evil spirits, etc.

To gain authority (especially spiritual authority with God) you must submit to authority. Always submit to and respect authority and you will find that your own authority will be strengthened. When you disrespect authority, you undermine your own authority. For those in the military, if the colonel consistently gave orders that were contrary to the general’s orders, it would not be too long before he would be called in by is superiors and questioned. He will probably be demoted and stripped of his rank (authority), possibly even court-martialed and be dishonorably discharged.

On the job, if a manager began to run the company contrary to the policies and wishes of the owner or board of directors, it would not be long before the owner would demote him or fire him altogether and find a new manager. He or she must exercise their new authority in submission to those who gave them their authority. In politics, things work the same way. No one is able to disobey the law without suffering the consequences, even if they are the ones that helped make the law.

Staying within Your Sphere of Authority

We must also learn to operate within the scope of our own authority. Nebuchadnezzar is one who tried to step out of the bounds of his own authority. He had a problem with pride. First, he built an image and commanded all to bow down and worship it (Daniel 3). This was outside the realm of his authority. Our authority is not to be used to elicit the love, adoration, and worship of those under it, though you will receive love, respect, and admiration if you use your authority correctly. But only God is to be worshipped. Neither is the purpose of authority to gain great riches. Its purpose is not to benefit you personally. The purpose of authority is to serve others according to the will of God.

When Daniel prophesied of the coming judgment of God on Nebuchadnezzar in the next chapter, he warned him to repent and mend his ways (Daniel 4:27). Since he did not repent, in a moment of pride, his kingdom (sphere of authority) was taken from him. He even lost his sanity for seven years. God wanted him to know that there was a higher power and authority to which Nebuchadnezzar still had to be subject. We never become so big that we no longer need God. We never become so big that we do not need to submit to God’s authority.

Limited Use of Authority

A person in authority can only effectively and properly use that authority to the extent that he knows the will of God. This is seen in the relationship of an ambassador or delegate with the nation that sent him. An ambassador is one who is sent from a king or nation to another nation to represent that first king or nation and their concerns. Barnes notes, “He is sent to do what the sovereign would himself do were he present.” 5

He is not to perform his own will but to perform the will of those who sent him. He is not to look for what pleases himself or benefits himself. He is not there to make new laws or make new terms without word (authority) from home to do so. If the ambassador does not know what is required of him he will not be able to effectively use his authority. But when he knows what is the will of those who sent him, he can work towards the accomplishments of that goal.

“An ambassador has no independent position, no independent authority. What he is, he is because he represents the king or nation that has commissioned him to bear their message. Instructions are given him, and he must not exceed them…. He is the mouthpiece of others.” 6

To go beyond what he has been commissioned to do is to misuse his authority. As ambassadors of Christ (II Corinthians 5:20) the church has all the authority of our Lord, to represent Him in this world. We can only use that authority effectively to the extent we know His will. Individually (for ourselves and for our church or organization), we must learn where the lines of authority are found and how it is to be used.

In the church, if we go beyond that which we have been commissioned to do by Jesus Christ, we have misused or abused our authority. A missionary who seeks to establish something other than the work of God in his area is stepping over the bounds of his authority. Even a secular leader can only properly use his or her authority to the extent they understand the will of God. Their authority must be used to advance the cause of righteousness. If they do not understand God’s will or refuse to work His will, they are misusing or abusing their authority.

We must understand what kind of authority we possess, the extent of that authority, and where it ends. As long as you operate within this circle in obedience to God and submission to all delegated authority, you are safe and your authority will increase. On the other hand, if you overstep your authority, you will open yourself to failures, embarrassment, the loss of authority, and even personal hurt and ruin. We must recognize that a little authority that we may possess in one area does not open the whole world to our authority. We must know when to speak and when not to speak, when to act and when to be still.

The missionary (whether at home or abroad) must be careful not to overstep his authority. He or she must not fall into the trap of believing that because he or she is a “big shot” with some authority from God and, perhaps, his or her organization, that they have a right to disobey the local authorities. He or she must careful not to think that they can treat their congregation or the nationals as their servants.

This applies to all those in Christian ‘leadership. A father and husband must not use his authority to treat his family as his slaves or “loyal subjects.” He must not provoke his children to wrath. A pastor must not use his authority to manipulate his congregation for selfish purposes. In every case, there is a responsibility that accompanies our authority. We have a responsibility to use our authority in a way to do the will of God: to help, build up, make strong, and edify those under our authority. We are not to take the world’s concept of authority and bring it into the church. We are not to use authority for selfish purposes.

A Servant’s Heart

“In the realm of politics and commerce, humility is a quality neither coveted or required. There the leader needs and seeks prominence and publicity. But in God’s scale of values, humility stands very high.” 7 In fact, I Peter 5:1-4 reminds us not to be lords or masters over those placed beneath our authority. We must have a servant’s heart or mode of thinking, looking to serve, to help. We are to lead by example, not by force. Authority will carry its own force. We need not let our emotions run away with it. Sanders notes that “only once did Jesus say that He was leaving His disciples an example, and that was when He washed their feet (John 13:15) – an example of servanthood.” 8

Dawson uses the principle of a building to remind those of us in positions of authority to be humble. The roof is held up by the walls, which is on the foundation of the building. So authority is also held up by those underneath it who support it. 9 A pastor’s authority over the local congregation and the foreign missionary’s authority over the nationals are supported by those underneath the umbrella of their authority.

“Lord, help us to have a right attitude towards the authority figures you have placed in our lives. Help us to use the authority that we have been granted in a way that will honor you and cause people to love you, to draw near to you, and to commit to you. In Jesus’ name.”

This article “The Use of Authority” by David Sanzo was excerpted from the book Power to Tread on Serpents. It may be used for study & research purposes only.


1 Ibid., 161.

2 J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership (Chicago: Moody Press, 1967 & 1980), 19.

3 38 Ibid., 26.

4 Ibid., 25-26.

5 Albert Barnes, Barnes Notes (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1884), 131.

6 James Hastings, ed., The Great Texts of the Bible, vol. 16 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B Eerdmann’s Publishing Company, n.d.), 211.

7 J. Oswald Sanders, 80.

8 Ibid., 32.

9 John Dawson, 108.

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Putting the “God Factor” Back Into Leadership

Putting the “God Factor” Back Into Leadership
By F. Joe Ellis

Luke 6:12-13 NKJV
Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:

John 15:5 NKJV
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

So what is the God Factor?

In short, it is to know and understand we will accomplish nothing of eternal value without Jesus Christ! As leaders in the kingdom of God, we are called to be stewards of HIS divine purpose, not owners or lords of it. Therefore, HE must be the Lord and Master over every decision we make. HE must be allowed to cast the deciding vote and be the primary decision maker over HIS business called the church; otherwise, HE ceases to be Lord.

The example and instructions Jesus set for us in the above two scriptures are so clear to understand, yet admittedly, at times, difficult to put into practice on a daily basis. The pendulum of leadership styles, and protocol, has swung very wide over the past century, unlike any other time in history. There have been many positive leadership shifts that have brought the church closer to its original apostolic structure and pattern as given to us in the book of Acts.

However, there must also be a twenty-first century application to the example set by Jesus, in the above verses, if the church is ever going to quantum leap into its God-ordained potential. The God Factor must be a living daily practice, not just an ideal that is only talked about.

* Why did Jesus feel it was necessary to pray all night before selecting the twelve apostles? Did HE totally lay aside HIS divine nature and omniscience while he walked the earth as the man Christ Jesus, or could it be that HE was giving us a visible living example of the need humanity has for divine guidance?

* Are we supposed to take literally the words of Jesus? HE said, “Without ME, you can do nothing.” You decide!

Reflecting the God Factor

So what are the most important factors to consider when selecting those who will serve in leadership, or, even more importantly, in selecting those who are to be successors? Obviously, the list becomes endless when trying to identify the specific needs of a local church. The same is true at all levels of the church as well. No policy becomes more weighty or important than the process that governs the selection of its leadership.

To set in stone one particular method of selection in my opinion, would greatly limit the sovereignty of Jesus Christ over HIS church. Neither is this writing designed to say what process is best. There is, however, one overriding core principle that must take precedence over everything we do. There is NO substitute for the God factor! Jesus Christ must be given back HIS church and permitted to be LORD once again. Every church policy and procedure that governs this post modern Apostolic Church should reflect the God factor! Every church service to every business meeting should reflect the God factor! Every leader at every level of leadership should reflect the God factor!

Never forget-without HIM we can do nothing.

Quite honestly, how strongly we believe in the God Factor and how desperately we need HIS direction and help can be clearly identified by the way we conduct business meetings, choose future leaders and make kingdom decisions. How important is the God factor to you?

Who vs. What

Building an effective leadership team is not an easy process and more than likely will be one of the most challenging efforts any senior leader will ever face. The bible clearly proves that “who” the leader is, and the character and integrity that he or she brings to the table, far outweighs the importance of their skill and “what” their able to do.

Best selling author Jim Collins and his “Good to Great” research team also discovered this in their five years of research studying over three hundred different corporations. Their research proved that it does not matter what needs an organization has. The fact is, policy and procedure flows through people. Nothing happens efficiently or effectively without the right people. The right “who” has to be on the bus and in the right seat. (My paraphrase)

Sometimes this requires that those in senior leadership do the more difficult task of getting the wrong people off the bus. This is especially difficult when the same people occupy specific roles in the church over extended periods of time. Unfortunately tenure of service sometimes causes people to lose their servant’s heart. They forget the God factor, and become a lord and master of their position. Removing them becomes more difficult than pulling an eye tooth from a caged Pit Bull.

Taking ownership without taking lordship is not easy, but it is right. The God factor will always remind us’ Jesus has the right to change my seat and position anytime HE chooses. It is what is best for the church, not what is best for me, that matters!

The God Factor and the Right People

Experience has taught that rarely, if ever, do people who love God and have served faithfully for years, need to be completely removed from the bus. They only need repositioned in the right seat that better compliments their gifting. Time and experience has a way of changing all of us, as well as what we do. Why would we ever want to hold on to a position that is not God’s will and does not fit our present reality? Our gifts should always compliment and help advance the future direction of the church… never slow it down!

A word of warning is in order; there should always be much prayer and great caution taken when adjusting people’s roles and responsibilities that have given their life serving HIS cause to best of their ability. The church is not a cut-throat greed-based organization, but a life giving organism that loves and cares about people. Helping people find their God given purpose should be our ultimate desire as leaders. The God factor requires us as leaders to never forget that as well and understand we hold the souls of men and women in a delicate balance. The decisions we make will affect not only their present life, but their eternity.

On the other hand, to effectively build the right leadership team, the church does not just need people to fill positions. It needs the right people in the right position placed in divine order by their God given calling and gifting! That is the God factor!

Culture and the God Factor

Every church has its own unique culture or style of ministry based on the founding pastor or long standing Senior Leadership of that local church. Any congregation that has been under the influence of the same pastor for at least five years or longer has more than likely taken on his or her personal characteristics and vision. However, if their length of tenure has been twenty years or longer, there will be a leadership culture that has been shaped into the core of those people and it will not be easily changed.

That is why it is so critical for those who serve as founders or senior leaders of the church, be it local or corporate, to stay humble, God fearing, and never forget the importance of the God factor. No matter how long they serve, it is not about them! They must never lose their passion and need to seek HIS will in every decision they make; especially when they are setting the course of direction for the next generation. Leaders at any level and regardless of their length of tenure or level of sacrifice must never take ownership of the church. It was God’s own blood, not theirs that purchased it!

Since, we are dealing with the church, and not just an organization, The God Factor must be our first and foremost concern! When considering the God factor, there are some questions that should not be ignored or minimized. When the God factor is the priority, fervent prayer and waiting on God will precede every decision and leadership selection. As a leader, I would ask you to prayerfully consider the following questions:

The God Factor- Self Evaluation

* Is Jesus truly Lord of the church you are leading?

* If so, how intentional are you in seeking HIM on a daily or weekly basis, over the decisions you make?

* Are you presently and intentionally grooming someone as your successor, regardless of your present age?

* Can you say without hesitation, it is God’s choice and not just yours?

* Have you clearly and intentionally attempted to identify people in your congregation that God is raising up to serve with you at some capacity? If so, what are you doing to get them in the right seat with you?

* Have you possibly overlooked a misunderstood Joseph in your midst? Someone with a God-given calling may be hidden by God, until it is God’s time to make his gifts known?

* Could you possibly have overlooked a David in your congregation who has served you faithfully for years, but has such an off-colored past, that you have not even considered him as a worthy candidate for leadership at all, let alone to be your successor?

* Could there be a Peter God has spoken to you about; unlearned, rather impetuous, even bold and brash at times? But it is so difficult because there are others who are more qualified in the eyes of the people.

* Remember the God factor! Who among us would have looked at Peter’s qualifications and ever thought he would be God’s choice to be the key note speaker at Pentecost, and the chief apostle to the Jews?

* Would God be able to call and elevate a modern day Saul of Tarsus to lead us, using our present day measurement for ministry and leadership?

* Should God expect the church to accept a Saul of Tarsus as the chief apostle to the gentiles?

Yes- because of the God factor! As Bro. T. F. Tenney once said, “God has this problem: He thinks He’s God!”

A Call to Revisit the God Factor

Make no mistake about it. There is a “God Factor” that challenges the leadership paradigm in this post modern apostolic age. Education, prominence and talent, just to name a few, have taken center stage as the standard for leadership. God help every leader of the church to reconsider and revisit the God Factor. May we all who have accepted this high and holy calling to allow HIM to be Lord over who HE calls, who HE anoints, and who HE chooses to elevate to lead HIS church! Help us all as leaders to put the God factor back into leadership!

As God called, God anointed leaders, we have been trusted with the God factor, to act on HIS behalf, as stewards of HIS purpose and to serve HIS best interest. Because of this, I would like to present two final questions for your prayerful consideration.

Is it reasonable to think that if Jesus felt the need to pray all night before selecting the leadership team for HIS church, that we should do the same? Just a thought.

How different do you suppose our decision making would be if every planning or business session at any level of the church began with fervent prayer and waiting on God with no business being convened until there was an obvious release of the Holy Ghost to do so? Too idealistic you say? I don’t agree; I say let’s reach for it!

“Putting the “God Factor” Back Into Leadership”. Written by F. Joe Ellis.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

Posted in AIS File Library, LEGE - General Leadership Training0 Comments

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