Category Archives: Leadership Development

Marks of a Servant Leader

“Who is the greater — one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” (Luke 22:27)

CEOs usually work on the highest floor of a corporate office. Captains typically reside in the largest cabin of the ship. Sales associates with the longest tenure often get to pick their schedules first. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with these arrangements. But in the upper room, Jesus taught his disciples that biblical leadership is servant leadership.

I have been meeting with a group of guys at church on Saturday mornings to discuss theology and church leadership. We call it SALT for “Servant Leadership Training.”

At our last meeting, I shared a number of marks of servant leadership in the church. Which of these are being manifested in your own life? Do you see any areas that need improvement?

A servant leader is one who…

• Doesn’t wait to be asked or assume “someone else will do it”
• Is willing to make commitments and then to keep them
• Never tries to just “get by” but goes the extra mile
• Looks for nothing in return
• Considers no task to be too small
• Always respects authority, even when he disagrees
• Makes time for people and does not treat them as an interruption
• Learns to communicate in a spirit of patience and love
• Takes a personal sense of ownership in the work of the ministry
• Is a good listener – always on the lookout for ways to help
• Is willing to give up his rights to put others first
• Enjoys walking in the footsteps of Christ
• Doesn’t give up – even in the face of criticism or opposition
• Learns to delegate, but always in a spirit of humility
• Labors and toils with a smile, rather than in a spirit of grumbling
• Puts himself in the shoes of others and considers their plight
• Is quick to give praise and express appreciation to others
• When he receives praise, he immediately gives glory to God
• Ends well when it’s time to move on
• Remembers it is better to give than to receive (Ac. 20:35)
• Is willing to admit his mistakes and learn from them

4 Sermons You Should Listen To

For the past ten years, I’ve been updating a podcast called “Feed My Sheep” with sermons preached at our church, sorted by date and book of the Bible.

There is no greater joy in ministry than studying and proclaiming the Word of God to the people of God for the glory of God. One of my life verses is Colossians 1:28–29:

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

It’s hard to believe, but our podcast site now contains more than 500 sermons, including series on Ecclesiastes, the Gospel of Mark, Gospel of John, 1 Corinthians, Titus, 1 John, and every week we are adding new content on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans. That’s a lot of material. But what if you wanted to catch just the “highlight” reel? Which sermons should you listen to first?

In our church’s membership class, we like to present discipleship as a four-phase gospel growth process: outreach, follow-up, growth, and training in ministry (see The Trellis & The Vine for more on this). For each of these four phases, we then refer prospective members to a few resources that could help them to identify where they are at in the process, and to facilitate further gospel growth.

With that in mind, here are four sermons from our podcast I think could help you on your spiritual journey…

For Outreach

Only Believe “(John 3:16) – A look at what is arguably the most important verse in the Bible. Answers the important question, “What must I do to be saved?” How you understand and respond to the gospel will determine where you spend eternity.

For Follow-Up

Spiritual Discipline: How to Improve Your Walk with God” – This was a Wednesday Night Bible Study I taught based on Donald Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian LifeUse this link to access the whole audio series and handouts, or get a sample by listening to the episode below on prayer.

For Growth

Love: The Great Commandment” (1 John 4:19) – Our sermon series on 1 John dealt with the question, “How can I know for sure I’m saved?” This sermon summarizes the book and our aim in the Christian life.

For Training in Ministry

Rise Up, O Men of God” (Titus 1:5-9) – The first in a series I entitled, “Fit for Duty,” on the qualifications of an elder. These are characteristics every Christian should aspire to, as we accept the task of shepherding those under our care.

Question: Think of a sermon that had a direct impact on your life (whether at our church or some other church or radio ministry). What was it? How did it change you?

Leave Your Mark

Few things bring more joy than watching young people worship the Lord.

A couple weeks ago, we had a “Youth Recognition Sunday” at church, with our youth group providing the scripture reading, meditation on the attributes of God, and special music. This was completely the idea of our youth leaders, and I’m so thankful they did it!

Since we just completed our study through the Gospel of Mark, I decided to bring a message geared directly at our young people — encouraging them not to squander these years of singleness, but rather to be an example to the rest of the body of Christ.

I didn’t get a chance to say it during the message, but this passage became a kind of “life verse” for me and Natalie during our dating years in college. It helped us stay pure and kept our focus on the Lord as we walked through life together and moved steadily toward marriage. As both a pastor and husband, it has become a special portion of Scripture to me.

The sermon “Leave Your Mark” is now available on our church podcast, or you can listen using the media player below.

The Power of Example

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

The past couple years, our family has been planning a trip to Medieval Times. Finally, last Sunday night, that dream became a reality. After church, we drove to Buena Park for the 5 pm show. The kids had a blast. The entertainment was great, food was surprisingly good with generous portions, and most importantly, we had a great time together as family.

The next afternoon, I noticed the kids were out in the front yard re-enacting the jousting they had seen the night before. Bicycle helmets served as armor. Sticks were now swords. Velcro mitts were shields. And jump ropes were now maces.

As I watched the kids slash and dodge, yell and laugh, I was reminded how impressionable children are, and of the power of example.

It’s a good reminder to us parents that our kids are always watching. It’s a warning to be careful what forms of media and hero figures we put in front of them. It’s also a reminder that our personal lives and conduct may be our most important instruction of all.

Our children learn to pray by listening to us pray (and getting their own turns to pray). They learn how to trust God by watching us trust God (and building their own trust muscles). They learn how to work by watching us work (and pitching in with a few chores around the house). Biblical instruction is important, and godly discipline is an important tool in our toolbox. But never underestimate the power of example.

Parents, you are setting an example every day for your kids. They will likely remember more of what they saw than what they heard. The best form of instruction is where biblical teaching is joined together with modeling. Imitation is powerful because we see gospel truths fleshed out.

If we wish to raise modern day knights and virtuous princesses, we should remember the power of example right in our own castles called home.

Stay On Target

7646836626_39a0b9dce4_b

Men’s Discipleship is one of the top priorities of the church. The past couple years, I’ve met once a month on Saturday afternoons with a group of guys. We called it SaLT for “Servant Leadership Training.” We had some great discussions on the Nine Marks of a Healthy Church and Biblical Eldership. But I’ve long had a desire to do more.

As I recently preached from the book of Titus, we need more of our men to aspire to leadership in their families and in our church (you can listen to the sermon here if you missed it). But it is not fair to ask them to aspire to something if we are not also providing opportunities for them to get the necessary training.

Finding the right time for discipleship is a challenge. Weekdays are pretty much out of the picture because our guys in the military are simply too busy and their schedule is unpredictable. Saturday afternoons have worked OK, but are not really convenient for anyone.  So, we’re going to switch to Saturday mornings from 8 to 9am.

Along with the time change, we’re also switching up the format. There will be 30-40 minutes of teaching on some aspect of doctrine or leadership, then 20-30 minutes of table group discussion. My goal is to dismiss after one hour so our men can be out by 9 and return to their family and ministry duties.

OnTargetlogo

To signify this change, our group has been renamed On Target. This name captures our desire to help every man in the church stay on target with God, with his family, and with the world.

Our first meeting will be this Saturday, April 26, at 8 am. If you live in the Yucca Valley area, you’re welcome to join us. We’ll probably meet 2-3 times per month. This is not intended to replace our expository study of the Book of James in Men’s Bible Study, but rather to help us dig deeper in matters of doctrine and ministry training the rest of the month.

I’m praying this new program will strengthen the men of our church, and am eager to see what the Lord will do.

Question: What do you find most difficult about discipling men and raising up leaders? Click here to leave a comment.

Photo credit: U.S. Army Europe Images