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

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

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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.

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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

We Have Liftoff

Space ShuttleToday I’m starting a new blog called “Pass the Cloak.”

I’ve been itching to get back into blogging, and with the New Year just around the corner, this seems like the perfect time.

All my past posts from The Desert Chronicle and Life Under the Sun have been archived here as well. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to transfer all my old posts from Blogger over to WordPress.

The title of this blog “Pass the Cloak” is inspired by a story in 2 Kings. After years of hard and faithful ministry, the prophet Elijah finishes well. He is whisked away on a whirlwind and chariots of fire. Meanwhile, as the dust settles, we see Elisha left behind. He quietly picks up Elijah’s cloak, returns to the bank of the Jordan River, lowers the cloak, and experiences the very same spirit and power of God demonstrated by his mentor:

“Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, ‘Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?’ And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over” (2 Kings 2:14).

Elijah’s time on earth had come to an end. But his legacy and message would live on through his disciple Elisha.

That passage, like this blog, is a challenge for church leaders to effectively “pass the cloak” to the next generation. Our time is so short. As Paul told Timothy, we must “entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

Who am I writing for? First of all, for men in our own church who are growing as leaders. I want an online platform for discussion. Secondly, for pastors of other churches — to encourage and equip them to develop leaders in their own congregations. Thirdly, for students in the CBU Applied Theology program. But even more broadly, for anyone on the web who has an interest in spiritual issues and Christian leadership.

I hope you’ll stop by regularly and join the conversation! You can also follow this blog by RSS feed or click near the top-right of this page to “Subscribe By Email.”

Question: What ministry issues and leadership topics would you like to see on this blog? Share your thoughts by clicking here.