Category Archives: Leadership Development

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All my past posts from The Desert Chronicle and Life Under the Sun have been archived here as well.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.

A year of leadership development

Shortly after becoming the pastor, I had several men in our church asking me if we could do some sort of Bible study or theology club together. Wow. There’s nothing a pastor loves more than a bunch of guys who are humble, teachable, and hungry for the Word.

Discipleship is one of the main priorities of a spiritual leader. In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul instructs Timothy, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” So, after prayer and some research, I put together a one-year leadership development program called “SaLT” (Servant Leadership Training). We started it in January 2007.

SaLT was fairly intense, requiring the men to read a book a month, memorize a passage of Scripture each month, and attend a 1.5 – 2 hour meeting each month for accountability and discussion. We just concluded the program, and I can testify God blessed every one of us through it. Here is an outline of what we did together over the past year:

  • Month 1: Introduction to biblical discipleship.
  • Month 2: Bible Study. Read Sproul’s Knowing Scripture and memorized Psalm 19:7-10
  • Month 3: Bible Application. Read Doriani’s Putting the Truth to Work and memorized 2 Timothy 3:14-17
  • Month 4: Personal Holiness. Read Bridge’s Pursuit of Holiness and memorized 1 Peter. 1:14-16
  • Month 5: Purity & Marriage. Read Alcorn’s The Purity Principle and Mahaney’s Sex and the Supremacy of God; memorized Romans 13:13-14 and Hebrews 13:4
  • Month 6: Basic Theology, pt. 1. Read Grudem’s Christian Beliefs and memorized 2 Timothy 2:15-16
  • Month 7: Basic Theology, pt. 2. Read Lutzer’s Doctrines that Divide and memorized 2 Timothy 2:24-26
  • Month 8: Prayer. Read Carson’s A Call to Spiritual Reformation and memorized Philippians 1:9-11
  • Month 9: Theological Orthodoxy. Read Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism and memorize dGalatians 1:8-9
  • Month 10: Love. Read Strauch’s Leading with Love and memorized 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
  • Month 11: Baptist Theology. Read Why I am a Baptist (ed. by Moore and Nettles) and reviewed all Scripture
  • Month 12: Evangelism. Read Driscoll’s Radical Reformission and reviewed all Scripture

I highly recommend a program like this for those who are willing to stick with it. The main drawback was that it was too intense for some of our church members, so we did not have the broad participation I would have hoped for. There were only about 7 of us who stuck with it the whole year. It allowed me to pour more time and instruction into those who are most eager to learn, but we need to also find ways to pursue and train those who stay quietly on the fringes. We are looking at possibly doing some mentoring small groups for next year – essentially now asking the men I have trained to take what they’ve learned and go disciple one or two others.

If you have other ideas for leadership development, I encourage you to leave a comment below.

Fridays are often dedicated to practical church ministry issues. If you have a question or suggested topic for the future, please email me.

The purpose of this blog

Last week, Tim Challies offered some sage advice to all those newly-aspiring bloggers like myself in a post called “All about blogging.” In it, he said,

So before you begin your blog, ask why you should want to blog. Ask what you can contribute to the blogosphere. And once you begin the blog, ask why you want other people to read it. Question your motives and do not take for granted that other people will or should read your site.

Since I just recently started this blog, I really owe it to you to share what I’m trying to accomplish here. I think you’re entitled to know my answers to Tim’s questions. As the old saying goes, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Likewise, if this blog aims at nothing or no one, it will only succeed at failing.

I started this blog because the Lord has given me a burden for leadership development, and I believe blogging is a great tool to advance this in the 21st century. I think many young men and many church leaders out there are hungry for discipleship; they’re desperate for advice, for encouragement, and for accountability. They need help on both biblical and practical issues. But they don’t always know where to turn or how to get help. I know this partly from experience.

I was very blessed at The Master’s Seminary – through both my classes and my discipleship labs – to watch and ask and listen to my professors. But what if that dialogue could continue even after men leave the seminary fold? Or what if those who never had the privilege of attending seminary could listen in on a conversation, and grapple with issues that are affecting other churches as well? I hope this blog will be a “virtual discipleship lab,” if you will, where that kind of conversation takes place.

On a typical week, I hope to contribute three different posts:

  1. Monday: This is normally my day off from church ministry, so I have resolved not to take up matters of ministry on my blog either. On Mondays, I will usually feature a quote, a family update, a prayer request, a fun video, or a devotional thought.
  2. Wednesday: On Wednesday, I will usually deal with some biblical or theological topic. I may share some gleanings from a recent sermon I preached, an excursus from my studies, or musings on a topic I’m personally wrestling through. I realize that when everything is said and done, the best thing I can contribute to the blogosphere is not my own opinion, but a better understanding of Scripture.
  3. Friday: On Friday, I will provide cultural analysis or discuss some matter of practical theology. I will share different ministry ideas, suggestions, resources, interviews, and perhaps try answering a question posed by a reader. I hope to make it practical and provocative.

The ultimate goal of The Desert Chronicle (later renamed Life Under the Sun) is to glorify God by exploring matters of life, doctrine, culture, and leadership from a biblical perspective in a tone that is both personal and pastoral. In other words, I imagine coming alongside each of you in this blog and saying, “Hey, let’s see what God has to say about life and leadership.”