of a Leader
Living Word Missions, Inc.
P.O. Box 687
Wilmington, MA 01887 U.S.A.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART ONE:SERVANTHOOD *
SERVANTHOOD: ATTRIBUTE OF A LEADER *
Servant to God *
Servant to Others *
Servant to Followers *
SERVANTHOOD: HAVING A HEART FOR THE PEOPLE *
Take Responsibility *
A Compassionate Heart *
The Effects of Losing a Servants Heart *
SERVANTHOOD: HUMILITY IS A NECESSITY *
Keep It in Perspective *
But for Grace *
Take Time to Meditate Upon the Following Scriptures: *
SERVANTHOOD AND THE MINISTRY OF HELPS *
Lifting Up or Pulling Down *
The Ladder of Life *
Serving the Ministers Family *
PART TWO:VISION *
THE HEAVENLY VISION *
Dont Add to It *
Vision Is Essential *
Danger Ahead *
THE NECESSITY OF PRAYER *
You Cant Give What You Dont Have *
The Plan to Implement the Vision Also Comes by Prayer *
IMPART THE VISION TO THE PEOPLE *
IMPLEMENT THE VISION *
Practical Side of Implementation *
God Will Move on the Behalf of Sinners *
YOU CANT DO IT ALONE *
Choosing Your Leadership Team *
Handing Out Assignments *
Discipling Will Make the Difference *
Give Them the Authority to Get the Job Done *
THE IMPORTANCE OF TIMING *
PART THREE:STRENGTH, COURAGE, AND OBEDIENCE *
ESSENTIALS OF SUCCESS *
Strength + Courage + Obedience = Success *
Meditate upon these Scriptures: *
PART FOUR:PRACTICAL LEADERSHIP KEYS *
DONT CHASE TALENT *
EXPRESS APPRECIATION *
PROTECT YOUR CALL *
HANDLING STAFF CHANGES *
DONT MINISTER OUT OF YOUR HURTS *
PART FIVE:SUPPORTING YOUR LEADER *
THE ROLE OF THE SECOND MAN *
The Second Mans Heart Cry *
Be Faithful *
Just Do It *
Helping to Fulfill the Commission *
Day to Day Ministry *
Whos the Captain of the Boat? *
Second Men Need Help Too *
A Few Last Words *
POSTSCRIPT: THE ROLE OF THE SECOND MAN *
The Importance of This Message *
Let us begin with a simple definition of leadership. You must know what a leader is before you can be an effective one. A leader is one who motivates, inspires, challenges, encourages, trains, and equips -- take a moment and consider those words. I hope this definition of leadership gets planted into your spirit and in your mind.
An effective leader must motivate, inspire, challenge, encourage, train, and equip people to fulfill Gods perfect will and plan for their lives. Many leaders have that mixed up. Many believe that their purpose is to get people to follow them. Thats the problem. As leaders, you are pointing them in the wrong direction.
Leadership was not designed by God to be the vehicle for you to become something great. Rather, it is a platform from which you can help others fulfill Gods plan for their lives. Your motivation should be to help others blossom. An effective leader in the kingdom of God helps people to reach their full potential in God.
SERVANTHOOD: ATTRIBUTE OF A LEADER
Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses minister, saying Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel (Joshua 1:1-2).
Before you can be a leader, you must first be a servant. The word servant is stressed in the first two verses of the book of Joshua. Leaders must be servants. These verses tell us that Moses was a servant unto God. Our lives are to please God. We are to be servants unto Him.
Leaders must see that, and followers must also see that. We are all both leaders and followers. Im leading thousands of people, but Im also following other leaders. I have people to whom I am submitted. I submit to their leadership.
You may say that youre a servant. However, its one thing to say that you are a servant and something totally different when it comes to living it. Most of us probably dont fully understand what it means to serve. The following are just a few meanings of the word:
serve 1. to be a servant. 2. to supply service to. 3. to be of assistance. 4. to meet the requirements of. 5. to be used profitably by
Servant to God
Submit to Gods leadership, first and foremost. You may ask, "What does that mean for a leader?" It simply means that as a leader Im not doing my own thing; Im not building my own kingdom; Im not building my own ministry. Instead, Im doing what God wants. In my case, I wanted to be a U.S. Senator. I wanted to do my thing. God said, "No. I want you to be a missionary." Because I am His servant, my answer was: "Yes Sir! I want to do your thing."
Dont allow selfish ambition to lead you off the road God has set before you. For example, when you begin to go to conferences and meetings, the temptation will be there for you to start comparing yourself to others. You will see leaders (other ministers) whose ministries are growing and getting bigger what will you do? Perhaps youll find yourself in a large crusade with an evangelist who has 100,00 people there what will you do? The temptation will be for you to feel small and inferior. Those feelings of inferiority could very easily lead you to build your ministry in and of your own self . Trying to keep up with the so-called "Jones's" has been the cause of many a leaders downfall. Dont fall into the trap!
Be a servant of God want what He wants! If you are truly His servant, you will. That means that you will do what He asks of you. Submit to His leadership, and you will serve Him well.
Servant to Others
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another (Romans 12:10).
Besides being a servant to God, you should also be a servant to others. A servants heart is to please others, not ones self. As a leader you must learn to prefer one another. However, that is not an easy thing in ministry. Everyone wants the platform; everyone wants the limelight; everyone wants recognition. To prefer your brother is to let someone else have that place.
Take Joshua as an example. Joshua 1:1 tells us that Joshua was Moses minister or servant. He was the number two man. He spent many years preferring his leader. He was doing what many of you who are reading this are doing just going along, doing what is set before you. You could say that he had been somewhat hidden behind Moses. When Moses died, Joshua was suddenly thrust into the spotlight.
Moses had been preparing Joshua. As leaders, you too must prepare those who are your servants. Allow them to blossom. Many times, a leader is so dominant that he ends up doing everything, leaving no room for others to grow.
I lived in Liberia, West Africa for three years. We were working there, and the ministry was growing. We had approximately eight hundred students in the Monrovia Bible Training Center as well as some schools in the outlying areas. Things were going well when, all of a sudden, a war came along. In June of 1990 we left on a scheduled leave and then were unable to get back into the country when it was time to return.
We lost everything we ownedclothes, sound equipment, childrens toys, baby books, and wedding albums. Our vehicles were blown up by rockets. The house was destroyed. All of our ministry equipment.....everything was gone.
In two years all of the equipment had been restored. In fact, everything had doubled in size and magnitude. Those we had been discipling had blossomed when we couldnt return.
During the time we were there, these disciples/followers had always deferred to us. When I was on the platform, these young men would say, "Oh, Bro. Russ, you preach." They expected me to be the one who stepped out in the Spirit and moved in the gifts. They would just sit back. Yet, I found they began stepping out once I was out of the way. They began to have an even greater impact than I had had.
You have to let people blossom. Allow them to step out into what you have been putting into them and into what you have been believing God for in them. Many times, we are afraid to do that.
Servant to Followers
Not only must you be a servant to the Lord and a servant to other leaders, you must also be a servant to followers. Thats a little bit harder for most: "Do you mean to tell me that the ones who are looking up to me......I have to be their servant?" Simply said, "Yes." You must maintain a servants heart. Jesus gave us the best example in John 13:13-14 when He told His disciples, "You call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one anothers feet." The Lord took the part of a servant, washing the feet of His own disciples. Thats servanthood; how much more should we be servants.
Have you ever had your feet washed? Have you ever washed anothers feet? What could be more humbling? Jesus used that illustration to show us that even as leaders we must keep a servants heart. Remember, its one thing to say you are a servant and quite another to demonstrate servanthood.
Write it in a prominent place! Place it somewhere where you will be sure to see it on a daily basis. I am a servant. I am a servant. I am a servant. Thats not just for followers. Thats for the leaders also. We are to be servants to the people. We are not lords; we are not masters. We are servants.
SERVANTHOOD: HAVING A HEART FOR THE PEOPLE
The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, And said, I beseech thee, O Lord of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments. Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my fathers house have sinned (Nehemiah 1:1-6).
The book of Nehemiah gives us much insight as leaders. At this particular time in Israels history, Jerusalem had been destroyed. The conquering army had then scattered the Israelites. In the midst of war this often happens. It is a tactic which destroys the enemy. We have seen it in West Africa. The people are unable to come back and fight because they have no unity; they dont have anyone to lead and direct them.
Nehemiah went into prayer, fasting and weeping for his people when he got word of what was happening to the Jews. He had a heart for those who had been scattered; it is very obvious by his prayer. Likewise, leaders today must realize that we too must have a heart for the people we lead. You must be willing to weep; you must be willing to pray; you must be willing to fast. You must be concerned for the people. You may still have a ministry or a church, but you will not be the effective leader God ordained you to be unless you have a heart for the people.
We can learn much by studying Nehemiahs response to the situation brought before him. Nehemiah went to the king he served and asked, "If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers sepulchres, that I may build it" (Nehemiah 2:5)? He had made his decisionhe would go and serve.
You, as a leader, will be serving God (the King) as you serve the people. The word "people" includes those who are saved as well as those who are not. Yes, you need to serve your congregation. However, what about the lost and dying? What about those who are the victims of crime and even those who are criminals? What about them? Its easy to become indifferent, callous, and hardened. For example, you hear people say, "Those people with AIDS, they deserve what they get. Look at what they are doing." Think about this: what were you involved in before you came to the Lord? Arent you glad that God didnt give up on you?
Nehemiah didnt give up. His heart was for the people and their needs. You must maintain that sensitivity. Otherwise, you will just be building a ministry. I dont know about you, but I want to build the kingdom of God. I want to bring others to Jesus and then help them to experience Gods perfect will for their lives, just like I am experiencing His perfect will for my life. Salvation is the ultimate, but the journey just begins there.
Be a servant to all who need you. By serving them, you will be serving God. If you do this, you will find one of the keys to effective leadership. Look at what the apostle Paul had to say: "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more" (1 Corinthians 9:19).
A number of years ago, I was in the largest Charismatic church in a particular state. I had preached in the church several times over the years. This particular time, as we were going through the preliminaries during the service, the pastor leaned over to me and said, "Dont go more than forty minutes because I want to take up an offering for you at the end. If you go past nine oclock, some of the people will leave. The offering will be down, and I dont want that to happen. So, dont go past forty minutes."
My heart was grieved. He was operating out of the soulish realm. He was operating out of the carnal realm. It may have been well intended, but its not the way God operates. I sat there and thought, "Oh God, Im not here for an offering. Im here to meet the needs of these people. These people are not my financial source. You will provide for me." The pastor wasnt thinking of the needs of the people. Where was the genuine concern from the heart?
We had one of the most wonderful moves of God that I have ever experienced. I preached for an hour and a half, and no one left. When I had finished, the pastor took up the offering. He was shocked. He said, "This offering was larger than the church offering." If I had stopped at forty minutes, my motivation wouldnt have been right.
Today, that particular church is running about one hundred and fifty people. The pastor fell into sin, and hes not in the ministry today. If you dont have a heart and a love for the people, you are playing with the things of God. You wont make it. It doesnt matter how big you are; if you dont keep a heart for the people, you will not be an effective leader. Plain and simple.
If you are to be an effective leader, the buck must stop with you. In other words, you must take responsibility for what happens as well as for what doesnt happen. Its not the peoples fault. I travel a lot, and Im around quite a few ministers. I often hear them placing blame on the people. They say things like: "These people, they just wont respond. The people just wont get involved. You cant get them to do anything. They just wont give...." The list goes on and on.
Dont blame everything on the people. Its not the peoples fault. Look at Scripture! People are sheep; they are followers. Its a fact that sheep need shepherds. Some of you are calling them "dumb" sheep, but could it be that "dumb" sheep are "dumb" because of their leader?
Youd better be careful what you say. Many problems happen because we as leaders have not motivated the people; we have not inspired them; we have not encouraged them; we have not trained them; we have not equipped them; we have not given them the mechanism to become successful. Simply put, we have not done our job!
Do not try to pass off your responsibility as a leader. If your people are sick, what should you do? Teach healing. If your people are in poverty, what should you do? Teach prosperity. Focus on whatever area in which your people are not responding. Give them the Word of God with accuracy and with some punch by the Spirit. You need to motivate, inspire, challenge, encourage, train, and equip them. They will respond to God when you do, for He has placed within every person the desire to fulfill His plan. However, its your job and its my job to bring it out of the people.
I worked for a solar engineering company when I was going to Bible school. God blessed me with my job. I was in a management position and doing well. In fact, I made a lot of money as the Operations Manager of the Tulsa office during my last year in school.
I remember once when we had a bad month. I think we had lost $140,000 (it was a big budget operation). The president of the company came in. Boy, he gave me a hard time! He told me, "Its your fault."
"My fault? Some of our salesmen got drunk, and some others quit. Weve had a lot of snowstorms. The holidays -- they threw us off too."
"Its your fault.
"No, no, you didnt hear me. The problem was that a bunch of these guys..."
"Its your responsibility. I put you in charge. I have given you the authority to run the operation. Do whatever it takes to make it successful."
I was mad. I started telling myself, "I was a salesman. Ill just go out and sell this equipment myself. " I was good at selling. I knew how to do it, but I wasnt twenty-five people. I couldnt do what needed to be done for the whole office.
You may find yourself in a similar situation in ministry. You must first take responsibility for those whom you are leading. After all of my excuses, it still came down to the fact that I was responsible even though I wasnt directly at fault. You cant blame the players of a team if the coach is not working with them. Look at yourself as a coach. You must invest yourself in them, taking the responsibility for what does and does not happen.
Losing your heart for the people will cause you to talk about the very ones God has given to you to lead. Most leaders who begin complaining dont even realize that they themselves are the ones responsible for the problems; the leaders are the guilty ones.
A Compassionate Heart
Allow me to give you another warning in this area. Blanket terminology is a sure sign that there is a problem with your heart. Check yourself out. Do you ever hear yourself refer to "those people" or "these people"? You are separating yourself from the very ones God has given to you. That sort of terminology shows that you are developing an insensitivity to the people you are called to lead.
A lot of beggars live on the streets in Africa. You see them everywhere. There is no Social Security; there is no welfare; there is no Medicare. There isnt a safety net for society. Crazy people roam the streets. Some of these people dont have legs; the lame are begging for money. You may have someone with no arms come to you, a bag hanging around his neck. You ask yourself, "How can he live?"
You must be careful, though. You can become insensitive: "These old beggars! They always come up, pushing... Theyre always wanting money." This happens to missionaries. They lose their compassion for the very people to whom God has sent them. It doesnt just happen because one or two come to you. No, dozens of beggars come to you. You begin to think about the amount of money you could give away. When you are in that situation, you must always stir yourself up to be sensitive to their needs. Dont feel bad about giving alms; God is using you to minister to them. Allow His love to come through you even if you dont witness to them or give them a tract. Keep your heart stirred with Gods love and compassion for suffering humanity.
You may say that this would never happen to you. However, think about it. How many times have you passed the undesirable on the street? How many times have you intentionally not noticed someone who needs your help. We, as leaders, must always remind ourselves of our purpose and place. Ask yourself how you might meet the needs of someone today. It could be someone at the grocery store, a bum on the street, or the attendant at your local gas station. Compassion is the key; keep your heart tender!
The Effects of Losing a Servants Heart
The loss of a servants heart will effect a leader in a number of ways. If you do not maintain the right heart and attitude, you could possibly fall into one or more of the following areas of excess: 1)money, 2) pride, and/or 3) power.
The loss of a servants heart can lead to excess in the area of money. Its one thing when you are dealing with $1,000 per month, but its another when you are dealing with $150,000. There are heads of ministries today who handle millions. If I dont maintain a servants heart when everyone is promoting and pushing me (or you) the leader up, it will be very easy for me to fall into excess where money is concerned.
I can begin thinking that its my money. "Bless God, I deserve this. The Head of General Motors earns $500,000 per year." This is how leaders can start rationalizing these things. "Im getting fifty million dollars each year for this ministry. Theres nothing wrong with me getting a salary of a million per year...or even two million." Wait a minute! You are a servant. Dont allow yourself to fall into excess in the area of money.
Leaders can also fall into excess in the area of pride. When people begin to adore you and place you on a pedestal, you can fall into the trap of expecting the adoration from those who follow you. The temptation will be there for you to begin to take personal credit for what God is doing through you.
All leaders must be careful that the ministry God has called you to doesnt become "your ministry". Whether you have twenty people today or thousands, it is never "yours". You can hear ministers everyday who say, "My ministry.... My church.... Im doing this.... Im doing that...." The Apostle Paul said that it was no longer he that lived but Christ in him; he was crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20). Remember, the ministry God has placed you in is His, not yours.
Let me equate it for you. What would you think of the governor of Florida if he were to begin talking about "his state" on television? "Florida is my state, and Im not going to let anybody mess with my state! Im going to talk to the President." You might think that he has the right to do that because he is the governor, but what if that happened week after week and month after month? You would probably begin to question him, "Wait a minute! This is our state." You would probably begin to wonder if pretty soon he would believe it was "his" and start acting that way. No longer would he be the public servant he had been elected to be (but rather a tyrant).
Does this happen in ministry? Absolutely! One of the biggest challenges for ministers is for them not to develop an "I" problem. For you see, words are powerful (i.e., "my ministry, my church, my people"). Intentionally or unintentionally, it doesnt matter. Your words will capture you. You will begin to believe that it is your ministry and your church. Instead of "my," a leader should refer to the ministry as "our".
Your words are a mirror of your heart. Be careful! For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34). If you are not careful, you can give place to a controlling spirit. Therefore, I refer to our staff when I discuss the ministry. Im just one of the many. Im part of a ship, so to speak. I just happen to sit in the captains chair, but it isnt my ship. If God wants to move me, then someone else will sit in the captains chair.
If you dont keep things in perspective, you will lose all the way around. What if the Lord tells you to move? Ive heard pastors say, "I will never leave my church. Im here for a lifetime; Im here permanently. Im going to do this....and that." Dont fall into that trap. Follow the Lords leading and His direction. Remember who is the head of the Church (universally and locally); its Jesus church, not yours. He is the Head.
A third area of excess is closely associated with the second. Leaders can get caught up in the power that people give to us. People give us power through finances, adoration, and through their own servanthood. If you arent careful, you can begin exacting submission from those who follow you. Just remember that submission without love is bondage; submission without love is slavery.
Let me take this opportunity to share something with you. You do not become a leader by simply telling people to submit to you. The Holy Spirit once told me, "The best way to get people to follow you is by not trying to get them to follow you. Those you lead will want to follow you as they see you following God and the effect that obedience has on your life. They will follow you as you follow Jesus." Never ask or expect people to follow you; ask them to follow the Jesus in you. Hes the One who will enable you to lead, guide, and direct. When people see God in you, they will want to follow the grace of God upon you and in you.
We have been taught, and rightly so, to honor the man of God. In fact, for too long we saw little or no honor given. However, the man who is adored can begin believing: "Yes, bless God! Ive got a church of 5,000" or "Ive got a church of 10,000." All of a sudden, the man has a following, and the temptation is to lord his position over the people -- "If you cross me, Ill put you out..." Wait a minute! Youre a servant.
You do not have the right to exercise your will over others. It is not a leaders right or privilege to misuse his place of authority. We saw excesses in this area of submission during the "Shepherding Movement" of a number of years ago (i.e., having to gain permission to marry a certain person).
Let me give you a personal example. I have young ministers who work with me. I sometimes see them making decisions that I know are wrong; I know theyre missing God. Yet, I dont say anything to them. Unless they come to me and ask, I will not say anything to them. Its none of my business. Their decisions are between themselves and God. Even if they do come to me, I will not tell them what they should do. I will advise them by the Word, only giving them my personal opinion if they ask for it. Now, I am not talking about the area of sin but the area of choice on decisions about their life and ministry.
God has given each human being a sovereign will. You may want to help John find Gods will, but the Lord would rather John find out His will than have you or me tell John what we believe it is. God would rather lead someone personally than to have you telling them what to do. It is not a leaders place to tell others what to do. If this begins to happen, the leader will find himself trying to control one, five, ten, one hundred...(with good motives). It is easy to begin thinking that you have all these people to take care of, to lead, to guide, and to direct. You have just tried to take over the Lords job. Youre not God! Youll mess it up. Remember that Romans 8:14 tells us that the sons and daughters of God are led by the Spirit of God, not by you.
I say it all the time. I have enough work just taking care of my wife, two daughters, and three goldfish. Im serious. I dont need to try to control anyone else. It is true that I now find myself in a situation where I am a leader to literally thousands of people. So, it is even more important that I realize my place. I must point people to Christ. If I tell them to follow me (me, in and of my own self), Im going to have problems. I should, instead, have them follow me as I follow Christ (just as the Apostle Paul did).
A leader must stay pressed in to God, hearing from Him and then conveying what He is saying to the people. Your responsibility isnt to get them to follow you personally or to tell them exactly what each one of them needs to do. Your responsibility is to get the people you lead looking to the Lord for themselves.
Dont lose your heart for the people! Let me say it again: "Dont lose your heart for the people!" Your success as a leader depends on it.
SERVANTHOOD: HUMILITY IS A NECESSITY
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes be open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my fathers house have sinned (Nehemiah 1:6).
A leader must walk in humility in order to be effective; it is a necessity. You can see Nehemiahs humility in his prayer to the Lord. He is coming to the Lord on the behalf of his people, humbling himself in the process. You must see yourself as crucified (dead to self) in order to be an effective leader. Pride (the opposite of humility) will tear you down and cause you to fall, whereas humility will bring honor (Proverbs 29:23). Be wise; walk in humility.
Walking in humility will cause the grace of God to have full reign in your life. If you do not see yourself as crucified, you will not realize that the grace, the gifting, the ability, the favor, the provision, the anointing, the miracles, the signs, the utterance, the wonders, and the ability all come from God. They are not because of you; His grace alone causes all of these things to happen. If you do not see yourself as crucified, if you dont live that crucified life, and if you dont die daily (1 Cor. 15:31), you will frustrate Gods full provision for the ministry to which He has called you.
You may hear yourself say things like, "I just dont understand why this isnt working. I dont understand why this isnt going well for me." You may see others who have been blessed, and you cant understand why the same isnt happening for you. Ask yourself what is frustrating Gods grace in your life. Look at Galatians 2:20-21 to see if you are living the crucified life:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
The crucified life is a life of humility. You must lead a life of humility if you desire to be an effective leader. When you are living that life you will not be seeking attention. You will, instead, focus on the needs of others (preferring others; honoring others; caring for others). When you begin to walk in humility in a greater degree, you will find that the grace of God will also increase in your life.
The anointing will increase; the favor will increase; the finances will increase, and it wont be because you are doing something great. We have seen it time and time again. Keep the "I" out, and you will grow and increase. You must keep it out of both your mentality and your vocabulary. The "I" will frustrate Gods grace in your life, for God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).
Get it straight in your heart and mindwhat God does is not contingent upon me or upon you. His plans will still go forward; His work will still get done. Jesus is coming back whether you do your part or not. If this is true, then its not a matter of God working with you, is it? In fact, you and I are privileged to be working with Him. Our attitude to the Lord should be one of thanks. Thank Him for the privilege. This is no time to get into pride.
There needs to be a genuine work of humility in the hearts of us all. If you get it straight and keep it that way, you wont become a prima donna. You will, instead, be a humble servant whom God can use.
Let me tell another story to illustrate what I am saying. I was speaking in a large convention here in the United States. I had been asked to share a ten or fifteen minute testimony. I started out by saying, "I just want to share with you what God is doing in West Africa." I went on to tell them of the work.
After I had finished some friends from Bible school called me over and said, "Russ, thats wonderful, but you dont have to be so humble about it. We know Gods doing it. You dont have to be so humble." I thought, "Im not trying to be anything." A dog barks because its a dog, and a cat meows because its a cat. It wasnt a matter of acting humble. That was the reality of what was in my heart.
We have gotten so far away from humility that these things sound strange to our ears. It just shouldnt be! The Lord Jesus Himself even dealt with this during His walk here on earth as a servant to the Lord:
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God..." (Matt. 19:16-17).
Cant you just hear Peter or one of the other disciples: "Oh, Jesus. Dont be so humble. You open the eyes of the blind and raise the dead"? If Jesus walked in humility, how much more should we.
Weve seen how Jesus walked in humility. Let us also look to the Apostle Paul for another example. I dont know about you, but I find it hard to reconcile the fact that Paul who wrote so strongly concerning the authority of the believer in his letter to the church at Ephesus is the same man who said, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24). This man of God who had been shipwrecked, stoned, and beaten (just to mention a few) confessed that he himself struggled. His flesh and spirit warred against each other (Romans 7). He was a man just like you and me.
Keep It in Perspective
Both minister and layman must be careful. We can get caught up in titles. The ministry gifts which are listed in Ephesians Chapter Four are not nouns; they are verbs. Those gifts are functions; they are what you do, not who you are. If you do not have a clear understanding of this fact, it could be very easy to put yourself or another upon a pedestal.
When you have an understanding of your place it is easier to keep things in perspective. A function is nothing to be proud of. When you get the revelation of that, you will find yourself saying, "If it werent for Gods grace, I wouldnt be doing anything."
But for Grace
The Lord showed me something else in prayer which humbled me further. He asked me, "Is there anything in your life that would embarrass you if it were exposed publicly?" I had to check myself. Perhaps you should ask yourself the same question. Have you lost your temper with your wife or gotten angry while you were driving, and you sure are glad that there wasnt a video camera around? If it werent for Gods grace, I would have to say that I would be embarrassed. What about you?
The more we die to self, the more we enter into the crucified life about which Paul spoke in Galatians 2:20-21. There must be a circumcision of the heart for you to walk in the fullness of Gods grace. Our natural minds do not understand how it is possible to die to self yet gain, but it is true. The grace of God, the provision of God, and the ability of God all rest upon humility. What will you choose to do?
Take Time to Meditate Upon the Following Scriptures:
Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledest thyself before me, and dist rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard [thee] also, saith the Lord (2 Chron. 34:27).
...He forgetteth not the cry of the humble (Psalm 9:12).
Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear (Psalm 10:17).
The fear of the Lord [is] is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour [is] humility (Proverbs 15:33).
A mans pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit (Proverbs 29:23).
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:4).
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted (Matthew 23:12).
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (James 4:6).
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (James 4:10).
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time (1 Peter 5:6).
SERVANTHOOD AND THE MINISTRY OF HELPS
Helps ministers must maintain a servants heart. They are in integral part of the ministry. Unfortunately, the very same things can happen to them as sometimes happens to those who function in one of the five-fold ministry gifts. Whether it is intentional or not makes no difference, many can begin to do things their own way. When they will not flow with the leader (insisting upon doing things their own way), they affect the success of the minister they are to be serving.
And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amelek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amelek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amelek prevailed. But Moses hands were heavy...(Exodus 17:9-12a)
Moses obviously needed help. He was the man God had chosen to use in order to bring about a victory for the Israelites, but he didnt have the strength to do it on his own. You must understand that a leaders hands will at times get heavy when he is pressing into God, hearing the Lords voice and following His direction. He will need help in accomplishing that which God has given him to do. This is the role of a helps minister; he is to be a servant.
...and they [Aaron and Hur] took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword (Exodus 17:12b-13).
Aaron and Hur came along side of Moses to lift his hands and make them steady when he became weary. Why? For the battle to be won. They both chose to take on the role of a servant in order that the job would get done. This passage tells the story of a physical battle, but you must realize that when the man or woman of God is doing what needs to be done spiritual battles are being won. That is why it is so so important that there be those who will take on the attitude of a servant. When they lift a ministers hands, helping him accomplish Gods plan, the devil is being pushed out of peoples lives. And that means victory!
Lifting Up or Pulling Down
We, as leaders, need to have people lift up our hands. Just as Aaron and Hur played an important part in Israels victory against Amalek, so the ministry of helps plays an equal role in battles fought today. However, there are a lot of people in the ministry of helps who have lost their servants heart.
Every helps minister is faced with a choice. You can either be a help or a hindrance, an asset or a liability. You can lift up the hands of those around you, or you can help to pull them down. Backbiting, strife, murmuring, and gossip are just a few of the things that will pull someones hands down. Choose instead to keep a servants attitude. Keep in line with Gods Word. That will be the easiest way to get the job done.
The Ladder of Life
Another picture may help to paint this principal permanently upon your mind. Think of two ladders. On the first ladder there is a person going up. He is grabbing the foot of the one ahead, pulling that person down. When the man who is pulling the foot of the one in front of him looks down, he has someone below him pulling on his foot. Can you picture it? As each person grasps for the one above, they have someone pulling them down from below.
The second ladder also has a person who is taking the foot of the one who is in front of him, but he is pushing him up (not pulling him down). When he looks down, there is someone pushing him up as well. Every person on that ladder has someone pushing them up to the next rung.
Which ladder will you choose to climb? The first ladder in life will pull you down and cause you to pull others down, while the other will have you helping others as well as being helped by those on the same ladder. Think of each ladder as the Body of Christ. You can not jockey for place and position in the Body of Christ and be successful. It simply will not work. As servants of the Lord (whether you be a leader or a follower), we must prefer one another, lifting up the hands of those around us. As we lift someone elses hands, we will have others who will lift our own.
Serving the Ministers Family
Let me add a word concerning the spouses and families of ministers. In staff roles and administrative functions it just isnt the man of God who you are serving; you are to serve the entire family. I know of church and ministry situations where the people love the man of God but are rough on his wife and family.
Think about it for a moment. If anyone knows anything about marriage, you know that the man is the head but the woman is the neck. The neck turns the head. The way a mans wife and family are treated will affect him and the ministry. Keep a healthy respect for the wife and the role she plays in the ministry. As servants and helps ministers keep your focus on serving and loving the entire family.
THE HEAVENLY VISION
Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee (Joshua 1:2b-5).
In order to be an effective leader you must have a heavenly vision.Leaders must have a vision from God, not from man. Joshua was given Gods vision and plan for the people of Israel. He was given the specifics by God. Dont rely upon man; dont put your trust in man. You need Gods plan and Gods vision for you and for the ministry to which He has called you.
For example, the Lord spoke to me in 1983 when I was in Bible school. During a time of prayer He said, "Liberia, Monrovia, Liberia." I didnt even know that there was such a place (in fact, I had to look it up in an atlas), but from that time forward I told everyone I was going to Liberia. As I told folks about the vision, their confidence grew in me.
Dont Add to It
Be careful not to add to the vision God gives you. This is something that you should highlight, underline, and then never forget! The Lord can not bless what He is not involved in. I dont know about you, but I have had many an opportunity to add to what God originally told me. When I heard "Liberia, Monrovia, Liberia," that was it. When asked what I was going to do once I got there, I had to answer, "I dont know. Im just going there and do whatever God shows me."
Again, dont try to add to the vision or make it bigger than it is. Neither should you compare your vision with someone elses (look back and see what I said on page four about comparing yourself with other ministers). When you hear something from God, thats what you tell people (no more, no less).
The same principal is true with the things of the Spirit. For example, dont give people a false impression of the Spirits moving. If you are praying for someone in the prayer line and the Holy Spirit wants to knock them down, so be it. However, dont you try to help Him along by pushing them down yourself.
Keep the vision pure and the keep the move of the Holy Spirit pure. Dont add a thing to what God says or to what He tells you to do.
Vision Is Essential
If you do not have vision, you will be wandering aimlessly. Press into God; He will tell you exactly what you are to do. Leaders, take the time that is necessary to get the plan from God. Walk with Him; talk to Him; get His direction.
Followers want stability in their leaders. They want direction. How can you lead someone somewhere if you yourself do not know where you are going. It sounds elementary, but you would be surprised how many "leaders" are trying to do the work of the Lord with no real purpose or plan.
You can not expect people to follow your lead if you are not willing to get Gods direction. No one would expect a businessman to make an investment in a company which wasnt stable, a company which only followed after fads and the latest market tip. Neither should we expect Gods people to follow after a minister/leader who doesnt know where he is going or how he is to get there.
Just as Joshua received the heavenly vision for the children of Israel so did Nehemiah receive the vision for the work the Lord had for him (Nehemiah 2:4-5). Follow their lead. Dont head into a program or plan without having the Lords direction.
Once you have His direction, your next step is to impart that vision to the people who are to follow you. You can not expect them to follow you blindly. Know that you know that you know what it is that the Lord is telling you and then go out and share it.
I cant stress it enoughplease dont start without getting Gods vision for you and for the ministry. There will be danger ahead if you begin without His vision. How can you get to where you are supposed to be going if you dont have His map? You will be aimlessly wandering all along lifes path.
There is a story about a man who was a pastor for twenty-five years. He died and went to heaven. He got to heaven and saw Jesus. Jesus had the Lambs Book of Life open, and the man saw his name at the top of the page.
"Oh, bless God. Im in heaven; I see Jesus; and, my name is there. Im going to look and see whats written about me." He gets up there and looks. There was nothing written.
"There must be some mistake. I was a pastor for twenty-five years, Jesus. This is a mistake. Why isnt there anything written?"
Jesus looked at him and said, "I never called you to pastor."
How sobering a thought! He was sincere, but he was sincerely wrong. It was never Gods intention for him to take that path. If you try to do things on your own, you may accomplish something in the natural (but what will be left when its judged?)
Dont spend your time making plans if you havent gotten Gods word on the subject. Ill say it againheavenly vision is essential to success!!
THE NECESSITY OF PRAYER
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before God of heaven, And said, I beseech thee, O Lord of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments. Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes be open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my fathers house have sinned (Nehemiah 1:4-6).
To be an effective leader you must be a person of prayer. You must know how to communicate with the Lord. Thats prayer. Prayer is simply communicating with God. As soon as Nehemiah heard about the situation in Jerusalem, he went to prayer. I speak to ministers and leaders on a regular basis who are going through different decisions ("Am I supposed to take a church....make a change....build a building....buy a building....borrow or buy debt free....do an outreach....?"). Where do you find out what to do? Do you find the answer in a board meeting or brainstorming session? No, take Nehemiahs lead.
Remember, you are His servant. A servant must speak to his master before knowing what is expected of him or what he is to do. Therefore, develop a lifestyle of prayer. Learn how to walk with the Lord; learn how to fellowship and communicate with Him. Your answers will be found in Him. Nehemiah (the servant) went to the Lord (his master) with the problem and then went back to Him again when he was given the opportunity to do something about the situation (2:4). Develop your prayer life now so that you will know where to go and what to do when decisions must be made.
Let me give you an example. I was in Florida for a leadership seminar a number of years ago. I was up until two in the morning the night before the meeting was to start, trying to figure out the flow and the structure for the seminar. I was in a hotel room, and I said, "I cant get it. I know the content, but I cant get the flow." I just took all of my notes, shoved them to one side of the table, and then went to bed. I woke up praying in tongues. As soon as I woke up, I knew the way the meetings should go. If I hadnt already developed a lifestyle of prayer before I got to that place, I would have been making decisions based upon my own knowledge (successful or not).
You simply must know how to commune with God if you wish to be an effective and successful leader. You can be successful in ministry once, twice, or even fifty times and then make one mistake, and your ministry can go down the tubes. A lifestyle of prayer is a necessity; it isnt an option. Your prayer life must also be consistent. If it isnt, you will eventually fail. I can not overemphasize the importance of this.
Nehemiah prayed to His Lord for answers. The Lord obviously answered him, "And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem..."(2:12). He spent time communing with God, and the Lord put the idea in his heart. It didnt come from some personal prophecy or some vision or dream. The Lord just put it in his heart. Nehemiahs lifestyle of prayer had prepared him for that time of decision and difficulty. He knew the Lords voice and followed it.
It should be easy for you to spend time in prayer. Often, when I am ministering, I will ask the people in the congregation to begin praying during the altar call. It happens all too frequently that they pray for thirty seconds and then stop. Whats wrong? Why cant they last longer? The answer is simpletheyre weak. If someone asked me to drop to the floor and do twenty-five push-ups, I could do them because I do twenty-five to fifty regularly. Ive conditioned myself. What if I hardly ever did them, though? My muscles wouldnt be able to take it. Its the same thing spiritually. If I havent been keeping my spiritual muscles toned up and strong, I wont be able to last.
Youve got the Lord on the inside of you. If you build yourself up in your most holy faith by praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude 1:20), you will be exercising your spiritual muscles. You will actually be refreshed by your time in prayer. People who exercise on a regular basis will tell you that they are invigorated when they finish instead of being exhausted (like those who are out of shape). Prayer shouldnt be a struggle for you. Make a lifestyle adjustment if necessary. It will mean the difference between your success and failure as a leader.
You Cant Give What You Dont Have
The people will follow your lead in this and every area. If youre not praying, you cant expect the people to be praying. If you dont make it a priority in your life and in the life of the church, its not going to happen. This especially is true for your staff. You would be surprised to know how many ministers and those who work with them would say that they are "too busy" to pray or how many times a short prayer (a "quickie") takes the place of much needed prayer time. If its not in you, its not going to be in the people. The same is true in any area of life and leadership.
Lead the staff in daily prayer. Teach them by example. Make it a requirement. Prayer time should not be an option (whether you feel like it or not). If you dont challenge people in this area, keeping them stirred up, it simply wont happen. If people are not able or will not do something as simple as praying in a service, what makes you think that they will do it on their own. Keep them stirred up; challenge them. Youre their leader. Its your responsibility! Youre the one who God who has chosen to do that.
The Plan to Implement the Vision Also Comes by Prayer
I believe I have just shown the necessity of prayer in getting Gods vision for you and the ministry. The plan to carry out the vision will come the same way. If God is able to give you the vision, Hes able (and willing) to give you the plan. Getting the vision is only one part. Dont fall short. A God-given vision is not the only ingredient needed for success. You must carry it out His way with His plan.
Sometimes we focus so much on the vision that we dont emphasize the importance of getting Gods plan. We see the end, but were not focused on how to get there. Sounds like a good way to get lost! We as leaders can become so excited about the vision of having three thousand or five thousand that we start losing sight of the realities of what it takes for us to make it there. When you have a heart after God, when you walk in humility, and when you are crucified with Christ you will find yourself in the position where Gods grace can flow to you and through you. Coupled with prayer (communion with the Father) these will insure that you not only have Gods vision for you but the plan to fulfill that vision.
The One who gave you the vision in the first place will surely give you the way to implement it. Trust in Him; rely upon Him. He has the answers that you will need, and you will get those answers in prayer. Your success as a leader depends on it!
IMPART THE VISION TO THE PEOPLE
Where there is no vision, the people perish..." (Proverbs 29:18).
The people must have the vision imparted to them. If you, as a leader, do not share or impart the heavenly vision that you have been given, there will be problems. The people will not stand behind you, and why should they if you have not given them something to believe in. If the vision is not passed on, it will die and the people with it.
Joshua was quick to share what the Lord had given him. Let us look at what he told the people:
Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it.
And to the Reubenites, and to the Gaddites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua saying, Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land. Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them; Until the Lord have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the Lord your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses, the Lords servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising (Joshua 1:10-15).
Just think of it. Joshua had just been given leadership of these people, and he was already telling them what to do. Many would probably think that the Israelites would be slow to move, but lets look to see how they responded:
And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses. Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death... (vv. 16-18).
Never be afraid to tell the people what the Lord has shown you. It will give them a reason to believe in you as a leader. Remind them of what the Lord has said in the past (v. 13) and then go on to give them further instruction (vv. 13-15). Their confidence in you will grow as they see you step into that place of leadership.
This is not an isolated instance, either. Nehemiah found the same thing to be true:
Then said I [Nehemiah] unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the kings words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.
By imparting the vision you will be inspiring and encouraging the people to walk out Gods plan for their lives. Remember that this is your job as a leader. Give the people something to motivate, inspire, challenge, and encourage them to action. If they will hook up with the vision God has given you as the leader, they will do whatever it takes to implement the vision.
IMPLEMENT THE VISION
You must bring the vision into fruition by implementing it. Even having imparted the vision to the people God has given you to lead will not be enough. You must follow through, giving them a mechanism to achieve the vision/goal.
Joshua gave specific instructions to each tribe, and Nehemiah gave a job to each family left in Jerusalem. Both of these leaders equipped the people for the jobs set before them. This is what you too must do.
We at Living Word Missions implement the vision God has given us (to help take the Word of Faith message into all of West Africa") through interdenominational Bible training centers and their outreaches. That is our mechanism. If I didnt give people a way to take the word of faith into all of West Africa, the vision would flounder. Get the vision; get the plan; impart the vision; and then implement it. You must not stop along the way. If you do, the job will never get done.
In Africa, were teaching religious education to over 100,000 children each week in the schools. Whos doing the teaching? Not me. Im not able to do that. My schedule is such that I can not personally go to the public schools. Who does the teaching then? The Bible school students. Theyre the ones.
Thousands of Bible school students volunteer to teach in the public schools. They are reaching their nations. We have supplied the mechanism for them to implement the vision ("to take the word of faith into all of West Africa"). We set up the training through the Bible training centers; we supply the materials; and, we send letters to the principals to set up the classes. In fact, we have full-time staff members who set up the mechanism and then plug the people in.
We have testimonies from the teachers, proving that this approach works. They tell of their own lives being changed right along with the childrens. However, if I had just told them to go teach without giving them the preparation and equipment they needed, I wouldnt be a successful nor an effective leader. The job wouldnt get done; the vision wouldnt be fulfilled.
The same type of system is used in all of the other areas of ministry at the Bible training centers (evangelism, praise and worship, and economic development to name a few). We train and equip the students, and then we send them out to minister. Miracles happen; lives are changed.
You cant blame people for being slow to get involved. Just telling somebody, "Go be a soulwinner," doesnt mean that its just going to happen. They must be motivated to come alongside and help and then given the ability to actually do something about it. First of all, they need to walk with you. Then, allow them to watch you. Theyll start to get comfortable as they see how you operate. If you let them see the success, they will want to be part of it.
I once heard a successful pastor of a church of over 5,000 explain it another way. He described the way in which that particular church implements its vision to reach out to the community by saying that they get the church members born again, again. Now, you and I both know that someone is only born again once, but the pastor uses that illustration to show what happens when the people get involved in implementing the vision. The people are encouraged to stay out on the frontlines. The leadership challenges them to bring people in off the streets and out of the gutters. Hooked up with vision, they bring the people in. When the altar call is given on a Sunday morning and hundreds of people come down, its like the people get born again, again.
"Bless God, I brought that guy."
"Hes my neighbor."
"I brought him. Hes getting born again." They see the vision being implemented; the results are right there in front of them; and they get excited about being used by God.
Perhaps some of you leaders today would say, "That pastor is just lucky to have people like that in his congregation." I would insist, though, that if the people you are leading arent excited, its because you are not excited. Im going to say something very candid, but from my heart and in a right spirit. We all know that everything that happens at a church is delegated through the pastor. The same also is true in a ministry with its director or head. If the pastor agrees to a womens fellowship, it happens; if he doesnt, it doesnt. Isnt that right? Everything happens in essence through the pastor or leader. So, isnt it also true that whatever is not happening is also because of that pastor or leader. We must take responsibility!
If youre not stirred up, the people wont be. Once again, you cant give what you yourself dont have. Remind yourself what your job is as a leader. You are to motivate, inspire, challenge, encourage, train, and equip Gods people to fulfill His perfect will for their lives. Well, isnt it Gods will for them to be excited about their faith?! Isnt it His will for them to be reaching out, putting into action the plan He has given you.
I preached for years about spiritual hunger. You cant get people to do anything unless they are spiritually hungry. If they are not hungry, they wont do a thing. I would walk away from meetings frustrated, saying, "God, how do we get them hungry? I realize theyre not hungry. What do we have to do?"
Its obvious what is going on in America. Its the same storythe cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things (Mark 4:19). These three together stop Christians from fulfilling the Great Commission; they stop them from fulfilling Gods plans for their lives. If this is true, how do we get them hungry?
The best example I can give you is that of a person and a couch. He eats a big breakfast, sits down on the couch, and picks up the remote control to the TV. He becomes a "couch potato". After eating a big lunch, he goes back to the couch and continues to sit there all day watching the television, "blobbing out" as I would say. The next day comes, and the same thing happens. Well, isnt it true that when you have eaten so much and then do nothing, you arent hungry (but often find yourself eating anyway)?
Only exercise will cause that couch potato to get really hungry again. He must do something; he must exert some energy. He will be ready for a meal when he works hard all day. The same is true spiritually. We leaders have fed our people the Word and fed them the Word and fed them the Word until we have a bunch of "couch potatoes" on our hands.
These "couch potatoes" arent even using what they have, but they keep eating. They are not exercising their faith musclesthey arent praying for the sick; they arent bringing people to church. They just keep coming to church to eat even though they arent exercising spiritually.
Supply the mechanism for them to be able to start using what theyve got. Help them implement the vision youve been given. They must feel a part of the plan. They will begin to get hungry as they work for the kingdom....and then they will grow.
Years ago, one of our evangelism team leaders came to me very frustrated. He wanted to quit. He said, "Were seeing thousands of people lift their hands to Jesus on the streets, but I dont think they are getting into churches. I want to stop." I encouraged him to look at it from a different perspective; even if only ten were getting born again, it would be worth it. I then asked him how his team was doing and how the ministry was affecting them. He responded, "Oh, theyre excited; theyre on fire. Its changing their lives...... Well, when I look at it that way, it is worth it."
Implementing the vision not only affects the sinner, it affects those involved as well. The fire, the commitment, and the dedication which have their roots in the implementation of the vision make all of the hard work worthwhile. You will never fully realize or understand the changes (in the lives of those involved and those touched) which are made in both the natural and the spiritual realms . Supply the people with a mechanism, and then stand back and watch what the Lord is able to accomplish.
Practical Side of Implementation
You may be thinking that all of this sounds good but that the information by itself doesnt help. I know that the practical application of these principles is essential to success; knowledge alone is not enough. Let me share an example of how you can (step-by-step) see the vision and plan implemented. We will use witnessing as our example. It is the key element in our fulfillment of the Great Commission; however, just sharing Gods Word on the subject doesnt get the job done.
Most people are afraid to witness. I once heard it said that we Christians are the only fishermen who are afraid of the fish (and even the worms used to catch the fish). We in the Charismatic world have something different to offerthe Holy Spirit and the fullness of Gods Word. Even though there are a lot of people who are born again, many are not walking in the fullness of the Word. Renew the minds of those you minister to; show them what they have to offer someone through Christ.
First, you must give the vision. Tell the people you are leading how God has directed you (as a body) to reach out to your community. Secondly, give them a plan: "We would like to do something special for the community, and we want you to be involved. We will be meeting on Saturday morning from nine to eleven thirty. It will only be two and a half hours. Thats all the time you have to invest." If you get behind it, the people will follow. If you are inspired, it will inspire others.
The next step is to implement the plan youve given to the people. Meet together on the Saturday morning as planned. You may have to use the first meeting for a training session before you have them go out. After that, begin each Saturday with thirty minutes of prayer. A typical scenario would be as follows: 1) come together and pray, 2) send them out in pairs, 3) have them go to a neighborhood, and 4) tell them to visit a maximum of three houses. Make the goals attainable; three houses wont be too big of a challenge. Have them keep track of the houses as they go along.
Explain to the teams that going out doesnt have to be difficult. Tell them to keep it simple: "Hello. Were from ______ Christian Center, just down the street. Weve simply come because we care about this neighborhood. Is there anything in this household that we can pray about for you? Is anyone unemployed? Is anyone sick? Do you have any needs or troubles? We would like to help you." Let the teams know that when they go in to pray that they are not to witness; they are not to try to win them to Jesus. Have the teams show them love because faith works by love (Gal. 5:6).
As we have already said, most Christians are terrified of the rejection of witnessing to somebody. Yet, we have the Word and the Holy Spirit. So, let's give them what we do have: the life of God and the power of God. Challenge the teams; dare them to believe that God will move on someone's behalf because they pray. Build confidence in them. Let them know that their confidence doesn't rest upon their own abilities but rather in the Word and on the Holy Spirit.
You will reach people when you implement your plan in this way. Why, you may ask? It is often the most difficult to see a person you love hurting. When someone is in the middle of a situation like that, it is sometimes difficult to have faith for themselves. The problem is beating them down. If you or someone you have trained goes to your neighbors and shows care and concern for them and their loved ones, they will be more open to you and your message. I am sure that you yourself can probably think of times when you have felt very helpless, watching someone you love hurt. Interest in someone's well-being (whether physical, emotional, or spiritual) can open the door for you to minister.
When a person's immediate needs are met by the Lord, they are drawn to Him. Encourage the people you train. Tell them to take one step at a time. Dare them to believe God for people's needs to be met.
I was in Monrovia, Liberia in 1986, preaching a couple of nights at a meeting in a church. After a service a man came up and said, "Bro. Russ, would you pray for me. I need a job."
I asked him, "Do you believe that God is bigger than a job.
He said, "Yes."
Then I prayed, "Father, I thank you for a job for this man. We'll believe that you will give him one. You love him. He's your child. We believe that we receive it now. We lift up our hands and thank you for it in Jesus' name. Amen."
After I prayed with the man, I went back into the church building. I didn't know that the unemployment was seventy to eighty percent in the country at the time, and I'm glad that I didn't know it when I prayed. Nine percent unemployment is bad, but seventy or eighty percent!
The next night we were in church. During the praise and worship I felt someone pulling on my jacket: "Come on. I want to talk to you." We went outside. He continued, "I just want to share with you what has happened. I had a breakfast meeting this morning. A woman walked up to me and said, 'I have a job for you if you want it.'"
Hallelujah! In less than twenty-four hours he had a job. He hadn't been working for years. Why did it happen? I have the Word and the Holy Spirit in me, and I released faith on his behalf.
It will be easier for someone to release faith when they are not the ones who are staring at the situation day in and day out. That means that you and those you train will better be able to meet your neighbors' needs than perhaps even they themselves. We have the power of the Holy Spirit. We have the Word. Certainly we can release faith on the behalf of the people in our own communities.
God Will Move on the Behalf of Sinners
I have been in large crusades in Africa where we have seen the lame walk, the deaf hear, and the blind see. In one particular crusade, eighty percent of the people who came to the platform to tell how they had been healed were Muslims. God's grace is there for the sinner. He will meet their needs and in doing so, He draws men to Himself. Instill that in the peoplethe Lord does move on the behalf of sinners. If you as a leader will get them excited about that, they will start releasing faith for sinners. When they do, they will see the peoples needs being met.
When you start meeting the needs of people, they will begin to ask questions. They will want to know the name of the church or organization. They'll ask, "What was the name of that church again? Where are you guys from?" Your care and concern will draw them in; they will want to be a part of what God is doing.
Even if no one starts coming to the church because of your efforts, you will be able to thank God for the lives touched and the needs that have been met. Then, sit back and watch what it does for the people who have taken part. I guarantee that they will be back in church, telling their testimonies and exciting those around them. If you let them share, they will infect the church with their enthusiasm. The rest of the church will want to get involved as well.
Here's another true story of how this has worked in practice:
As I have already shared, we work in the public schools in West Africa. In Liberia, for example, we have permission from the highest authorities to teach religious education to the children in the schools. We supply the teachers, the materials, and the training for the program. However, we've had to go about things in a different way in Sierra Leone where the Ministry of Education is comprised mostly of Muslims.
Since the leaders of the Ministry of Education are Muslims, the Lord gave us another plan for Sierra Leone. He told us to talk to the principals and vice principals of the schools. By doing so, we would essentially be going around the Muslim leadership.
The next time we had Bible school, I asked all of the principals and vice principals to stay after school. Ten or twelve of them came. I told them how we had set up the Liberian religious education program. I then shared how I believed that the Lord was directing us to do the same thing in Sierra Leone. They loved it! All of them opened their schools to us.
We began by supplying teachers, materials, and training. As the principals saw the program working, they became excited. When we asked if they knew of any other principals who might want the same program, they enthusiastically began to give us more and more contacts.
We now have teachers who are going into schools all over Freetown, teaching the children. Yet, it began with ten or twelve who became excited and began to share what was happening with their colleagues. I had shared the vision, we had a plan, they helped us implement it, and we've been successful.
Leaders, you must implement the vision. Getting the people involved will insure success. Those you lead will want to become a part of the vision as you motivate, inspire, challenge, and encourage them. You must then train and equip the people you lead to go out and get the job done. When you do these things, God's will for them and for the ministry will be accomplished.
YOU CANT DO IT ALONE
As a leader you will have to work with people to get the vision implemented. Although it might seem easier than dealing with lots of people, you can't do it by yourself. You need to have a team of individuals working with you who are hooked up to the same heavenly vision. You must, first, delegate spiritually by imparting the vision (which we have already discussed), and then you must delegate naturally by giving responsibility to those you have chosen to help you.
Think about a baseball team. Actually, go one step further and think about the team who wins the World Series in any particular year. No one person can take the credit for winning the pennant. The Team Manager didnt do it by himself, and neither can you. Yet, a lot of ministers somehow believe that the fulfillment of Gods vision rests solely upon them, their efforts, and their talents. How can this be? The pitcher, the second baseman, and the manager (not to mention the rest of the team and coaching staff) each have an important role to play if that team is going to win. The same will be true for you as a leader. The entire team must work together to see Gods vision come to pass.
Choosing Your Leadership Team
Choosing the right ones to be in leadership positions will perhaps be one of your greatest challenges as a leader. They will be the foundation of the team. First and foremost, they must be hooked up to Gods vision just like you. You dont want a "revolving door" in the ministry. If they are hooked up to you and your personality, it wont work. They must be there to fulfill Gods vision. Make sure you only give responsibility to those who hook up? How do you know the right ones? Do the same things Jesus did.
Church history tells us that Jesus had as many as five hundred disciples following him daily. He just didnt have twelve. Did he make leaders of all five hundred? No! He delegated responsibility to seventy and then to twelve. How did he know who to choose?
You must first realize that Jesus walked with these disciples on a daily basis; He knew them. Sometimes, we have been given the opinion that he just went into town and pulled twelve men out of the crowd to help Him. Thats not what happened. If you are to follow in Jesus footsteps, you must get to know the people who are working alongside of you. Secondly, Jesus was a man of prayer. He chose his closest associates after spending time on the mountain. You, too, must hear from God.
We follow Jesus example. In the Bible training centers we always present the heavenly vision to the second year students. We share with them what we believe God is saying for us to do in order to take the message into the nation. We tell what God is saying about reaching the masses with the message which will change lives (just as it has changed their lives). Then we explain that we need people to get involved. We ask them to pray about it.
We simply announce a meeting that we will be having at a certain place and time if they are interested. We dont require anyone to be there. We only want those to come who feel like God would have them get involved with the ministry. Out of four hundred students, forty people may come. Guess who were going to work with? Those forty.
We begin leadership training. Over time, we will minister to those who come, sharing more on the heavenly vision. We begin to train and equip them to be leaders. We continue working with them and, pretty soon, there may be twenty out of the forty left. Those twenty have pressed into the heavenly vision, fulfilling the requirements we have given to them. After spending time in prayer, we will then select the ones that we know are ready. Those chosen will be the ones we place in leadership positions.
This process has proven itself time and time again. Whats morethe ones who go through the training and are chosen dont stick knives in our backs down the road. We can trust them to not pull the rug out from under us. In fact, they defend us when the controversy comes; they speak on our behalf.
The reason for our success is simple: the leaders that we choose have hooked up with the heavenly vision. If you select personnel (whether volunteer or paid) who are not, you will have trouble. They will sabotage you.
You may believe that sabotage is too strong of a word, but Im telling you the truth. An example may prove my point. If the praise and worship leader isnt hooked up to the vision, hell want to do his own thing. Hell have his own agenda. When you as the leader are not there in the meeting with the twelve praise and worship people, he will be spilling his vision and his plan over onto them. Together, these things will sabotage and undermine the ministry and its effectiveness. You must make sure that the key leaders in the ministry are hooked up with you. They will then, in turn, impart the vision God has given and not their own.
Handing Out Assignments
Weve already established the fact that in order for you to be successful as a leader you must choose the right people to help you. But there is more to it than that. Think of the baseball team again. What if the coach chose the nine starting players but never told them what their positions would be? There would be mass chaos on the field. The same is true for you and your leadership team. You must hand out assignments. In other words, the players on the team need to know exactly what they will be responsible for.
In a church, for example, the positions or assignments may be praise and worship, children's church, administration, outreach, and missions. You will need different people in charge of each area. The person can be a full-time staff member or a volunteer, but there must be someone who is responsible for what happens in that particular area. If you are not specific in your assignments, things will go undone, and the vision will not be fulfilled
Once you have chosen people to head up the different areas of ministry, they, in turn, must choose individuals who will help them. They must also come to understand the importance that their specific areas play in the fulfillment of the big picture/vision as a whole. That is true in almost any organization or business, and it is especially true in a team sport. Everyone who is involved with you needs to know his place and the role he is to play in fulfilling the heavenly vision.
Discipling Will Make the Difference
Discipleship will be the key to making this happen. If you are discipling, you are investing yourself into those who are working with you, those who have hooked up to the heavenly vision. Give them what God has given you, and you will all be running on the same playing field. It takes time, sacrifice, and commitment, but it is of the utmost importance if you wish to be successful. Leaders must be very careful because it will always be more fun just to preach and run the show. You must be diligent in your discipleship efforts.
As you disciple and get people involved in the responsibilities of the ministry, they will begin to see themselves as part of the bigger picture. In other words, they will no longer be just a spectator at the ballgame; they will now be a team player who has an active role to play. You as the leader will be acting as coachmotivating, inspiring, challenging, encouraging, training, and equipping the members of the team to fulfill Gods game plan.
Give Them the Authority to Get the Job Done
If you are going to be successful, you must always give someone authority when you give them responsibility. So many times, leaders will train people, and give them responsibility (just as they should), but then they will tell them how to do everything. Intentionally or not, the leader can pick up all of the responsibilities he has just delegated and create a problem for himself in the process. For example, if you give Bro. John the responsibility of running the booktable, allow him to make the decisions. Dont go back and move things around on him; dont take things out of his hands. Youll be walking all over him; youll be hurting him whether you realize it or not. Think how you would feel if someone did that to you. He will begin thinking to himself, "I thought I was in charge of this."
This is not to say that you dont have control over what ultimately happens. Staff or debriefing meetings are the place to discuss changes if they need to be made. There is a time and place for everything. You want to motivate people, not discourage them. Allow them to grow in the jobs you give. A bit of trimming and shaping may be needed at different times, but dont kill them by cutting down all of their ideas and plans .
"Bro. Russ, I was doing what you told me to do."
"You didnt do it the way I wanted it though."
"You didnt tell me that. I was just doing what I thought best. When I prayed about it, I felt like this is what I was supposed to do."
Dont be a prima donna, someone self-centered or temperamental, who has to control everything. In the course of eternity its not going to make any difference where the chairs were placed or which book was placed at the end of the table, is it? Yet, leaders are willing to step on or offend someone because they have the "Im right, and youre wrong" viewpoint. Foolishness. When you act like that, you arent concerned about others, and you certainly arent concerned about their fulfilling Gods plan for their lives.
When you delegate, give those you have placed in leadership the opportunity to express the gift and the calling that God has placed within them. Let them blossom. Dont feel threatened by them. Instead, let them be involved in the flow. Give them the chance to preach; ask them to do the announcements; give them special projects to complete. Ive now worked it out so that I have less and less responsibility in the Bible training centers. We kept giving people opportunities to fulfill Gods plan, His plan for their lives, and now they are doing a wonderful job. They get along just fine without me. The same thing can be true for you and those you lead.
In fact, the two Bible training centers that I personally founded and directed are now run by national staff members. The school in Monrovia, Liberia currently has over 2,000 students, and the one in Freetown, Sierra Leone has over 1700. They are both financially self-sufficient. I no longer make the decisions; I dont call the shots. They hooked up to the vision and have run with it, making tremendous strides for the Kingdom!
Those you are leading will never blossom and fulfill Gods call if you walk on them due to your own fears. Instead, give them the room they need to grow. Fear will essentially cause you to smother them. It will also cause you to pick up the responsibilities you have already given them, overriding decisions they have made in their areas of authority.
Ive heard ministers say, "Oh Brother, I cant do that [allow him to make decisions free from my involvement]. He might try to do his own thing." If hes hooked up with the heavenly vision, it wont happen. If you continue to walk on him, fearing what he may or may not be doing, a wound will develop and grow over time (even though he may not say anything). Months down the road hell throw a fit and say, "Im quitting. Im getting out of here." Youll be left asking what happened.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TIMING
I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few men (Nehemiah 2:10-11).
You can have a vision, the plan to accomplish it, and the people to implement it, but if you don't do it at the right time the whole thing can fail. Timing is important!
You need to have God's timing. He may give you a vision and the plan to make it happen, but it may not always be the right time. You will find out His timing in prayer. Get His directions for each step. What if Nehemiah had just come into Jerusalem, telling everyone that He was supposed to rebuild the wall? Would people have listened? Nehemiah took one step at a time, getting the Lord's direction all along the way.
Let's use Joshua again as another example. Joshua had the vision of taking the children of Israel into the Promised Land. He even had God's promise that he would be with Joshua, but if Joshua had stopped listening for God's direction and timing, he would have been in trouble. One of the best examples is the Battle of Jericho. We can only imagine what would have happened if the children of Israel hadn't waited for the seventh day and the blast of the trumpets. It was God's vision for His children to take possession of the Land and His plan for them to capture Jericho, but success rested upon the timing.
Don't get anxious. This one thing causes leaders to so often miss it, making big mistakes which sometimes can not be fixed or repaired. If you do not rely wholly upon the Holy Ghost, you will have problems. Your natural mind will try to figure it all out, and your flesh can cause you to move too suddenly. Since He is the one who gave you the plans in the first place, allow Him to tell you when to go ahead. Let Him give you the green light.
STRENGTH, COURAGE, AND OBEDIENCE
ESSENTIALS OF SUCCESS
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do accordingly to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest (Joshua 1:5-7).
Joshua was given clear instructions that he would have to walk in strength, courage, and obedience if he were to accomplish the vision. Nothing has changed. Leaders today must also be strong, courageous, and obedient to Gods Word if they are to do all that the Lord has commanded them. Strength, courage, and obedience are not options; on the contrary, all three are essentials to your ultimate success as a leader.
strength 1.Being strong or having power. 2. a. The power or ability to resist force, stress, or wear. b. the power to resist attack. 3. Intensity. 4. A source of power or strength.
courage The ability to face danger without fear.
obedient Obeying or willing to obey, as a command obedience n.
Let us make it perfectly clearleaders must be strong and courageous if they are going to be successful. As you know, all of us look to leaders for strength in difficult situations. A leader sets the tone in the midst of trouble. People are the same the world over; they are looking for strength and courage. Your life should inspire them to go on and do the things that God has called them to do (even in the midst of difficulty); if you are weak and fearful (lacking in courage), youre not going to inspire anyone.
Our strength is to come from the Lord Himself. Ephesians 6:10 tells us to be "strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might". That means that you must stay pressed into God. If you keep your eyes on Him, you will be able to complete what has been set before you. Waiting upon Him (spending time with Him) is the key to keeping your strength. Just as a weightlifter builds his muscles so that he can be stronger when the test comes, you too must build yourself up by praying (Jude 1:20) and spending time in the Word (Acts 20:32) so that you will be ready when the challenges come.
Look at the definition of the word strength. If you will notice, it is not only being strong or powerful; it is your ability to resist attack. Knowing who you are in Christ and the authority that He has given you will be essential to your withstanding the attacks of the enemy. The strength you need will always be found in Him!
As a leader you must be able to face danger without fear. Those you are leading will be looking to you for direction. No matter the situation you find yourself in, fear is not of God. The Lords answer to fear is power (strength), love, and a sound mind according to 2 Tim. 1:7). In order to face danger without fear, you must have all three of these. You will not be afraid when you know who you are in Christ; you will not be afraid when you are ruled by love, for "perfect love casteth out fear" (1 John 4:18); and, you will not be afraid when you have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16).
Courage inspires others. You will be amazed how a simple word from a leader can motivate those he leads, even in the face of danger. On the other hand, the opposite is also true. One of the best examples would be the account the twelve spies brought back from their first trip into the Promised Land. Joshua and Caleb alone spoke with courage and faith. The ten others instilled fear in the Israelites (their hearts were said to have melted), so much so that the children of Israel refused to go and take what the Lord had already given them (Numbers 13-14; Joshua 14).
Strength and courage arent enough to get the job done, though. You must be obedient to Gods Word (both His written and spoken Word). You are deceiving yourself, if you believe that youll make it without doing what He asks of you. You may wonder why Im even saying this, but you would be surprised by the number of good leaders who have fallen and even more who have stopped short of achieving Gods vision due to their disobedience.
But be ye doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, be being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (James 1:22-25).
Leaders must have the spiritual maturity to look in a spiritual mirror. You must ask yourself so tough questions: Whats in me thats causing the ministry to grow; what is it in my own personality thats holding things back; where have I offended others; where have I stepped on somebodys toes? In a time of prayer recently, the Lord gave me the names of four people to whom I needed to apologize. I needed to send one person an offering of five hundred dollars that I had thought about but had never sent.
Be willing to be adjusted by the truth of Gods Word. You will never be able to lead others successfully if you yourself are not walking in the light of His full Word. Joshua was told that he should observe all of the law. Obedience will be your assurance that you will be successful as a leader. Remain teachable and be quick to judge yourself so that the work God has called you to do will go forward without any hindrances.
Strength + Courage + Obedience = Success
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayst prosper withersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success (Joshua 1:7-8).
Joshua needed all three characteristics to become the leader God intended him to be. There were many battles which waited for him, and his success or failure (and the success or failure of Israel) depended upon these three things. As a leader he was to motivate, inspire, challenge, encourage, train, and equip the children of Israel to be and to do all that God wanted. You too must remember these essentials for success.
Meditate upon these Scriptures:
The Lord [is] my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he [is] my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my fathers God, and I will exalt him (Exodus 15:2).
Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it (Deuteronomy 11:8).
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he [it is} that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee (Deuteronomy 31:6).
And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, not be dismayed, be strong and of a good courage: for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight (Joshua 10:25).
Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom [to] the right hand or [to] the left (Joshua 23:6).
God [is] my strength [and] power: and he maketh my way perfect (2 Samuel 22:33).
Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually (1 Chronicles 16:11).
Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness [are] in his place (1Chronicles 16:27).
Thou shalt prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes and judgements which the Lord charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of a good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed (1 Chronicles 22:13).
Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [ it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all (1 Chronicles 29:12).
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom will I trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower (Psalm 18:2).
[It is] God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect (Psalm 18:32).
The Lord [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid (Psalm 27:1)?
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord (Psalm 27:14).
The Lord will give strength unto his people... (Psalm 29:11)
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord (Psalm 31:24).
Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us (Psalm 68:28).
Blessed is the man whose strength [is] in thee; in whose heart [are] the ways [of them] (Psalm 84:5).
The way of the Lord is strength to the upright: but destruction [shall be] to the workers of iniquity (Proverbs 10:29).
If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19).
He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength (Isaiah 40:29).
But they that wait upon him shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not weary; [and] they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).
Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness (Isaiah 41:10).
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness (Romans 6:16)?
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.. (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might (Ephesians 6:10).
** Please note that these are just a few of the many Scripture references to be found on these three subjects.
DONT CHASE TALENT
If you are to be a successful leader, you should not choose people to work with you based upon talent. If you are running after talent, you will become disappointed. Talent does not make someone the right person for the job. Instead, you need to continue pressing into God, relying upon Him to draw the right people to you.
Those who draw close based upon the heavenly vision are the ones that you choose from. They are the only ones that you will want to hook up. The reason is simple: they will be faithful and loyal because their motives will be pure. The same is true in both the business and athletic worlds.
I was involved in athletics and coaching for a number of years. I learned a great deal about team-play as an athlete and then as a coach. I learned that it doesnt pay to chase talent. In the beginning of my coaching career I used to do that. Id look for the best talent; I would pamper them and try to keep them happy. While coaching basketball, I worked with young men who went on to play in college and pro ball. Yet, I found that it doesnt pay to chase after the talented onesthey became prima donnas. Theyd get big egos, become puffed up, and then try to run the show.
I found out that the best thing to do was to choose eight to ten young men who were serious about winning, and then I would mold them into a team. We would work together, and we would get the job done as a team. It works; Ive seen it. The first year we were 0 and 18 in the Greater Cleveland area. After four years, though, we were 23 and 1. We played for the city championship using these very principles.
The same is true in any field. Talent doesnt make success. You've got to have people with the same heart and the same vision. Thats the only way youre going to be successful.
Leaders, set up a mechanism for communication between yourselves and your senior staff. Staff, whether paid or volunteer, should feel as if they can communicate with you. Your attitude will be the determining factor, and people will easily see it. Take the negative side, for instance. If you are always losing your temper, cutting people off, and not allowing others to express their opinions, your staff will not feel comfortable in coming to you.
You must always remember that although you may be the captain of the ship, it doesnt belong to you. The ministry you are leading belongs to God. Do not allow yourself to be carried away with thoughts of grandeur and importance. That attitude will essentially stop all communication with the staff. Communication is key if you are to be successful in implementing the plan God has given to you. Trust the people you have placed in leadership positions; they can hear from God too. If you want people to blossom, they must know that they have a place in which they can share their opinions and ideas.
As a leader you need to show appreciation for people. I recently read a report which said that more people will come back to a church where they feel loved (not because of the preaching, the facility, or the parking). If you lead a ministry, make sure its one which shows love and appreciation, and that must begin at the top. If you as the leader dont show love and appreciation, guess what? Others wont either.
Appreciation must also be shown to those who work with you. Let your staff and volunteers know that you are really grateful for the work they do. Put a value on their time and talent. That is part of encouraging and motivating them to do what God has for their lives. There may be those who just need that extra word to blossom and grow. You are responsible as the leader. Never forget how important this is.
As a leader, people will be watching you (from inside the ministry and out). Always give them a reason to come back; never give them a reason to leave.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34-35).
PROTECT YOUR CALL
As a leader you can not open yourself up to everyone. There will be those who have mixed motives for wanting to be around you. Yet, you can not shut yourself off from everyone. Remember what I have already said about choosing those to whom you give responsibility. Present the heavenly vision, and the ones who press in are the ones with whom you should spend time.
Yet, even in that group, you will not completely open yourself up to them. Think of Jesusthere were the seventy, the twelve, the three, and then the one. As for me, there have been a few people with whom I have gotten very close. They have been very involved in the ministry, and I have been able to open up 97% or 98% to them. I can open up 99.9% to my wife, for there are still things you dont even tell your spouse. Right? Things which only God knows. Yet, there are some staff members I know who would in a casual environment get carnal; I cant share everything with them.
The problem comes when people can not handle seeing you in your different roles. Im speaking of ministry versus family or fun. I have to be careful to not open myself up to them. Some of those who work with you will simply not be able to see you relaxed, with your family, or having fun because they will tend to get carnal. So, you must know your staff well in order to know exactly how much you can open up to them. I dont mean this in a bad way, judging them. Everyone is different; all of us are operating at different levels. You will see people blossom and grow over a period of time and that will change. You must be smart enough, though, to know when to share and how much. Some will simply not be able to handle the way you put your pants on, how you brush your teeth, or the way in which you behave.
Protect your call. Choose your confidantes carefully. You can always tell someone something else, but you can never take back a confidence which has already been shared.
HANDLING STAFF CHANGES
Change will come to every ministrythat is something that we all know. However, your success as a leader will be affected by the way in which you handle them. Always remember that you never have the right to try to control a staff members actions or decisions. Trying to do so is always wrong even when you are motivated by the best of intentions.
The following example may help you when the time comes for change:
Your associate comes to you and says, "I believe God is speaking to me about change. I think He is calling me to go and pastor a church."
Your first thought: "I cant lose him." You probably wouldnt tell him that, but you might say, "I dont believe this is God. I dont have any witness on this. God didnt say anything to me about it. Certainly God would have told me."
You dont have the right to try to control his actions and decisions. In fact, you dont have the right to try to control anyone. If Gods telling him to change and move then you should say, "Bless God, brother. Im believing with you. Tell me what it is, and Ill financially help you with what we can. Were in this thing together."
When that guy leaves, you will have a bond and a relationship that will last throughout eternity. Hell be bragging on you, telling all who will listen that he has worked with you in ministry. Isnt that a better ending than to break off a relationship because you didnt get your way or to keep someone from doing Gods will because you dont want to lose him? I would think so.
You would be surprised at how many leaders do not take this approach when it comes to change. I know of minister after minister who become offended when a deacon, elder, or someone important on their staff says that they want to change. Strife is the result. The leader refuses to work with the one who wishes to leave, and there is an end to the relationship. Once again, a leader has no right to control anyone.
As a leader I want Gods perfect plan for all of those who are working with me. Remember the definition of a leader. A leader is to be one who motivates, inspires, challenges, encourages, trains, and equips his people to fulfill Gods perfect plan for their lives (not the leaders plan for their lives). If God wants a key staff member in China, I want him in China. Its soulish and carnal when you want to control people. God is the one who supplied that person in the first place, dont you believe that He is fully able to supply someone to take his place.
This does lead us to another aspect of change. I always tell the key leaders that they shouldnt plan on leaving unless they have made a disciple. If they have made a disciple and God tells them to go, were with them. Well, then you may ask what to do when you know in your heart someone is making a mistake. Unless they ask, dont say a word. If they come to you with their plans and ask for your input, then you may feel free to share with them what you think.
You cant help anyone unless they open themselves up and want help. Ive never seen anyone follow the advice of someone who has told them, "Youre missing it!" I have only seen it end in strife. Encourage people if they are ready to go, but its best not to say anything if you believe that they are missing it (unless they ask).
Let me give you another scenario. Perhaps you are the associate and feel as if you need to make a move. You leave the church and later realize that you have made a mistake. I have a friend of mine who went through this. After six months, he called the pastor and said, "Hey, its not going well. I think I missed God. Can I come back?" The pastor welcomed him back, and hes right back in the same position he left. What would have happened if he had left in strife? If you close the door in strife, you will be unable to open it again.
Senior leaders, if you really love those on staff with you, you will let them go and help them along the way. When someone goes, keep the door open; if he realizes that he has missed it, the way will be there for him to come back. Why would you do this? You are more concerned about Gods will for his life than you are about having control over him. What will the cost be if he realizes his mistake? He will have struggled, but you will have paved the way for him to be restored rather than his being lost. Love the people God has given to you. Keep reminding yourself who you are as a leader and what your function is. If you do that, you will pass the test when a tough situation comes up.
One time in our own ministry, a number of staff members were all getting "change, change" in prayer. Change. Change. Change. Change. Everyone was getting the same thing. One of our staff members came to me in the middle of all of this and said, "God has called me to change, Russ. I think Im going to have to leave the ministry. I think Im going to have to go out on my own. Gods saying change." I answered, "Its all right. Pray about it. If thats what God wants, its what I want."
The whole ministry team was picking up "change." It just wasnt this one man. He thought he was the only one. I wanted Gods perfect will in the situation. If He wanted him out doing his own thing, thats what I wanted. We both took time to pray about it, and over the next month it started to unfold. God showed him to move up further into West Africa; the Lord witnessed the same thing to my heart. The Spirit of God spoke in a number of different situations, bearing witness with our own spirits. We both came to the conclusion that he should transfer instead of leaving; in fact, he is still working with us today.
Be careful! Strife and a loss of relationship are both high prices to pay. I have a choice each time a staff member approaches me about possible change. I can throw up a red flag, telling them that I dont believe that it is God, or I can seek Gods will in each particular situation. There are times and seasons in the gifts and callings of God. He will ordain for you to work with specific individuals at certain times. If you try to control those who work with you, it will short circuit Gods plan for both you and your staff members.
You must always remember that anyone who works with you is accountable to God for the decisions they make, not you. It is God who leads them; He is the one who speaks to them. Now, if they have enough love and respect for you and if there is a solid relationship, they will come to you and ask for your advice before they move. If they dont, dont give your opinion. If they dont have enough confidence, maturity, and relationship with you, dont give your opinion (even if you know something). Its not your place.
Do not be intimidated by staff members who want to move or make a change. Remember, as a leader you have been motivating, inspiring, challenging, encouraging, training, and equipping those who work with you to fulfill Gods perfect will for their lives. You have been preparing them to do what God has for them. Show them your support, and if you have serious reservations, there is nothing wrong with you asking them to pray about it some more. The children of God are led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14). Trust the Holy Ghost and then pray that they will hear the voice of the Lord clearly.
DONT MINISTER OUT OF YOUR HURTS
Do not misuse your position and authority as a leader by using the pulpit to talk about your sore spots. So many preachers fall into the trap of ministering out of their hurts. Theyve been hurt by someone or something, and you can definitely tell it when they talk about the person or the situation. Its as if they have a burr under their saddle. When a horse has a burr under its saddle, it will never settle down. The same thing will be true for youyoull never settle down and get your job done.
Ministering out of your hurts will cause people to turn away from you and the ministry instead of drawing them near. Remember that you are to draw all men to Christ. That simply wont happen if you talk about your hurts and how you have been wronged. Take 1 Corinthians 13:5 to heart. It tells us that love takes no offense. Problems and situations will arise in your life and in the ministry, but you must decide now to take no offense. You will be better off if you simply stay away from those things.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in Gods likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peaceloving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness (James 3:9-18 NIV).
Your tongue can destroy the ministry God has given you if you allow it. Both life and death are in the power of the tongue. You must make the choice. Love will not speak against or abuse its position and authority. Choose to use your position to minister Gods love, especially to those who have hurt you.
I would specifically warn you about judging or criticizing other ministers from the pulpit. Dont even make vague references. Keep your comments to yourself (especially if you have been hurt by another minister). You might even be correct, but its not right if what you are saying is not motivated by love. Its not of God if its not motivated by love. If youve been hurt, just get in the closet with God and get it resolved and then leave it alone.
SUPPORTING YOUR LEADER
THE ROLE OF THE SECOND MAN
by David Orr
First, and foremost, every "Second Man" must be hooked up with a heavenly vision. In other words, you should never be hooked up to a particular mans vision if you are in a supportive ministry role. Make sure you are following after a heavenly vision, one that God has ordained.
Secondly, you must know your place in fulfilling that vision. If you have been placed alongside a leader to help him, your job is to be a support (to "lift up his hands"). The "Second Man" is to help the leader accomplish what God has set before him. What an honor and a privilege. You should not feel inferior or intimidated by the secondary place you hold.
The Second Mans Heart Cry
But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state (Philippians 2:19-20).
What a compliment for Paul to pay Timothy! Your prayer as a "Second Man" should be that the man or woman you help would write this very thing about you. That should be your hearts cry because you will be pleasing the Lord when you do what He has asked you (which in this case would be lifting up anothers hands). However, if you are not pleasing the one you are helping, youre just kidding yourself if you think that you are pleasing the Lord. The person whose hands you are to be lifting should be able to tell people that he has no one like you or as one translation says, "I have no one else of a kindred spirit."
With my supportive commission also comes a great deal of responsibility. As a second man you can no longer think that what you do only affects yourself. The leader can not do it by himself, and God has placed you right where you are for a reason. Never forget it!
I have watched my leader. I have made it my business to know how he flows, how he works. His interests are my interests, for how else am I to be like-minded? It is my job, and I must never lose sight of that.
For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church (1 Cor.4:17).
Paul trusted Timothy. He could send him to do the things he was not able to do. Paul could trust Timothy to get the job done. You can be like-minded, but its not enough. You must be faithful.
My definition for faithfulness is simple. It is the effort that you put into accomplishing what God has given you to do at the present time. In order to be a successful "second man," you must prove yourself to be faithful.
If faithfulness is the effort I put into accomplishing what God has given me to do at this present time, then we must not allow ourselves to slip into "going through the motions." When you go through the motions, you are not being faithful no matter how much you try to convince yourselves otherwise. Secondly, you can not measure your faithfulness based upon what you did last year. It is the present that counts. What are you doing today, and how are you doing your job? We are to serve the Lord with our whole heart. Remember thatyou can not be faithful unless you do.
Faithfulness is not based upon what your call is either. Your effort in fulfilling that call is the determining factor. If your heart is not hooked up, no matter what the call or the job is, then you are not being faithful. You can come to the church, have the door unlocked on time, greet the people, and still not have your heart involved. Ive been on deacon teams before that went out to the parking lot when the preaching started. The same goes for the minister. Its possible to walk out of your study and just speak. Neither getting the job done nor having a call of God upon your life makes you faithful.
Just Do It
My philosophy in life is real simple. Find out what God wants you to do and then simply do it. If you do what He has given you with all of your heart, you will walk in the peace of God. Its real simple. When you are faithful to do what He has given you, you will walk in the provision of God. You will have the joy of the Lord, and it will be your strength.
Dont wait for the right time and the right place. If the Lord has given you something to do for Him, just do it. Take one step at a time; you only need to be concerned about what He has given you for the present.
Helping to Fulfill the Commission
I already said that as a "second man" it is your job to help the "first man" fulfill the commission God has given to him. When you lift up the hands of your leader, you are helping to accomplish the commission, but the way in which you lift up his hands will also affect how he accomplishes his commission. His degree of success will depend upon how well you are doing your job. If you drag your feet, it will affect the lives of many people (not just your own).
Day to Day Ministry
Lets look at Exodus Chapter Seventeen. This chapter is a summary of everyday ministry. Verse one tells us that that the people had no water to drink. That was the situation. Leaders face situations in life, and this is one of the ones Moses had to face.
The peoples response to the problem at hand was to complain and murmur against Moses (vv. 2-3). Leaders may also have to face the negative response of the people they are leading. However, every leader still has a choice to make concerning how he will handle the situation at hand. Moses did a good thing - he cried out to the Lord. Leaders, this is what we must do! We must cry out to God. Dont try to solve it from your head. You will become confused (just like the people who only saw the immediate situation). Dont ask yourself how you handled it last time either (Moses made that mistake later on, and it kept him out of the Promised Land).
Moses cried out, and the Lord was faithful to give him the answer. When you cry out to God, He will respond. The Lord will always give directions to His leaders. What would you think if the general of an army wouldnt give his top leadership answers when they came to him with their problems? Our General always answers!
Moses obeyed! Just as I said earlier - my philosophy is real simple. Moses found out what God wanted him to do, and he did it. Leaders, dont be guilty of hearing from God and then not following His directions.
You may think that since Moses followed the Lords direction for getting water then everything from that time forward was rosy, right? Wrong! Once again, Chapter Seventeen is a summary of everyday ministry. You can not sit back and enjoy your successes. Remember that I have already said that faithfulness is not based upon what you did last year, and neither is success. There will be obstacles all along the way.
After Moses received the answer from the Lord and obeyed, the problem was solved. Yet, the next verse in Chapter Seventeen tells us that another problem soon arose: "Then came Amelek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim" (v. 8). The enemy showed up! Even when you are in the middle of Gods will, doing what God told you to do, there will still be obstacles. Enemies are still going to show up. A lot of leaders would have quit if they had been in Moses position. You can almost hear them now, saying "I cant do this. I did what God said, and theres still trouble." Baby Christians often fall into the trap of thinking that once they believe in Jesus, they will never have another problem. This just isnt so, and you know it. So, leaders, just because there are situations, problems, and obstacles in your way - dont blow it! Keep doing what the Lord said for you to do.
Moses once again had to make some decisions. The people were looking to him for leadership. He was the one who had to give direction to the people. As a leader, you must always remember that you are responsible for the people. They will look to you for guidance in difficult situations. In verse nine Moses tells Joshua to "Choose us out some men, and go out, and fight with Amelek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand."
We lived in Liberia for three years. In early 1990, a major civil war began which has devastated that nation. The Lord told us to stay although the United States Embassy had told everyone to leave. The Lord told us to stay through graduation. We stayed on schedule. We did what the Holy Spirit said to do.
Each of us prayed independently. Bro. Russ had told us to "Do what God tells you to do. Hes telling me to stay, but you must do what He tells you." We all prayed about it and had peace to stay. We had graduation and flew out, nearly on schedule. There were a few complications, but we obeyed God and came back to the States.
Russ Tatro was the leader of the ministry. The pressure was on him. Each of us who were working with him were looking to him for guidance.
Second men, listen to me. I wrestled with it for a whole month. I was praying, "Lord, what am I going to do? How am I going to get back?" Then it dawned on me to just go back to what God had originally told me. I was to "lift up Russ hands." Just as the children of Israel looked to Moses for direction, so did our whole team look to Bro. Russ, expecting him to hear from God (Bro. Russ had a track record, and that is why we could follow him). We had confidence in our leader to hear from God.
God gave Bro. Russ the responsibility of leading the work in West Africa. My job was to come alongside of him. Even after we left Monrovia, Liberia safely, there were still questions to be answered. We were unable to return there due to the war; no one was allowed into the country. So, we once again began looking to Bro. Russ for direction. On August 1, 1990, the Lord spoke to Bro. Russ, telling him "Freetown, Sierra Leone." Guess where we as a family moved? I didnt even pray about it that time. That may surprise some of you, but its true. God never told me to go to Africa; He told me to lift up Russ hands. It doesnt take a genius to figure out that I couldnt do that from the United States. Bro. Russ went in August, and I followed with my family in September.
Joshua held the same type of position as myself. He was a "second man" to Moses. Do you see Joshua going off to pray about whether he would go out and fight Amalek or not? Scripture tells us Joshuas response: "So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek..." Simple and straightforward - Joshua obeyed. Moses had done his part by getting the plan from God, and Joshua fulfilled his as he went out to fight.
Two other second men were also used in the battle with Amalek, and much can be learned from their experience. The end of verse ten says, "Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Moses did not go by himself; he needed help to get the job accomplished.
And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword (Exodus 17:11-13)
Moses hands became heavy; he was unable to do what the Lord had told him. Leaders hands get heavy. Aaron and Hur gave Moses a stone to sit on, and then they held up his hands so that the armies of Israel would prevail in their battle against the Amalekites. Why were they even on the mountain with Moses? Do you think they voted on it or had a brainstorming session? No, I dont believe they did. Their place was to be a help to Moses. They followed him, "lifting his hands" when he became weary. When they lifted his hands, the vision was accomplished; the victory came.
You might wonder why Moses didnt give the rod of God to one of them to hold up until he regained his strength. Moses was the leader; Aaron and Hur were his supports. In fact, I believe they lifted Moses hands the way he wanted them lifted. I believe he himself called for the rocks: "Bring that rock over here and lift my hands. Let me sit down and rest awhile." He was the leader. He was smart enough to see what was and wasnt working. Ive got this in my heart. I firmly believe that Moses did the directing on that mountain top.
So, "second men," allow your leader to direct you . Aaron and Hur could have said, "Wait a minute. I dont want to get him a rock. Just sit on the ground, Moses. Lets get a rope. Well throw it over that tree limb and pull it up. Your hands will still be lifted; it will be easier." If they had done that, Moses hands would still have been lifted, right? They would have been lifted, but not the way Moses wanted. I would even go so far as to say that they wouldnt have had the same results either.
Russ has hands that needed to be lifted too. Like every leader, there is a certain way he likes them lifted. Do you know what? It is my responsibility to flow with him. I dont have the right to tell him how I think it should be done. He, on the other hand, has the right to tell me exactly how to help him. He is responsible for doing what God has told him to do, and I am responsible for following his direction because, once again, the Lord told me that I was to "lift up Russ hands." You may think it is silly, but what he says, goes. If he likes red, I like red. As much as I like the color blue, it could effect his hands being lifted up, its going to be red. Theres not going to be any strife about it either. If you are in a second position and can not handle that, you will ultimately either change or leave.
Every time I look at Bro. Russ hands, I am reminded of what God told me to do. Just as the Lord showed Abraham the stars to remind him of His promise, I have Russs hands to remind me of my call in life. God gave me something visual to look at. Ive done it hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Find yourself something to remind you of your call. Never forget to remember where God has placed you.
Whos the Captain of the Boat?
The leader must be the captain of the boat. Bro. Russ is the captain of Living Word Missions. Whose boat is it? Remember, its the Lords. When God said, "Lift up Russ hands, " I knew in that instant that I was not the captain. The captain has the right and privilege to steer the boat how he sees fit. If he wants to hug that bank over there, fine. If he wants to go back to the center, fine. It is his right whether I like his decisions or not. I may not agree, but that doesnt matter. We do talk and counsel together; were friends. However, after we have discussed it and prayed, the decision is ultimately his (and I dont pout for a month if he decides to do something that doesnt go along with my opinion).
I flow with his needs, his likes, and his dislikes. Once, I wore a fancy shirt to the Bible school. I liked it; in fact, I still like it, but I gave it away. Why? Bro. Russ didnt like it, and he gave me a hint. He didnt feel that it was appropriate for the Bible school. I never wore it again. It was a little thing but if that is what it takes to flow with him, Ill do it.
Second Men Need Help Too
As I have lifted Bro. Russ hands, the Lord has blessed me with people to lift mine. The Lord placed two men in my life in West Africa who lifted my hands. God spoke to them (much the same as the Lord spoke to me concerning Russ). They were to be my Aaron and Hur.
Two weeks before they came to me, the Lord had given me a map of my responsibilities. I had plugged these two guys names into it, not knowing the reason why. I put the flow chart aside, and two weeks later it was revealed. One lifted up my administrative hand (the paperwork) while the other lifted my operations hand (the dirty work). God gave me the wisdom to divide the areas of responsibility; the Lord spoke to the two men; and they came alongside.
The administrative man lifted my hand. However, for whatever reason, the operations man did not. That doesnt make him a bad person, but I would like to use what happened as an example. By not doing his job, he affected the people under him. We had hundreds of volunteers who did everything from setup to cleanup (with a lot in between). This man was overseeing them, but he was just going through the motions. I trust that none of you are, but if you are, stop it. His heart was not in his job. He had sat down on the inside. To the casual observer it may have looked like everything was okay, but he wasnt doing things the way I needed them to be done.
Every person has his own personality. I try to match Bro. Russ, and I need someone who will do the same for me. On one occasion we had hundreds of outlines which we needed to send from Freetown to Monrovia, Liberia. The Bible training center there relied on us in Freetown to supply their teaching outlines. After the outlines had been mimeographed, punched, and stapled, we needed them to be sent out on a certain airline on a certain day. This gentleman helping me in operations was in charge. I checked with him about the status of the shipment, asking questions concerning the number, the titles, the flight. After all of the months of preparation, our director in Liberia radioed back to say that they were short several outlines of a number of different outlines. What happened? He failed to lift my hands in the way I needed. It is true that we all make mistakes, but this was an ongoing problem.
This young man wasnt bad, but it came to a point that he wasnt the man for the job anymore. He was pulling down my hands and that caused me to not be able to lift Bro. Russ hands as I should have been. I believe that it had been Gods plan and purpose for him to be there, helping me; yet, if he couldnt or wouldnt flow with me, I had to "promote" him to his own boat. The Lord then provided another man to take his place. The new gentleman fit right in and did a fantastic job. If you are given the job of lifting someones hands, you need to be following the leaders instructions and wishes. You can not have your own way and your own standards and expect to be in that job for long.
A Few Last Words
As a second man, your captain may give you several cabins. You then have the choice and the responsibility to make the decisions concerning those cabins. You get to do what you want unless he steps in and makes his wishes known in a particular area. As for me, Bro. Russ gives me a lot of freedom. He has delegated several things to me and allows me to do whatever I want. I must always remember, though, that he can come in and ask for something to be done differently if he wishes (hes the captain you know).
My attitude toward Bro. Russ is one of respect not lordship or worship. Hes doing what God has called him to do, and I am privileged to be able to help him fulfill that call. I must always ask myself how my actions will affect his hands. My commission from the Lord was to "lift [his] hands." In addition, if the people who are closest to me are not doing their jobs, it will ultimately affect the vision. Second men must have and maintain the right heart attitude. There must be a heart hook-up to the vision; if there isnt, you will not be effective. If you cant hook up, get your own boat to pilot.
Some may say that this isnt too important. You must understand, though, that we arent talking about General Motors or IBM. We arent dealing with cars or computers; the lives of suffering people are at stake. Second men must take their call very seriously. If you are not doing your job, if the vision is not being accomplished because work is not being finished or its being done in a sloppy manner, I believe that we will be accountable to the Lord. Position demands responsibility. Do everything you know to do to keep the vision going forward - as "second men," that is your calling. Lift their hands!
POSTSCRIPT: THE ROLE OF THE SECOND MAN
by Russ Tatro
I trust that you have grasped what David was saying in the last chapter. For you see, we have taught submission and authority for so long that there is the possibility of it becoming just soulish or external. The "Sit down; shut up; grow up" mentality is not of God. He doesnt work like that. I dont tell my children to "Sit down; shut up; grow up." I love my children, and they submit to my leadership out of love (not out of condemnation or guilt). Isnt that the way it should be?!
Dont lord your position and authority over others. Dont force them submit to your leadership. Dont try to control their lives. If you as the leader will push ahead into the things of God, they will follow. When they see a humble attitude in their leader, they (the "second men" ) will want to do exactly what David is saying. If they know that you consider yourself to be working with them, not lording over them, so much more will be accomplished. A trust will be built.
When a leader has developed that trust, he will not have to be concerned about having a spiritual knife stuck in his back. A captain cannot do his job properly if he is always concerned about the possibility of mutiny among his officers. I can tell you stories of numerous pastors who have left the country on a missions trip, coming back to find that half of the church is gone. In fact, more church splits are caused by an associate. Those associates werent hooked up from the heart; they did not share the vision of the leader. For whatever reason, they began to follow their own agenda.
The primary focus must always be the vision God has given. Second men who focus their eyes on their leaders will have problems. When the second man is hooked up to Gods vision, he will be able to work with and submit to his immediate leader. However, the second man must also pass these principles on to those who work under him. Those who love the Lord and hook up with the vision will go on with God; the work will then continue to grow and develop.
The Importance of This Message
We have heard the ministry of helps taught from the outside looking in, but David brings a unique perspective. He is on the inside, looking out. Listen to his heart. Catch what he is saying. Sadly, today, many do not understand this view of the ministry of helps. We can see it in the high turnover rates in many churches and organizations.
If you will adjust your thinking and follow what has been said, you will see a change for the better. Ministers should not walk around in fear of being sabotaged from the inside. It just shouldnt be that way. Nor should those in the ministry of helps feel as if they are being used. When we get the heart, the spirit, and the attitude of what has been said, we wont lose so many people and neither will we have as many shipwrecks.
A leader is one who motivates, inspires, challenges, encourages, trains, and equips people to fulfill Gods perfect will and plan for their lives.
I. You become an effective leader by first becoming a servant. You must have an attitude of servanthood if you wish to be successful. This is not an option.
II. To be an effective leader you must have a vision, Gods vision for you. If you dont know where you are going, you cant take people along with you.
III. Three attributes will cause you to be successful as a leader: strength, courage, and obedience. Without these you will not accomplish what God has for you as a leader.
IV. To be successful as a leader you must realize that there are some practical steps that you must take. Learn from those who have already gone before you. History is the best teacher, but she is often overlooked or forgotten. Learn from both the successes and failures of others.
V. To be an effective leader you are going to need those who will support you. You must know what to look for in those who are to come alongside and help you in ministry. Choose wisely!