Archives For Leadership

A Tale of Two Leaders

Charles Kiser —  September 27, 2018 — Leave a comment

Mega Vs. Movement

Leader #1

  • He was probably the most famous religious leader in the 18th century
  • Newspapers called him a marvel of the age; he was a golden tongue golden boy
  • He was a brilliant orator – he grew up in the theater – and in his prime famous actors publicly expressed envy at the way he captured audiences
  • People compared him to David, Moses and called him the second morning star of a second Reformation
  • He went on preaching tours in England and the American colonies; ignited the Great Awakening in the American colonies
  • During one preaching tour in America he ended up preaching the gospel to nearly half the population in the American colonies
  • He would stand on the steps outside and 20,000 people would show up to hear him preach
  • In fact, he was one of the first to do “open air” preaching – namely outside of a church building – and the reason he did was because many of the lower class members wouldn’t come into a church building
  • Hundreds of thousands came to faith through his preaching
  • It’s estimated that in his lifetime he preached more than 18,000 times to 10 million people

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Penguin Leadership

I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. – Jesus (John 13:15)

I am the firstborn in my family. When I was a kid, one of my parents’ mantras for me was “set an example”. There were three younger siblings watching what I did, they said. And whatever I did, they’d be likely to follow.

It just so happens that they would pull that mantra out whenever I wasn’t setting a good example – and it worked on some level. I received it as an honor and a responsibility to set an example for my brother and sisters. Not that they always did – or that I always set a good example. But that mantra stuck with me.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but my parents were developing me to lead people.

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I’ve been reflecting lately on experiencing breakthrough in ministry – what it takes to really grow and thrive as a church, and how to know if we are cooperating with God so that breakthrough can happen.

Tim Keller provides a helpful discussion on how to evaluate ministry effectiveness in his new book Center Church that speaks to the topic of breakthrough.

In the end, however, I believe his discussion falls short.

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I’ve been attending a 3DM Learning Community this week in Pawleys Island, South Carolina with the Mission Alive team. The theme of this particular 4-day immersion is “Multiplying Missional Leaders” (see their book by this title).

3DM’s credentials for leadership development: 30+ years of experience and provenness in the post-Christian context of Western Europe. Hundreds of thousands of disciples made. Thousands of missional communities formed. Global missional movement seen. That kind of thing doesn’t happen without a leadership development engine (and the Holy Spirit, of course!).

It’s some of the best stuff I’ve seen on leadership development, particularly because of 3DM’s ability to overlay several lenses on leadership in the same setting. The synergy of all those lenses together is powerful.

The fundamental process for multiplying missional leaders is what they call the “Leadership Pipeline.” Jesus seemed to have one; Paul seemed to have one, too. The main question of this immersion experience is: do you have one?

The Leadership Pipeline has four basic stages.

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Ryan and I studied Zebras yesterday as part of his homeschooling curriculum.

We learned that Zebras move in families. In each Zebra family, there is one stallion (male). There are also several mares (females) and foals (kids). The stallion mates with each of the mares; they give birth to the foals; they raise the foals together; then they send them out to start new families. So God wired polygamy into creation after all!

What caught my attention is what happens when a threat to the family arises.

When a lion attacks or another Zebra stallion tries to take over, the mares run off to safety with the foals.

The stallion, however, stays behind to fight off the threat. He faces it head on.

Effectively, he puts his life on the line for the sake of the rest of the family.

He doesn’t dash away and let the rest of the family members fend for themselves. He doesn’t use his superior speed to run away from the predator (Zebras can run up to 37 M.P.H!), leaving the younger, slower foals behind.

He stays and protects the family. And if necessary, he loses his life to do it.

This is a great example of leadership in the kingdom of God. Leaders in the kingdom lead not by expecting others to serve them but by laying their lives down for the family of God.

The Zebra stallion epitomizes perfectly the words of Jesus in Mark 10:42-45:

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

What are the obstacles to Zebra-style leadership in your family? Church? Workplace?