Archives For Leadership

David Dockery, our Trinity International University president, preached this past Sunday at The Orchard, one of our local EFC churches. He preached from Titus 1:5-9 with the title “A Prayer for Convictional, Compassionate and Collaborative Leaders

Brief synopsis: In this careful exposition of the text, Dr. Dockery makes a case for how we can counter rampant “flexidoxy” (as opposed to orthodoxy). Churches need leaders who are above reproach in the home, in character, and in conduct (vv. 6-8). Churches supremely need leaders who are doctrinally orthodox  and who can both gather the sheep and drive away the wolves (v. 9). Trinity plays a crucial role in equipping a new generation of such leaders in partnership with vital local churches.

I encourage you to listen to this sermon. There are numerous encouragements . . .

  • You will be encouraged and challenged by the text of Scripture.
  • You will be encouraged to know that our TIU president upholds the inerrancy, authority and sufficiency of God’s Word.
  • You will be encouraged by his commitment to and modelling of the pastor-theologian from the pulpit.
  • You will be encouraged to hear of his commitment to the local church.
  • You will be encouraged to hear of his desire for TIU to equip this generation to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in the local church grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dockery will be one of our preacher-teachers at next year’s Forum on Expository Preaching held in conjunction with EFCA One. He will be joined by Phil Ryken, another pastor-teacher. Our theme focuses on the role of pastor-teacher: “Preach Not Ourselves, But Preach As Ourselves.”

Leaders and Leadership

Greg Strand – May 22, 2014 Leave a comment

D. Michael Lindsay, president at Gordon College, has just released a new book that was ten years in writing: View from the Top: An Inside Look at How People in Power See and Shape the World. James K.A. Smith conducted an interview with Lindsay about the book. It provides an important and insightful look at the importance of mentoring, ability, capacity and leadership.

I highlight three important principles gleaned from the interview, which can also be applied to pastoral ministry:

  • One does not have to know or to have learned everything by the time you graduate from college, and what is done there is not necessarily determinative of what occurs later.
  • Mentoring best happens organically, not as a project. True, lasting and formative relationships occur in the midst of life, not as a project on a to do list.
  • Though leaders are specialists, i.e. they have some focus in a degree or gifts, they work intentionally to be generalists, i.e. they need to understand some things deeply, and many things generally, being interdependent on others to provide the specialty or expertise they lack.

Another comments favorably about the book and focuses on 10 characteristics shared by great leaders, which I include below.

1. A mentor
Having a mentor early in a career is by far the most important contributor to a person’s success. It matters far more than a privileged upbringing, the college attended, extraordinary early life experiences, or what they did in their teenage years.

2. Two loving parents
The majority of leaders interviewed came from households with two loving parents with the critical factor being the amount of time they spent with their parents.

3. College
Virtually everyone in the study graduated from some college. Only 3% of the leaders did not graduate from college, and among this small group, most attended for some amount of time. Many of the leaders who grew up in poverty had used education to neutralize their disadvantage. Two-thirds of the leaders attended state colleges/universities (i.e. non-Ivy-League).

4. Sports
A surprisingly large proportion of leaders were varsity athletes – 41% in high school and 23 % in college.

5. Global awareness
Most leaders had a wide worldview, often achieved through learning a second language or international travel. 65% traveled abroad for the first time between the ages of 16 and 30.

6. Servant spirit
The most successful leaders did not use their leadership primarily for personal benefit or advancement but for a greater cause.

Those who use their authority to control others or simply for their own gain are not leaders at all, but only power-wielders.

Transformative power (at an institution, in a personal relationship, or in our daily work) almost always comes from great sacrifices. And moral authority—which is the leader’s greatest currency for influence—develops not through usurping power, as some might contend, but through self-giving sacrifice.

7. Generalist
While increasing mastery of their specific field of expertise, the best leaders maintained a generalist orientation. They are “dabblers of sorts, conversant in other kinds of business, knowledgeable about current affairs, and able to connect across divides.”

8. Exposure and Experience
Leadership cannot be taught but it can be caught. The key to developing leaders is to expose students to leadership and to experience it. There is no substitute for trying to do it, and the earlier people try, the more likely they’ll get good at it.

9. EQ (Emotional Intelligence)
In leadership, IQ takes second position to emotional or relational intelligence.

Leading others is significantly easier when followers enjoy being around the leader, and interpersonally gifted people are at a significant advantage in power… The higher the level of the job, the less important technical skills and cognitive abilities were and the more important competence in emotional intelligence became.

10. Positive attitude
They are positive about their work, exuding energy and enthusiasm. They are positive about people, investing in them and encouraging them, and they are positive about the future, tending not to look backwards but forwards.

One military leader said, “I don’t spend a lot of time in the regret locker.… I’m careful about what I let rent space in my head.” Or as Senator Tom Daschle put it: “I have a philosophy that the windshield is bigger than the rear-view mirror, which means that you always do most of your best effort looking forward rather than looking back.

Michael Jordan,* “Authority and the Young Leader,” Leadership (July 2012)  

The older Paul writes to the younger Timothy: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). Paul is clear that age is not a limiting or delimiting factor for serving Christ and His Bride. He is also clear what is absolutely essential: to be an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. In other words, be centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ and be dependent on the Holy Spirit who will enable to live worthy of the gospel.

Each age and stage has strengths and weaknesses. It has been this way since the fall (Gen. 3). In this article, Jordan writes to young people as a young person outlining “four guidelines for establishing your credibility with older generations.” I simply outline them, but encourage you to read the whole article.

 Integrity is your greatest asset.
Receive other generations with joy.
Be aware of—and honest about—your weaknesses.
Reserve a piece of yourself that cannot be touched.

Jordan’s conclusion:

Sometimes the church realizes its need for young leadership; sometimes it doesn’t. If you are fortunate enough to be a young leader in these times, don’t waste it by failing to responsibly use the authority granted to you by God and others. Your youth is a gift from God. If you can treasure and use its strengths, and humbly acknowledge its weaknesses, both you and those you lead can grow in grace.

I will often say that when a local church initially calls a person to serve as a pastor or on the pastoral staff, they will grant leadership and authority through title. But over a short period of time, that leadership and authority will be acknowledged and conferred on the basis of character and a humble submission to the Lord Jesus Christ and a joyful obedience to the written authority He left the Church, the Word of God. At the end of the day, that sort of leadership is not age-dependent.

*Jordan works for church relations at Houghton College in Houghton, New York. He is also an adjunct instructor at the college and an associate pastor at Houghton Wesleyan Church.