Passing the Torch: Four Ways to Prepare the Next Generation to Lead Well

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This blog post was adapted from a sermon that I gave at the Harvard Avenue Student Ministry + College/Career Ministry Kindle Retreat on Saturday, January 23, 2015.

Key Text: 2 Timothy 1:1-14

The call to leadership is a call to discipleship. Christian leaders are given the responsibility to not only lead well, but to invest in the next generation so that they can carry on the gospel task. John Maxwell sums it up well: “The best leaders lead today with tomorrow in mind by making sure they invest in leaders who will carry their legacy forward.” In fact, one of the goals of leadership is to make yourself replaceable. Ideally, a leader should put people and systems in place so that if they have to leave their leadership role for some reason, things will keep running smoothly. As we will see in 2 Timothy, Christian leaders are commanded to “guard the good deposit” of the gospel in themselves and in those who they will pass the torch to.

It is interesting that none of the leaders in the Bible were seeking a leadership position. They were all underdogs and ordinary men and women who God chose and empowered to lead well. There are several positive and negative examples in Scripture of leaders passing the torch to the next generation. In the Old Testament, there are two different “succession plans” that start out well, but end in disaster. The first one begins with Moses. God appoints Moses as the leader of His people, who will lead them out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. Along the way, Moses selected a young man named Joshua to be his special assistant and began to invest in him. Joshua was chosen to be one of the twelve spies to go scout out the Promised Land and he and Caleb were the only two that trusted that God would fulfill His promise to give them victory (Numbers 13). As Moses neared the end of his life, he asked God to appoint a leader to take his place and Joshua was chosen (Numbers 27).

Joshua then led the nation of Israel in the conquest of the Promised Land. In addition to his military prowess, he also kept the people on track spiritually by constantly reminding them of God’s law, covenants, and promises.  Joshua 24:31 tells us that “Israel served the Lord in all the days of Joshua.” However, Joshua didn’t appoint a leader behind him, which leads to the downward spiral of Israel in the book of JudgesRead more of this post

Four Ways to Lead Yourself Before Leading Others

Follow The Leader!

This post originally appeared on Mason Kesner’s blog

Everyone wants to be a leader. However, leadership doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just walk up to a group of random strangers and declare, “I am your leader. Follow me.”

Before you can lead others well, you must first be able to lead yourself. As the Latin proverb goes: “It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself.” Even after you become a leader, you owe it to your followers to lead yourself well.

So how do you begin to rule yourself? Here are four habits of successful self-leaders:  Read more of this post

6 Tips for Empowering Employees


Once or twice a month, I go to Waffle House with Chad Mann, the youth pastor at Harvard Avenue Baptist, after the Wednesday night service. I always get a chocolate chip waffle. Chad orders a bacon, chicken, and cheese wrap with ranch dressing. Last week, they didn’t have any ranch dressing. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but here’s how the conversation with our waitress went:

CHAD: Can I get a bacon, chicken, and cheese wrap with a packet of ranch dressing please?

WAITRESS: We don’t have any ranch dressing.

CHAD: Bummer. You didn’t have it last time I was here either.

WAITRESS: Yea, we haven’t had any for a few weeks. Our manager is on vacation, so we haven’t ordered any.

ME: Couldn’t one of you all just run over to Walmart and get some so customers can have ranch on their wraps and salads? (This particular Waffle House is in the parking lot of the Siloam Walmart)

WAITRESS: I guess so, but the manager isn’t here, so we don’t know if that’s ok. He always makes us ask for permission to do stuff like that. Plus, it’s getting cold outside.

CHAD: That’s fine. I’ll use salsa instead.

Fear-Driven Management

Why do I share this example? It highlights the problems that result when employees don’t feel empowered by their managers. Read more of this post

Winning at All Costs



UPDATE: Bobby Petrino was fired today (April 10) by the U of A after it was revealed he paid the 25- year old assistant $20,000 in addition to apparently taking advantage of his position and placing himself above the program. I definitely think the University made the right decision and I’m proud of the way Jeff Long handled it. Here’s the video of the press conference & Petrino’s statement.

I normally don’t write blog posts about current events, but two recent stories in the world of college football have caught my attention. Both situations involve a scandal of some sort that was covered up by a head football coach who eventually got caught. The first coach was Joe Paterno of Penn State University; the second being Bobby Petrino from the University of Arkansas. Being a Razorback fan, the Petrino story hits closer to home, but both stories make a similar point.

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Chick-fil-A: Moootivating Cowmittment

“Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans.” -Ken Blanchard

In case you missed it, this past Friday (7/8/2011) was Cow Appreciation Day at all Chick-fil-A locations across the United States. For those poor souls unfamiliar with this great holiday, Cow Appreciation Day is a day when Chick-fil-A customers can dress up as cows and receive free food in return (an entree for wearing a shirt; a combo for dressing head to hoof). In other words, it’s an opportunity for the raving fans of Chick-fil-A to celebrate one of their favorite restaurants. Do I happen to be one of those raving fans? I’ll let you decide from the photo…

What is it that Chick-fil-A does so well to mootivate this type of cowmittment from its customers? One word: values. Anytime you walk into a Chick-fil-A you will be greeted by a friendly employee and will be treated like a family member the whole time you are there from employees asking if you’d like refills and taking your trash to the familiar “My Pleasure” anytime you thank them for anything. You almost forget that you are visiting a fast food restaurant built around putting friend chicken between two pieces of bread. Being treated in such a kind way (ie the Golden Rule) leads to brand loyalty in the minds of customers. Now that I live in a town without a Chick-fil-A, I make it a point to visit one whenever I am near one around a meal time. It is also one of the few restaurants that I order food from without looking at the price of what I’m about to order. Yes, the food is exceptional, but the way in which the company takes care of its customers is what keeps me going back…even dressed as a cow.

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Doing Virtuous Business

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a screening of the PBS documentary “Doing Virtuous Business” at the new Berry Performing Arts Center on the campus of John Brown University. The documentary is based on Dr. Theodore Malloch‘s best-seller Spiritual Enterprise and takes a look at fourteen traits that translate into success for modern corporations, even during tense economic times.

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