Archive for the tag “Leadership”

Commander of Tens

Deuteronomy 1:15 – “So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and appointed them heads over you, leaders of thousands and of hundreds, of fifties and of tens, and officers for your tribes.

I was recently given an opportunity to spend time with a couple people I love.

Paige and Stalin Solis came from Peru, where they lead ministries and missions, to the states to get some much needed rest and fundraise. When they came to visit Maryland, where my family and I live, they were at 34% of their monthly giving need. When they left they were at 53%!!!

I would ask that you all support them.

While they were in town we ate some great food (American and Peruvian), went sightseeing in Washington D.C. and spent a lot of time discussing and contemplating the Word of God and sharing life stories.

During their time here, we found out that Free Wheelchair Mission, the primary mission ministry that Paige & Stalin work with, was sharing a documentary on the distribution of their ONE MILLIONTH WHEELCHAIR! This documentary was filmed in Peru, with the church people and the church that Paige and Stalin belong. Paige, as a matter of fact, was one of the people in the video!!!

As we were watching the video my eyes filled with tears. I saw many people I know: Clever and Lisa Sobrino, leaders of a ministry that works with developmentally and mentally disabled people, Robert Barriger, the Senior Pastor of the church that sponsors the wheelchair mission in Peru, Miguel Chiang, one of the leaders of the wheelchair mission on the Peru side, and Nick Balcombe, leader of the missions groups that come to Peru to distribute the wheelchairs.

I’ve been to Peru 5 times in with my church, Chesapeake Christian Fellowship. Every year we take down a very small team to Peru to do service projects, including building and distributing wheelchairs. As I was watching the Free Wheelchair Mission video, I was thinking to myself that we have done so little in Peru.

Then I started adding up the numbers.

Exodus 18:19-22 – Listen to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness, and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you.

In 5 years, our church has distributed 441 wheelchairs.

That is .05% of Free Wheelchair Mission’s worldwide total! That is also 2.1% of all of the wheelchairs distributed in Peru during that time frame!!!

I started thinking about the Old Testament Bible verses about the commanders of the armies of Israel. They were broken in several different command groups. There were those who led the armies of thousands, those who led the armies of hundreds, those who led the armies of fifties, and those who led the armies of tens.

In the Old Testament times the armies were physical armies that fought physical battles with enemies of the kingdom. Today Christians fight an invisible enemy, one who has attacked every fabric of life in the world. In this fight, the command structure is still the same.

Our enemy is fighting us in a physical way. He is attacking our friends, our families, and people we don’t know with sicknesses and ailments. It is up to the church to lead the charge to provide support for those who have been injured during the battle.

In this segment of the battle, Free Wheelchair Mission is the “commander of thousands.” They mobilize teams and people internationally to take wheelchairs where they are needed most.

Then there are the churches and organizations like Camino de Vida, where Paige and Stalin serve. These are the “commanders of hundreds.” They mobilize teams inside of Peru. Paige leads 30 missions teams from all around the world every year. Each team has about 10+ people in them and distribute thousands of wheelchairs a year.

Then there are the sending churches, like Chesapeake Christian Fellowship, my home church. They are the “commander of fifties.” Over the past 5 years we have sent about 40 people to Peru, close to 100 people to Haiti, and close to 75 people to Navajo Nation.

Finally, God showed me that I am a “commander of tens.” Each year I lead a team of up to 10 people to Peru.

I have always wanted to lead God’s church. I’ve wanted to be a pastor. I’ve wanted to call my “job” pastor. I desire to wake up and drive to church and call that my place of employment.

But when I realized that God has made me a “commander of tens” for doing a mission to Peru I came to the conclusion that if God never uses me for another thing in this life that I have been used to make a difference for Him. God could never call me to full-time ministry and I would be content in knowing that God’s glory has been seen through my leadership.

I don’t say that to boast.

I say that knowing full well that this opportunity can go away at any moment and it is only by the grace of God that I was given this opportunity. I pray I never take that lightly. And I pray that the commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, and commanders of tens never take their position lightly. God granted it, God can take it away if we don’t treat it as He would desire.

But in the meantime, I am going to enjoy my time as a “commander of tens” and lead as God would have me lead.

I may never lead thousands.

I may never lead hundreds.

I may not even lead fifties.

But I am leading tens. And that is enough.

On Leadership

What is leadership?

This is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. In many different respects I am a leader.

I lead a company. A multi-million-dollar organization is hinging on me to lead them properly. I work across multiple states so it makes it more difficult as much of my leadership is virtual. I am responsible for ensuring the money is flowing into the company, so you can call me the operations guy.

I lead a ministry. I am an elder in my church and lead missions to Peru as well as a couple small groups. As a church leader I am under scrutiny to make sure that those I am discipling are understanding the message and applying it in their lives.

I lead a family. With 2 biological children and 4 step-children as well as a wife I have my hands full trying to know how to lead them. I find them the most challenging to lead, honestly, because of the day in and day out dynamics of family.

Every so often we go through seasons that knock us down and cause us to question our leadership and wonder if we are doing it right. I am currently in one of those seasons.

Since I have been struggling to understand my efficacy as a leader I decided to study both worldly and biblical leadership and see if I am modeling it in my company, ministry and family. This is also giving me the opportunity to determine if worldly and biblical leadership have any common areas.

So, I am going to find the most prevalent traits of a successful worldly leader and the 4-5 most prevalent traits of a biblical leader and determine if there is crossover. After that, I am going to strive to create a model of leadership that I can work toward attaining. Change is never easy, but we are called as Christians to grow in our application of God’s Word, His vision in our lives, and our relationships.

Worldly Leadership Qualities:

  • Self-leading.

How can you lead others if you don’t know how to lead yourself? A good worldly leader knows how to prioritize the goals and then deliver on those goals. This means that you know how to control your time, your emotions, your actions and be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Handling stress and balancing it throughout their personal lives is key. They don’t let stress lead them, they lead by compassion and strive to respond to people appropriately.

A good worldly leader is always looking to the future and able to keep an open mind as to how to get there. Their initial plan may not be the best so they need to remain open to ideas from others in order to be successful. As they look to the future they maintain a positive attitude, even when all is crashing.

  • Strong communication.

Good worldly leaders know when to talk and what to say. Talking too much can destroy their reputation and not talking enough can give the people he/she is leading a thought that they are aloof or uncaring. The better they communicate, and the more specific, the better.

Strong leaders know how to use their power and authority without overpowering their team. They take accountability and responsibility for their own mistakes, and they expect others to do the same.

  • Clear goal setting.

They set goals and are determined to achieve them. This is done through an unwavering self-confidence. They are enthusiastic about their goal and expect others to buy-in to their dreams. If they give up, their team will give up. They persevere even when their entire team wants to quit.

  • They have vision.

They know how to manage change while balancing stability and growth. Continually look for new packaging or branding element but not losing sight what got them where they are. Being adaptable is a key to seeing vision come to fruition.

  • Manage complexity.

They know how to solve problems in an environment that is constantly and rapidly changing. They can predict a course of action before all the details are available and they act on their prediction.

  • Creativity and innovation.

Great worldly leaders risk a lot to encourage experimentation. This leads their organization into new directions.

  • Team building.

Being a successful worldly leader means that they rely on the people in their employ. Without a strong team supporting them, the organization cannot succeed or grow.

  • Lasting relationships.

Networking is a key to reaching personal goals and professional ones.

Being able to change quickly will help a world leader gain the edge in a new channel or technology.

As you can see, the worldly leader has a lot of juggling to do. But what about the biblical leader? And what Scripture will back it up? Using primarily Proverbs 16 is a good place to start.

Biblical Leadership Qualities:

  • Seeking God’s direction.

A biblical leader must first seek God in all he or she does. Jesus tells us to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God.

Proverbs 16:1 – To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.

Verse 3 tells us that if we commit our work to the Lord our plans will be established. A good biblical leader seeks God and commits to Him, allowing Him to direct his path.

The biblical leader is not a tyrant nor is he or she arrogant.

Proverbs 16:5 – The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

A good biblical leader is able to empathize with others Compromise is also something that a good biblical leader must learn. Yes, we are called to be strong in our faith but we are not called to cold and unfeeling.

Proverbs 16:7 – When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

A good biblical leader is more concerned with doing things the right way rather than what is going to lead to the most success. The end does not always justify the means.

Proverbs 16:8 – Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.

  • Ability to be mentored.

Leaders should not surround themselves with “yes men.” That shows insecurity in the leader. A good leader surrounds themselves with people who are smarter than he or she is. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Proverbs 16:13 – Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks what is right.

  • Knowledge and wisdom.

Knowledge is good, wisdom is better. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. Good biblical leaders are constantly learning, growing and developing. If you feel you have already arrived in any subject (business, church, family) then you have allowed pride and arrogance to consume you.

Proverbs 16:16 – How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!

Many people have fallen because of pride. When a person thinks they are invincible they find out just how human they are. Proverbs 16:19 says that it is “better to be of lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.”

Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

  • Sensible and kind.

Being sensible makes a leader more effective. A good biblical leader uses words that are “gracious’ (Proverbs 16:24) and not “like a scorching fire.” (Proverbs 16:24)

Proverbs 16:22-23 – Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools. The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction.

  • Slow to anger.

The movies show the mean-spirited boss who yells for no reason and demoralizes the team. The slow to anger are better than the mighty.

Proverbs 16:32 – Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.

So what can be learned from this? Are the similarities between good worldly leaders and good biblical leaders?

You can say yes. But you can also say no.

The good worldly leader is “self-confident” and manages themselves better than anyone else. The good biblical leader focuses on allowing God to direct his steps. From that point, the paths will never cross.

Moses led a nation, he was not a great communicator. Peter led the early church, he was not the most accountable. Jesus is God, Savior, and Lord yet he was not worried about being agile.

The disciples were not the best business and people leaders in the ancient world, yet Jesus chose them to leave a legacy.

The decisive point is seeking the Kingdom of God. If we are seeking that then God will provide what we need to lead.

It won’t always look pretty.

And the leader will make several mistakes along the way.

But if God is at the forefront of the leader’s life then the problems turn into good opportunities for God’s children.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

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