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5 Ways to Encourage Another Leader

Linking HandsEveryone needs a Paul and a Timothy (or several of each). That is, we all need to be learning from mentors and mentoring learners. There is always someone ahead of us and always someone just behind us. It is the role and responsibility of a leader to give another leader a lift.

So how can we, in a practical way, give another leader a lift?

1. Call a fellow leader on the phone and mentor them without even telling them you’re doing it. Just ask them a ton of questions about how things are going in their soul, their family, and their realm of leadership. Then offer encouragement and perhaps a little bit of advice. And pray with them.

2. Connect a fellow leader into a valuable relationship. I’m forever saying, “Oh, you need to know so-and-so.” It’s my way of putting people together when I think they need to learn from one another. How many connections is too many? I’ve been connecting with leaders and connecting leaders to other leaders for years now and my capacity to learn and be led by others has yet to fill up.

3. Send a book. A friend and mentor recently sent me a book on prayers for leaders. It’s become a great devotional resource. I passed a little book about connecting on to Bentonville, Arkansas’ Mayor, feeling it was a good fit for his business-political niche. Next to the connections we make, resources are everything, so pass them along.

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4. Ask a leader for help. Asking for a favor is empowering to people. I love helping others, and so do you. So allow others the blessing of helping you from time to time. A friend called me yesterday for advice about an opportunity before him. The opportunity was out of my league, but he wanted to know what I thought. I’m not sure if my advice was worth much in the end, but it meant a lot that he would ask me.

5. Produce something for others. I get so frustrated with the number of great leaders I know whose heads are filled with wisdom but who won’t write, won’t blog, and won’t speak anywhere. It’s free, quick, and simple to start sharing your knowledge with the world. And it’s only going to get easier. It’s a matter of being a good steward of the wisdom God has given us.

Don’t become so task-oriented today that you fail to turn away from the to-do list to challenge and encourage another leader.

To God’s People: In Times of Gloom… Shine!

No Snow, Just RainbowsEarly mid-morning yesterday, reports began trickling in from various sources that Walmart was laying off people from the home office (located here in Bentonville, Arkansas). By day’s end, I think the number was around 850, maybe more. Walmart, McDonald’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts were three of the only companies that I had read about in the last month or two that seemed to be doing well in the midst of the recession.

Something about the news reports, emails, and phone calls brought a sense of locality to the recession – it has hit the somewhat shielded northwest Arkansas economy now. Like an approaching thunderstorm, it’s here on top of us now. So the clouds have gathered. The thunder rumbles. Jobless people lie awake at night wondering where they will go next.

Poverty isn’t a new challenge to the church. In the New Testament, an interesting story unfolds about the church in Jerusalem’s suffering. People didn’t know where their next meal would come from. The churches across Macedonia (ancient Greece) were suffering from th economic downturn as well, but they responded in an amazing way… they gave. Without ever knowing or meeting their family-in-Christ across the Mediterranean, they dug deep into their pockets (and their hearts) and gave. Paul said it this way…

For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power (ability) they were willing of themselves; praying us with much entreaty (begging us) that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. ~ 2 Corithians 8:3-4 KJV (emphasis mine)

In dark times, God’s people have the opportunity to shine! How?

  • By realizing and valuing the connections we have with the eternal family of God, regardless of geographic, cultural, and racial distances.
  • By praying… after all, God has obligated Himself to do certain things only in response to prayer.
  • By giving… even until it hurts.

I’m proud to be a part of Bethel Baptist Church in Bentonville. I’ve watched us give away about 1,000 pair of shoes in the last year. We’ve helped families within our church family, and without. Our people have made themselves available to neighbors and friends in whatever way is most helpful. And we’re in the planning stages of a major food supply initiative in our community.

We chose the slogan “the church on the hill” for two reasons. One, we’re on a hill and that’s how people identify us… “Yeah, you guys are that church on the hill!” Yep, that’s us. But then there is the issue of our mission within our community. Jesus said “a city set on a hill cannot be hid.” He went on to challenge God’s people to “so let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” That’s the real reason I’m proud to be a part of the church on the hill.

So, God’s people, shine. Pray, give, love, go, and tell the life-changing story of Jesus. Interrupt the darkness with some real sunshine!

Creative Commons License photo credit: macfanmd

Everybody’s Got Shoes, My Lord!

Everybody's Got Shoes

That’s a lyric from an old gospel song about needing new shoes to walk around heaven someday. Well today, we gave away almost 500 pair of shoes at Bethel Baptist Church. Two news crews even showed up and we’ll be on the evening news on 2 channels (and I wore horizontal stripes!) – KNWA and 4029. I’ll see if I can find news stories about it later to post, and I’ll also be posting a couple of photos on Bethel’s web site in the next day or two.

This happens to be a difficult time economically in Northwest Arkansas (everywhere in the USA for that matter) and with school starting back, families were in need. It’s an exciting thing to watch kids put shoes on and run around in circles. [Read more…]

Compelling Compassion

“Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.” -Matthew 15:32

It is impossible for us to help everyone we want to help. Certainly Jesus felt this same frustration. Though He healed so many, He did not heal everyone in the world and though He fed thousands, He did not feed all the poor in His day. If we attempted to help everyone, we’d quickly bankrupt ourselves. There is a principle at work in the Lord’s life, however, that we would do well to follow. Jesus allowed His compassion to compel Him to take action, and we should do the same.

Our first problem is that we often feel nothing. We look at a world full of hurting people and its easy to become calloused to their pain. There are so many, after all. What could I do? Jesus connected emotionally with the suffering of the people He loved so much. He had compassion for them. He wept for His people, His heart ached over their lostness. We too must be able to look out on the lostness of humanity and feel a groaning in our hearts. Where there is no suffering in our souls for others, there will certainly be a shallow ministry.

Our second problem is that when we feel, we often do nothing. Of course we can’t help everyone, but we can help someone. We can’t fix all the problems of the world, but we can help to fix one. Often we feel that our giving, our praying, our lending a hand will be a mere drop in the bucket compared with the needs of the world around us. But real compassion compels us to take some kind of action. We cannot sit idly by. We may not save the world, but we might lead one soul to the Savior. We may not feed all the poor, but we can put food in the mouth of one hungry child.

Jesus was willing to feel. He refused to harden His heart toward pain. And Jesus was willing to act. He stepped into people’s lives and offered them a divine hand. Today, we have the privilege of offering Jesus Christ to the world. We can give, we can pray, we can tell, and we can lend a helping hand. In our world of suffering, we have the opportunity to be Jesus’ ministers to the hurting. Allow compassion to compel you today to take action, if but for a moment, if for only one soul. Make a difference today for just one someone.