Every Leader Makes a Leader

Moses mentored Joshua.

Elijah prepared Elisha.

Paul coached Timothy and Titus.

And, of course, Jesus trained the twelve—especially Peter, James, and John.

The lesson is simple: every leader prepares a leader.

Secular organizations tell us that finding capable leaders is by far the most difficult challenge they face.

Here’s where the church has it over the rest of the world. The Holy Spirit calls leaders for the church. What we have to do is find where the Spirit is working and confirm the Spirit’s work in the other person’s life.

How do we do this?

1. We pray.

This is a work of God, not us. God chooses His leaders, and He chooses them for His reasons. God rarely chooses leaders that impress the secular world.

2. We confirm.

Sometimes, the Spirit’s work can be confusing if the person has no point of reference. Remember Samuel? Eli had to tell him the voice he was hearing was the voice of God calling to Samuel. Our friends need the same assurance.

3. We call out gifts.

Paul reminds Timothy that his gifts were called out as the Apostle prayed for him. Jesus called out the strength of Peter. Sometimes, gifts are so close, they’re hard for a person to see.

4. We trust in small efforts.

Jesus sent His disciples out on small trips before He sent them out in the world. Paul sent Timothy on short journeys before sending him to pastor a church.

5. We bless and send out.

Sooner or later, every little bird has to leave the nest. As mentors, we have to learn to count our success by the success of those we’ve trained.

This is the most critical task before us now. The post-modern church is going to face enormous challenges. Great leaders will be needed—and they need to be in training now.

There’s a Reason Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors of ice cream…

Everyone doesn’t like Rocky Road. Everybody doesn’t like vanilla. If Baskin-Robbins is going to stay in the ice cream business they have to have a lot flavors to match the varied tastes of their customers.

Churches are the same way. Not everyone likes a “traditional” service, or a “contemporary” service. No church will continue to grow for very long if they only offer one style of worship. At Brentwood Baptist Church, we’ve learned to offer a variety of styles and times. Why?

Because the goal is to reach as many people as we can. If contemporary is the way, we’ll do contemporary. If blue-grass is most effective, we’ll do blue grass.

The mark of a successful worship service isn’t whether or not we enjoyed it, but was God glorified and did people come to Christ?

That’s why the Middle Tennessee Initiative will involve several different types of churches. Why?

Because it is our goal to reach a lot of different kinds of people.

So, we’ll start regional campuses, we’ll plant new churches and we’ll repurpose existing churches to maximize the new opportunities God is opening up.

One flavor of ice cream won’t reach every ice cream lover. One style of church won’t reach everyone. Baskin-Robbins has developed a lot of flavors and we will develop a lot of churches.

The message of Christ hasn’t changed and never will.

The method of the church is always changing to accomplish the mission the message demands.


A friend of mine introduced me to her over 35 years ago. I don’t know if it was love at first sight, but it was pretty quick. We were engaged 3 months later and married 10 months after that.

She’s the most fascinating woman I’ve ever met. She’s funny, beautiful, and strong when she needs to be, but always compassionate.

I watched her raise our sons. Without her organizational skills, our boys would have starved to death. She made sure our house was run well.

To this day, my favorite picture in my mind is her with the boys. Watching her love them—that was just stunning.

But recently, my whole opinion of her changed.

Most of you who know me know I was diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago. Surgery was successful and everything has been great, but she was the one who got me through it.

I wish I could tell you I was brave. I wasn’t. I folded like a cheap card table.

Jeannie kept me sane through the process. She nursed and took care of me through my recovery. She talked to me in ways she knew I would hear. She knew I wouldn’t listen to someone telling me “it was going to be OK.” I needed facts and she had them.

She was strong, determined, and well, just amazing.

Tonight, I’ll take her out to dinner. I’ll try to find a way to tell her how much I love her and that I just can’t ever see my life without her. Of all of the men in the world, I’m the one most blessed.

Jeannie, I love you and all that you are.

The False Promise

Whenever we get busy and overworked, we look for ways to create more time to get the things done we feel like we HAVE to get done.

We’ll go to bed later or get up earlier and skimp on our sleep. We’ll skip meals and workouts. We’ll put off our prayer time and Bible study to a time when “we’re not so rushed.”

Then, guess what? We end up getting sick, depressed, and in general, become much less effective at the things we’re trying to do.

Most of us need at least eight hours of sleep a night. Most of us would do well to take a short nap sometime in the afternoon. All of us know this. We just don’t do it.

Nutrition is vital to our well-being. Blood sugar levels spike and dip, our moods swing this way and that—all because most of us don’t provide proper fuel for our bodies.

And prayer times and Bible study? These are the very things that Jesus Himself wouldn’t skip. He put off everything else so He could find a spot to pray and be with His Father.

Seems to me, if it was a habit for Jesus, it should be a habit for us.

One reason is that it’s only in prayer and Bible study that we learn what’s really important in our lives. Without the Spirit’s leading, we may find out we’ve done a great job climbing the ladder only to realize the ladder is on the wrong wall.

Instead of trying to create more time (which we can’t do), most of us would be better off trying to create more capacity. How do we do that? We start by saying “no.”

Look at your commitments. How many of them are really necessary? If they aren’t essential, drop them.

Spend your time on the handful of things that really matter. You’ll not only have more time in your life, but you’ll enjoy much more as well.