Entries by Dave Kraft (1143)


Six Characteristics of a Spiritual Leader

Originally posted by Bob Hamp on Michael Hyatt’s blog, March 13, 2012

As believers, we recognize the value of imitating Jesus and His leadership style. But if we really think about it, it’s strange that we try to emulate a leader who never developed an organization, regularly encouraged people to stop following Him and, ultimately, saw His death as the pinnacle of His accomplishments.

What kind of perspective must a leader have to place high value on these kinds of strategies? Jesus was not a manager. His primary role was to function as a spiritual leader.

Not all leaders in religious organizations are spiritual leaders. This is not a criticism as much as a distinction. Distinguishing spiritual leadership from other forms of leadership can free people from unrealistic expectations of some leaders.

At the same time, making this distinction can help identify who the spiritual leaders in your organization are. Here are six characteristics that identify most spiritual leaders:

1. They lead others into their own encounters with God. One of the most effective things about Jesus’ lifestyle was that He didn’t switch into another mode to introduce His disciples to the reality of God.

Whether standing in the synagogue or picking wheat along the path, interacting with the Father was so natural that others around Him could not help but do the same. Whether a spiritual leader is training a new employee or working through a difficult conflict resolution, his followers will discover their own connection to God more deeply in the process.

2. They lead others to discover their own purpose and identity. Spiritual leadership is characterized by great generosity. A spiritual leader genuinely wants others to fully discover who they were made to be.

Workplace issues and strategic development become tools to help followers discover their own identity and overcome obstacles standing in their way. People functioning in an area of their created identity and strength will always be more productive than those who are simply trying to fill a position or role.

3. They lead others into transformation—not just production. When the goal is spiritual growth and health, production will always be a natural outcome. People function at their peak when they function out of identity.

Helping your followers discover that their own transformation can happen on the job will engender loyalty and a high level of morale. Spiritual leadership fosters passion in those who follow. Passion is the ingredient that moves people and organizations from production to transformational impact.

4. They impact their atmosphere. While we may not stop a tempest with our words, spiritual leaders recognize that they can change the “temperature” of a room, interaction, or relationship.

Changing the atmosphere is like casting vision, only it is immediate. When there is tension, fear, or apathy, a spiritual leader can transform the immediate power of these storms and restore vision, vitality and hope. A spiritual leader can fill a room with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and gentleness, even while speaking hard things.

5. They help people see old things in new ways. Many people are stuck, not in their circumstances, but in their perspectives and paradigms. The word “repent” means “to think differently, or to think in a different way.” Jesus called people to look again at old realities through new eyes. Changing ways of thinking always precedes meaningful change.                                                                            

6. They gain a following because of who they are—not because of a position they hold. Spiritual leaders can be found in secular organizations, in the same way managers and organizational leaders can be found in religious ones.

Spiritual leaders influence more than they direct, and they inspire more than they instruct. They intuitively recognize that they are serving something—and Someone—larger than themselves and their own objectives.




Raising up Young leaders

Posted by Ron Edmondson on his blog on March 12, 2012

I talk to pastors and leaders my age and older who want to see a new generation of leaders, but either don’t know how or can’t seem to find them. Frankly, some pastors I talk with are frustrated with what they see as a lack of leadership among the newer generations.

I’m frequently asked how we have managed to find so many talented young leaders at Grace Community Church.  Much of the work God has done among us has been done through the leadership efforts of people 10, 15, and 20 years younger than me. I’m not the oldest guy on staff anymore, but I’m definitely outside the mode, mean, or median average.

Here are 7 ways to raise up young leaders:

Give them opportunities – That sounds simple, but it’s not. Many leaders are afraid to hand off real responsibility to leaders half their age. I understand, because I made some huge mistakes as a young leader, but at the same time, that’s how I learned. Younger leaders want authority and a seat at the table now, not when they reach an expected age. Is it risky? Of course, but it awesome has the potential for awesomeness to occur.

Share experiences – Young leaders are open to learning from a mature leader’s successes and failures. They enjoy hearing stories of what worked and what didn’t. That’s actually one of the beauties of the newer generations. The young leaders on my team actually seek out my personal experience. They will still want the chance to learn on their own, but they are ready to glean from the wisdom of those who have gone before them, especially in the context of relationships.

Allow for failure – People of all ages will make mistakes in leadership, regardless of their years of experience. For some reason that seems magnified for the younger leaders, which is one reason older leaders sometimes shy away from them. An atmosphere which embraces failure as a part of the growth process, invites younger leaders to take chances, risking failure and exploring possible genius discoveries.

Be open to change – More than likely, younger leaders will do things differently than the older leaders did things. They want more flexible hours, different work environments, and opportunities to work as a team. It may seem unnatural at first, but let their process take shape and you’ll have a better chance of leadership development occurring.

Set high expectations – Having different working methods shouldn’t lower standards or quality expectations. The good thing is the younger leaders, from my experience, aren’t looking for a free ride, just a seat on the bus. Hold them accountable to clearly identified goals and objectives. Applaud them for good work and challenge them to continually improve. It’s part of their growth process.

Provide encouragement - Younger leaders need feedback. They seem to want to know how they are doing far more often than the annual review system of the past afforded. They are looking to meet the approval of senior leadership and the organization. Keep them encouraged and they’ll keep aiming higher.

Give constructive feedback - Again, younger leaders appear more interested in knowing they are meeting the expectations of senior leadership, so acknowledge that fact by helping them learn as they grow. Don’t simply share “good” or “bad” feedback. Rather, with the goal of helping them grow as leaders, give them concrete and constructive reviews of their performance. Help them understand not only what they did right or wrong, but practical ways they can get better in their work and leadership abilities.

Raising up younger leaders is crucial to a growing and maintaining healthy organizations and churches. We must be intentional and diligent about investing in the next generation, understanding their differences, and working within their culture to grow new leaders.



India report # 2

I left for India at 3pm on Thursday, March 23 and arrived home at 7p on Sunday April 1.  It took me about 30 hours to get there and another 30 hours to get back to Orange County.

I had recently memorized Esther 4:14, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” ESV

Several times during my seven days in India this verse came to mind, as it relates to the Lord allowing me to be available for what He intended to do in/through me. God’s timing is impeccable and wonderful!

In thinking about what I would say to give you a sense of the (without a doubt) most amazing experience I have had in all my life, I have decided to break my thoughts into:

  1. What Jesus did
  2. What I learned

 Some of this will be similar to the post I did while in India as some will not have read the prior post (India #1).

 What Jesus Did

On Sunday evening (March 25th I  preached the Gospel at a house church in Damoh, which is very near to where the headquarters for the “Central India Christian Mission” (CICM) is located. What I said was translated into Hindi, as was everything I preached or taught while there. There were about 100 people jammed into a room built above the pastor’s home. I spoke from John 3:16 and eleven people (men, women and children) responded to become Christians. Ajai Lall, Founder and President of CICM, confirmed that these eleven were all legitimate decisions. Some of these had been attending for upwards of a year and God’s time for them was the night I was there. All praise to Jesus!

Twice during my time there I had the joy of speaking to the nursing school and Bible school students, along with all the staff located at the CICM headquarters a few miles from Damoh. There were around 400-500 each time. I received excellent feedback on the relevance and practicality of the teaching.

Another evening I spoke to just students (about 200) and was interviewed by Josh Howard (one of the leaders at CICM, whom I coach). Josh was responsible for having me there. Josh is an American, who is probably in India for the rest of his life, having married Lashi (one of the daughters of CICM Founders Ajai and Indu Lall). It was a special evening and the Lord showed up big time as I shared my story of becoming a Christian as well as things I have learned through the years. We camped a bit on Acts 2:42-47 sharing keys to growth for a Christian. living in community. Many came forward for prayer for loved ones who don’t know Jesus yet.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, March 27, 28, I conducted my “Leaders Who Last” seminar with 250 leaders from all over the country.  India has 28 states and leaders from 11 of those states were there for the seminar.  He gave joy, freedom and passion, and the teaching was well received. All my materials were translated into Hindi as was I.

Wednesday night I was awakened by a knock on my door and learned that one of the leaders and his wife had a major argument and they wanted me to come to their home to meet and pray with them.  It was a God moment and Jesus, by His grace, used me to heal some things in their relationship. They were both extremely grateful and I was taken aback as marriage counseling is not my forté --not something I usually do much of. I went back to my room and my bed at 1a, exhausted, but so grateful and aware of His sovereign leadership in my life.

On Thursday, March 29 we had a full day of “Coach Training”  (using Ministry Coaching International’s concepts and tools) with 25 of the 250 having stayed on for a third day before heading home. This training was to equip them to be able to coach other leaders and, thereby, establish one-on-one coaching as part of the culture for CICM’s church planting endeavors. 900 churches have been planted so far, with the strong possibility of there being 1,000 by the end of 2012. CICM has plans to plant churches in China, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Their vision is huge and aggressive.

 While there, He did far more abundantly than all I had asked or thought, -Ephesians 3:20.  I am so grateful to Jesus for allowing me this opportunity and doing some wonderful things through me. “Not to me but to your name give glory”  Psalm 115:1

 What I Learned

1. Christians are not welcomed, or thought highly of, in India, which is 80% Hindu. Some are killed or persecuted for their faith. I met several from Hindu families who were disowned by their family after they embraced Jesus. There is a real price to pay to be a Christian.  Many of the staff at CICM live in compounds surrounded by walls for safety.  There are armed guards everywhere. Each time we left the premises, there was always a guard with a rifle who accompanied us.  A few years ago, a guard at the front gate of the CICM headquarters was shot to death.

 2. The ministry of CICM is broad and deep. You can visit their web site to find out more  

CICM website

For starters, there is a nursing school, a Bible School to train church planters, a children’s home that cares for around 100 children and a publishing arm to get Christian books and magazines out in Hindi. Additionally, there is a department that helps Indians get businesses started to provide for their families. They have another Bible school and children’s home in another part of India.

3. The extreme poverty of so many is mind-boggling. India will soon surpass China as the most populous country in the world, and many of their citizens live in extreme poverty (some estimates are at 56%). The movie “Slum Dog Millionaire” matches up very well with what I observed.  

4. CICM focuses  on those living at the poverty level. Many of the 900 churches which are part of their network minister to the lower end of the economic spectrum.  They plant village churches like the one I spoke in on Sunday evening.

5. I heard several worship bands while there and their worship is strong, enthusiastic and engaging. These people know how to worship Jesus with everything they have and could teach us much.

6. My impression of the staff at CICM was that they are some of the most hospitable people I have ever met. They bent over backwards to serve me in every way they could.

7. The children at the children’s home (where I stayed while there) are happy and friendly, yet have almost nothing. They live behind high walls and come there as orphans at a very young age. Some of them will eventually attend the nursing school or the Bible school to become church planters.

8. My mind is still spinning with all that I saw and experienced and am still processing. I’m grateful for the opportunity this trip to India afforded to have an impact on the next generation of leaders. I am more grateful than ever for the simple things that many in India will never have.  Running water that is okay to drink, a comfortable bed to sleep in, electricity and good food that is safe to consume. It is so easy to take these (and more) for granted.







Failing As A Leader

Posted by Jeremy Slatton on March 5th on Michael Hyatt’s blog:

“Learning from Leadership Failures”

Rainy days. Flat tires. The worst case scenario. As the saying goes, it happens. And so does poor leadership.

Leadership Failures are often the result of:

  • Poor planning
  • Inexperience
  • Stubbornness
  • Lack of vision
  • Pride

It happens more often than we would like to admit, especially when it is our fault.

When we are the victims, though, we notice it all the time. We see ourselves as being stuck in our circumstances. We complain. We gossip. We throw our hands up in the air and ask, “What if?”

“What if” is not necessarily a bad question. But instead of asking “what if those leading me were better,” we should ask, “what if I had responded to poor leadership better?”

Just because we suffer under someone’s mistakes does not mean we have to suffer. Even in tough circumstances, we choose how we respond.

I recently experienced a leadership “fail.” The person in charge did a horrible job. The leader lost focus on the mission of our team. They made decisions that were contrary to our values.

My leader was more interested in what he had to gain personally from our work than the actual work. He cared more about promoting his name than he did about serving people.

But even when our leaders fall short, there can be benefit to us if we choose to respond well. Here are five suggestions on how to get the most out of leadership failures.

1. Patience. We live in a culture that demands a scapegoat. When something goes wrong, we immediately ask whose fault it is.

Give your leader a break. We all make mistakes. Try to understand your leader’s failure. Is this a one time occurrence or a pattern? What was their motivation? Be patient and quick to forgive. You would hope for the same if it was your mistake.

2. Diligence. A common response to poor leadership is to give up. Resist this urge. Keep working hard on your part even if it is under appreciated.

Understand your leader’s weaknesses and try to help him through your strengths. You should always do your job well. Poor leadership is never an excuse to be lazy. In fact, your hard work will be needed more than ever.

3. Experience. Don’t let a mistake pass you by without learning from it. These are incredibly valuable moments. It is bad enough that a leadership fail has occurred. It is worse to let it pass without learning from it.

The best lessons often come from mistakes. If you learn from your leader’s mistakes, then you gain valuable knowledge without having to make the same mistake yourself.

4. Honesty. Telling the truth is always good. Always. If you make a mistake, admit it. If your leader makes a mistake, you may have to be honest with them.

Depending on your circumstances, the best thing you can do is simply discuss the failure in open dialogue. Do not be aggressive and blame. But be willing to ask tough questions and engage the tension. It may turn out that your leader had no realization of the mistake they made.

5. Moving on. Sometimes the only option you have is to move on. Don’t start here, but don’t be afraid to do it eventually either.

Moving on is an issue of discernment. Use your best judgment to decide when a situation is hopeless, and if it is, pull the trigger. Don’t waste time trying to right a sunken ship.

How we respond to the leadership failures of others gives us the opportunity to be true leaders by the example we set in our response.




India Report # 1

It is Tuesday morning here in (central India) where I am staying and ministering.  From the time I left LAX (on Friday at 3p) until I arrived 32 hours had passed.  I probably slept for 2 hours during those 32.  I arrived in at 11.30a on Sunday local time.  There is a 12 ½ hour time difference between LA and Damoh.

God is gracious and good and the fact that I had not slept much put me quickly on India time Sunday night here and I have been in sync since, which I am told is rare. So far, I am healthy, sleeping well and have good energy for which I am very grateful to Jesus.

One of my first impressions…I have never seen so many people, bikes, motorcycles and animals all occupying the road at the same time. The animals have the right of way…cows, goats…even saw a few pigs!

The town I am staying in is a town of about 100,000, which is small by India standards.  It didn’t take long to learn of the enormous impact  the mission is having all over the country as well as in at least three neighboring countries.

there are two Bible schools, to train future church planters and leaders, a first rate nursing training college, a children’s home (they actually have three in India with a total of 700 children that have been orphaned), a children’s ministry that supports over 4,000 children with education costs, food, and clothing, a publishing department, and have been involved in planting around 900 churches.  They are just getting started and are taking new territory for the Kingdom as opportunities present themselves. They have a big heart and a big vision to trust Jesus for.

For about eight months I have been coaching (via Skype) Josh  a gifted young (26 years old) leader who is responsible for leadership development.

Since arriving here on Sunday at 11.30am local time, by His grace I:

1.  Preached from John 3:16 on Sunday evening at a local church a few miles from the mission.  They met in a room (built as a meeting place for the church) above the pastor’s home.  I was told that 50% of those who attend are not yet followers of Jesus. They roomed was jammed with some men standing outside. Twelve people (Men, women and a few older children stood and committed their lives to the Lord for the first time. All praise to Jesus!

2.  Preached from John 2:5 on Monday morning to a group of around 400-500 (students at the nursing home, and the staff who serve here with CICM. It turned out that Ajai had written a song based on John 2:5 which was the theme for a women’s conference they had here within the last year.  He is sovereign over all details.

Today (Tuesday) I begin presenting my Leaders Who Last Seminar to an expected group (pastors and leaders) of 250-300 from all over the country. We get under way at 10am local time, which would be 9.30p Monday evening California time. We will spend today and through noon tomorrow with the seminar, which is being translated into Hindi.  The workbook and the Key Note slides are also in Hindi.

Wednesday morning  (before we begin again with the LWL seminar), I speak    again to the 400-500 group from Mark 14:36 “The other Lord’s Prayer.”

Can’t wait to get started with the LWL seminar in just a few hours.

Please pray for the Lord of the Harvest to continue to do awesome things.  Pray that everything done and said would be honoring to Him and that I would be lead by Him and empowered by Him.

Lord willing, I will plan on posting again on Wednesday night or Thursday morning local time and let you know what’s happening on Thursday and Friday. Thank you all for your prayers and numerous emails of encouragement.