Entries by Dave Kraft (1120)


Billy Graham has died...two secrets to his fruitfulness


I just saw on the news that Billy Graham has died. Here is a post I did in 2016 regarding two secrets to his fruitfiulness. May the Lord of the Harvest raise up more men like Billy.


The year was 1964 and I was in San Diego to counsel at a Billy Graham crusade.  It was a Sunday evening youth meeting at College Avenue Baptist Church and the speaker was Grady Wilson, one of Billy’s associate evangelists. When Grady finished speaking they had a Q&A time and one of the questions was this:

“During all these years, how has Billy Graham managed to stay humble?”

To this day I still remember word for word, how Grady answered this question. He said:

“When the team first formed we made a deal with Billy that if God would keep him anointed, we would keep him humble.”


What a powerful two-fold secret to ministry fruitfulness!

1.  The hand of God on my life ~ Anointing

2.  A few good friends in my life ~ Rebuking

I am reminded of the fact that King David had Jonathan to encourage him and Nathan to rebuke him. You and I need both.

In this particular case, we are talking about a few Nathans (Billy’s team members.)

Let’s take these one at a time.


There can be no substitute for the clear hand of God, the anointing of God, on my life  for ministry fruitfulness. What difference does anything I do make if it is not clear that God is empowering and leading me? As Paul says in I Corinthians 3:5-7: “…God gave the growth.”  Yes, one waters and another plants, but God makes it happen. Without the hand of God on what I do, without the Holy Spirit clearly and powerfully at work, what difference does any of my work or activities really make?

More than at any time in my life, I deeply long for and pray for God’s anointing hand on all that I undertake. I am more dependent, more expectant than I’ve ever been. I have zero confidence in my gifts, personality or experience to make something of eternal value happen. “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1, ESV.

We can discuss exactly what “Anointing” actually looks like and there may be differences of opinion on this, but I can’t imagine a single Christian Leader not longing, praying and believing the Lord for this on his or her life.

Anointing falls into the category of things we don’t think much about or talk much about anymore, but should! It sems to me that we hear about anointing more in charismatic than reformed circles. The anointing of God on life and ministry needs to be given more serious thought and attention.


As I look over the landscape of Christian leadership today, I am grieved and saddened over the gifted leaders I hear and read about (and some I personally know) who have fallen due to moral failure of some sort: sexual, relational or financial. Where was the accountability? Where were the Nathans, the real friends to keep them humble and accountable?

Either those “friends” didn’t have the courage to speak up and to speak out, or the leader was not open to any of his so-called “friends” challenging him or rebuking him when it was obvious and necessary.

I desperately need some people in my life (and am glad I have some, starting with my wife) who will call a spade a spade and not be afraid to confront me, regardless of how popular, respected or successful I appear to be.  If I’m about to drive my car off the cliff, I sincerely and desperately pray and trust  that someone would courageously step in, rather than say, “Well, it’s his car. If he wants to drive it off a cliff I guess that’s his business.”  No! No!  It’s not my business that’s at stake here, but the business of God’s kingdom. It affects dozens if not hundreds of people when a leader falls…goes over the cliff.

My fellow leaders, may I lovingly challenge and encourage you to be on your knees praying for God’s anointing on your life, your family and the ministry he has called you to?

May I lovingly challenge you to surround yourself with some real friends who will stand solidly between you and the edge of the cliff?


7 ways to maintain respect as a leader:

Good leadership is built on trust. People will follow a leader they trust and respect. Followers will buy into who the leader is before they buy into where the leader is heading with a vision.  When you loose trust and respect, the end of your leadership is just around the corner. Here Ron Edmondson shares seven ways to maintain respect as a leader.

Originally posted by Ron Edmondson

People follow people they trust. They trust people they respect.

As a leader, one of your most valuable and needed assets is the respect of the people you are trying to lead. If a leader is respected, people will follow him or her almost anywhere.   If a leader looses respect it becomes very difficult to regain respect.

Often a new leader is given respect because of his or her position as a leader, but respect can be quickly lost due to performance. Many times it’s the seemingly small things which cause the most damage to a leader’s reputation and damages respect.

I have found with a few simple (some not so simple) acts help protect the respect a leader enjoys.

Here are 7 ways to maintain respect as a leader:

1.  Be responsive. Return phone calls and emails promptly. Be accessible to real people. You may not always be available, but you can create systems where people are genuinely valued and heard.

2.  Be consistent. Do what you say you will do. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Don’t tell people what they want to hear, but speak grace and truth in all circumstances. Let people learn to trust you are a person of your word and can be depended upon based on what you say.

3.  Have high character. Act with integrity. Be honest. Protect your moral credibility. Be transparent and open to challenge. Allow a few people to know the real you and speak into the dark places of your life.

4.  Be fair to everyone. Don’t be too harsh. Don’t be too soft. Treat everyone with respect. Genuinely love people. (People know when you do or don’t.)

5.  Keep growing. Learn continually and encourage growth in yourself and others. Ask questions. Be teachable. Read. Observe. Glean from others and experience.

6.  Have good work ethic. I personally think leaders should work as hard or harder than others on their team. But, having a good work ethic doesn’t mean over-working either. It’s working smart and setting a good example for others to follow.

7.  Be courageous. Make hard decisions. Don’t shy away from conflict. Know who you are in Christ and live boldly the calling God places on your life. Live with the aim to finish well — in spite of the obstacles you encounter.

Maintaining respect is a matter of acting in a respectable way. How are you doing? You may want to ask the ones you are supposed to be leading.



A spiritual audit to see how you are really doing; tough but essential questions to ask yourself,

Six questions to ask yourself in conducting a personal audit.

1. Am I content with who I am becoming? 

I must be sure my profession does not consume my person. It's important that I be more than I do or have. When the time comes for me to leave my title and power, will I have anything to fill the vacuum? As I mature am I moving from power to wisdom; from the offensive to being sought out?
…Throw off your old evil nature--the old you that was a partner in your evil ways--rotten through and through, full of lust and sham. Now your attitudes and thoughts must all be constantly changing for the better. Yes, you must be a new and different person, holy and good. Clothe yourself with this new nature. (Eph. 4:22-24 Living) 
(See Job 22:23; Ez.18:30-32; 2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 2:11; 3:8,9; Heb 12:1; Jms. 1:21)

2. Do I have a quiet center to my life? 

For many of us our life motto seems to be, "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout." God's word however encourages us to Be still and know that I am God. (Psa. 46:10) There is an important difference between the fast track and the frantic track. By way of contrast, Jesus quietly went about doing good. He had a quiet center. A peace, which evidenced the presence of God. Do I? (See Psa. 131:2; 23:2; Isa. 30:15; 32:17)

3. Is my prayer life improving? 

Do my decisions have prayer as an integral part or do I make decisions out of my desires and then immerse them a sanctimonious sauce I call prayer?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer…present your requests to God. (Phil. 4:6a,c) 
(See I Ki. 3:5; 2 Chr. 7:14; Ps. 37:4; Matt. 6:6-9; 7:7,8; 21:22; Jn. 14:13,14; 16:23,24; Jas. 5:16-18)

4. Is my humility genuine? 

There is nothing so arrogant as false humility. Humility is not denying the power that I have but admitting that the power comes through me, not from me. 
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Phil. 2:3) 
(See Ps. 37:11; 131:1; Prov 11:2; 27:2; Isa 57:15; 66:2b; Jer. 45:5; Micah 6:8; Lk. 18:14; 1 Pet.5:5)

5. Is obedience in small matters built into my reflexes? 

Do I try to bargain with God or rationalize with him? Obedience largely determines my relation with Christ. Good intentions count for little. 
Obedience is the test of whether we really live 'in God' or not. The life of a man who professes to be living in God must bear the stamp of Christ. (I Jn. 2:5, 6 Phil Trans.) (See Prov. 19:16; 19:17; 1Jn. 5:3; Lk. 6:46)

6. Do I have joy? 

Joy is perfected in the full belief in the total sovereignty of God. Doubt dilutes joy. Does my joy extend into my suffering; understanding that my suffering is my maturation?
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (Jms. 1:2-4) 
(See Neh. 8:10; Isa.12:1-3;61:10; Rom.15:13; 2Cor 6:10)

Adapted from an article by Dwight Hill


Feedback; the breakfast of leadership champions!

All good leaders want to be life-long learners. One way to continue to learn is to seek feedback on how you are currently doing and solicit ways you could do better. Dan Rockwell shares 5 ways to pursue feedback.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

Short-sighted leaders love giving feedback, but seldom seek it. When was the last time you said, “I’d like your feedback.”

Leaders don’t invite feedback because they don’t want it. You may say you don’t have time. But, it’s strange how you make time to give feedback, but not invite it?

The pursuit of feedback enhances all other leadership pursuits. And when leaders grow, everyone around them gets better.

5 ways to pursue feedback:

#1. Get over yourself. If you were as good as you thought, you’d be walking on water. Humility fuels transformation.

#2. Connect feedback to values. For example, GE values “External Focus. Define success through the customer’s eyes ….” Here’s a way to seek feedback connected to “External Focus.”

  1. What am I doing that makes you believe I define success through the customer’s eyes?
  2. If you were me, what would you do differently in regards to defining success through the customer’s eyes?
  3. How might I be devaluing customers?
  4. How am I making it difficult for others to define success through the customer’s eyes? Easy?
  5. What could I do this week to define success through customer’s eyes?

#3. Narrow context. After a team meeting, ask for feedback about the way you ran the meeting, for example.

  1. What did I do that was confusing?
  2. What did I do that energized/de-energized others?
  3. If you were me, what would you have done differently?
  4. Explain intent. “I was trying to move the ball down the field.”
    • What worked?
    • What hindered my intent?
    • What would you suggest I try next time?

#4. Prepare for next time. Suppose you’re preparing to have a tough conversation. Send your plan to a coach or boss and ask for feedback before you begin.

#5. Make the good better. Feedback often focuses on improving what went wrong. Invite feedback to improve what you do well.

What prevents leaders from seeking feedback?

How might leaders actively pursue feedback?



Four things to do for those you lead that will exponentially improve your leadership,

I’m going to assume that leaders worth their salt want to become better leaders by growing in their walk with Jesus and, flowing out of that, be the best leaders they can be. I know do!

I'm sure that the number of things you could do to become a better leader with those you lead are endless, but here are four with which to start:

 1. Inform Them

The people you lead will respect your leadership and do excellently if you inform them of the Purpose/Values/Vision and key initiatives your team, group or organization is currently operating from. This gets everyone on the same page and keeps alignment strong and healthy.

Additionally, it has been my experience that people function (and serve) much better when they are clear on what you are asking them to do (a written ministry or job description) and are also clear on your expectations for the role. Spell it out for them in as much detail as necessary and make sure there is adequate understanding. A clear job description and a clear articulation of expectations can also be the basis for future evaluations.

2. Empower Them

 Set your people free to do what you have asked them to do. Don’t look over their shoulders or micro-manage them. Give them freedom and turn them loose. The more freedom you give people to do their jobs the way they’d like to do them, the more satisfaction they’ll get from their work. Most leaders are supposed to be a little smarter than other people and, in most respects, they probably are. But if leaders insist on doing all the thinking for their organizations, if everything has to be done THEIR way, what’s left for the people who work for them to be proud of?

 How much personal satisfaction can there be in doing a job that is completely programmed, where your muscles or brain are used to perform repetitive operations already planned and dictated by someone else?

Turn people loose, get out of their way and watch what happens!

3. Encourage Them

I have never met a person who felt that they were encouraged too much and couldn’t handle any more. Build the habit of frequently (and publicly, as much as possible) expressing appreciation and gratitude for what they are doing and how they are behaving in their responsibilities. Be specific. “You’re doing great” won’t cut it. Mention something specific that they have recently done and tell them how it has benefited the organization or team. Send along that encouragement as soon as you can after you notice something to be commended. For it to be effective, encouragement needs to be specific, enthusiastic and timely. Recently I was impressed with Acts 20:2 in The Message: “Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he (Paul) gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.

That became a memory verse for me that I take very much to heart!

 4. Confront Them

Just as people need to be encouraged when they are doing well, so do they need to be confronted when they are doing poorly. As with  encouraging, this should also be very specific so that they know exactly what they need to give attention to. And, as opposed to publicly, this confrontation needs to be private.

Point out where they need to improve or change and walk with them in the process. Make resources, people and tools available to help them grow and change. Be honest and frank, but considerate, when confronting. Reassure them that you believe in them and are confident that they can address the issue(s) that are holding them back.

As a leader, if you inform, empower, encourage & confront with the help of the Holy Spirit and in such a way that honors the Lord Jesus, you will be a better leader and the people you are privileged to lead will fare much better as valued team members.