Entries by Dave Kraft (1040)


7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

Stephen Covey wrote a book describing the seven habits of highly effective people. Well, if there are habits that people can acquire to make them effective, then there are also habits that leaders will want to avoid or break that cause them to be ineffective.

Here are some I have been thinking about and working on:

Leaders who want to be effective will be careful that they are not:


Leadership guru Warren Bennis notes that most organizations are over-managed and under-led. There are major differences between managing and leading. Here are a few:

Generally speaking:

  • Managers think short term, leaders long term
  • Managers control and minimize change, leaders initiate change
  • Managers are reactive (responding to ideas) leaders are proactive (creating ideas)
  • Managers solve problems, leaders create excitement, generating more problems by coming up with new ideas never tried before
  • Managers are process-oriented (how it is done), leaders are result-oriented (why and if it is done)
  • Managers motivate by rules and regulations, leaders by empowerment and vision


John Maxwell makes the observation that people with very strong mercy gifts don't function well in visionary leadership. They don't want to hurt anybody or make decisions that offend or cause conflict. My experience would verify that.

Those leaders who know they have a strong mercy side must be very careful about who they spend time with. All their available time and energy will go to the hurting and the discouraged, leaving minimal time to develop future leaders which is the leader’s main responsibility. The hurting will find you. You will have to find the leaders.


The leader needs to be a proactive fire lighter, not a reactive fire fighter. Many leaders spend so much time dealing with issues in a crises mode that they have precious little time left to deal with the longer term issues so as to not be caught behind the change curve.


We have all heard the expression, "Don’t just sit there, do something." Leaders need to practice, "Don’t just do something, sit there." A good leader will balance out doing and dreaming, active and quiet, energized and hibernating. A good leader will have less on the "do list" and will free up time to "just sit there"--not always chasing his own tail light in the traffic of life. 

Many leaders are entirely too busy with the day-to-day issues and spend comparatively little time in creative dreaming and time alone with God. Peter Drucker says that action without thinking is the cause of every failure. 


The war will not be won from behind the pulpit. Many leaders invest entirely too much time in public teaching in spite of the fact that statistics show that 70-80% of most audiences are not listening and will not apply what they are getting. Speaking to the crowds needs to be balanced out with investing quality and quantity time with the few who can and will reproduce (2 Timothy 2:2).


Short-term thinking leaders do it all by themselves, long-term thinking leaders get others to help them. You have two choices in your leadership. Do it yourself, or get others to help you carry the load (Number 11:17). Your willingness and determination to train, delegate and work through others, more than anything else, may well define your effectiveness and success in ministry. 

Today is the day of the team and collaborative leadership, not "the Lone Ranger." I have been in the hiring position numerous times through the years and the person I'm always looking for is the one who does ministry through people, not for people, or with people. Delegate or suffocate, which will it be?


I wish we had more leaders (in the church as well as in the private and public sectors) who do the biblically correct thing and are not overly worried about the politically correct thing. Leaders who don’t hold their wet finger in the wind to see which way it is blowing but using that same finger to turn the pages of Holy Writ to see which way the Spirit of God wants to move.


  • Lead, not merely manage
  • Develop future leaders
  • Light new fires
  • Spend time praying, dreaming and planning
  • Do ministry through others
  • Make biblically based decisions

So, my fellow leader, how are you doing? Is there something you need to change, do differently?


Things to seriously consider before planting a church!

Church planting is one of the most difficult of ministry callings.  Many, if not most, church plants don’t succeed. Here are some great insights from Brian Howard on what to seriously consider before planting. Do share this with those you know who are praying and considering church planting as a ministry.

Originally posted by Brian Howard

Fourteen Things to Consider BEFORE Church Planting

Are you considering Church Planting? Here are Fourteen things to consider BEFORE church planting

1. Are You Character Qualified?

The character qualifications for a pastor are clear in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Don’t create a future train-wreck if you know in your heart that you have legitimate character issues. And don’t move forward if your current local church has not affirmed your character.

2. Is Your Primary Goal to Reach People For Christ?

The reason to plant a church is to reach new people for Christ. Planting a church to “Do church better” than other churches is not a reason to plant a church. We don’t need more “gospel-centered” churches who believe that no other church in their community gets the gospel right. We also don’t need more hipster churches that simply cater to young Christians.  What we do need are church planters whose primary focus is to reach people for Christ.

3. Do You Have a Strong Desire to Plant?

Church planting is a trendy thing to do. Young Christian men often feel like the highest ministry calling is to plant a church. There are many ways to be in gospel ministry other than planting a church. Do YOU have a strong desire to plant a church or is it someone else’s plan for you? Desire alone is not a call, but the strong desire to plant is a part of a call.

4. Do you Have A Place?

Planting is about taking the gospel to a particular location to reach a particular people. If you have a generic desire to plant a church but no clear focus on a people to reach, then you are not ready to plant a church.

5. Do you Have Opportunity in a Particular Place?

The desire to plant a church in a given place is not enough to move forward. What other indicators are clearly pointing the way to where you are considering planting? Do you already have a substantial group of people in a particular place? Is there NO gospel witness in that specific place? Is there an opportunity for funding for that particular location? If God has called you to a place, doors will be open, and the opportunity will be clear.

6. Are You a Cultural Insider?

My consistent experience is that the most successful planters plant in a place where they are cultural insiders. There are times when a man is called to go to another culture, but this tends to be the exception than the rule. If you have a desire, clear opportunity, and affirmation to go to a different culture, this may well God’s calling. Know, however, that as a cultural outsider, your church planting journey will be longer. You will likely spend several years learning the culture of the place where you are going (Even in a US city where you are not from). If you do not have clear desire, affirmation, and opportunity indicators, you are wise to plant in a familiar culture. My encouragement is to get out a map and put a mark on it where you (and your wife) grew up. Consider planting within a 6-hour drive of where you grew up.

7. Do you have a Track Record of Starting Things?

Being a decent teacher or a caring pastor does not qualify you to plant a church. Church planters are starters and builders. How do you know if this is you? Past performance is the best indicator of future performance. What have you started from scratch? Do you have a pattern of successfully starting new things? Church planters think like entrepreneurs.

8. What Has grown Under Your Leadership?

Church planting involves not only starting something but leading the plant to grow to the point where it is sustainable. Do you have a track record of building and growing things in your past? When you lead things, do they grow?

9. Do Other People Believe that You Should Plant a Church?

Affirmation is part of a call. Would those who know you affirm that you should plant a church? Does your current church see you as a church planter? Is there anyone telling you that you are not gifted to do this? Pay attention to the people who are around you. God will use them to speak truth into your life.

10. How Many People are Willing to Join With You?

Who is willing to follow you to plant this church? Successful Church Planters are able to gather people to join them. A Church Planter is the lead missiologist of a band of missionaries. Is anyone willing to go with you or join you on the mission?

11. Are People Lining Up to Fund the Church Plant?

Have you found that people and churches are willing to fund this vision? If a potential church planter is unable to raise sufficient funding, then he should not plant a church. Part of the affirmation and gifting of a church planter is the ability to raise funds.

12. Have you Gone Through a Church Planting Assessment?

A Church planting assessment is a beneficial and worthwhile investment.  Having a team of seasoned veteran church planters evaluate your readiness to plant is a step that you would be wise to walk through. You can take a simple assessment here.  You will find Acts 29’s application process here.

13. Is Your Family on Board With you?

Church Planting is not a one person commitment. If you are married, is your wife on board and committed? It takes a lot of energy and perseverance to plant a church. Setting out to plant with a wife whose commitment is questionable will make the road much more difficult.

14. Have you Served for Several Years on a Church Staff?

Head coaches are first assistant coaches. Successful twenty-five-year-old church planters who have not first served for several years on a church team are a rarity. You may be able to point to an exception, but it is just that – an exception. Before you plant a church, put in several years on a church staff team maturing, learning to work under authority, learning about different kinds of ministry.




“Find out if you are a gift-dependent or grace-dependent leader”

Proverbs 3:5,6 (ESV) instructs us to: ”Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” It’s okay to use your understanding, but not lean on it. Likewise it’s okay to use your spiritual gifts but not lean on them, depending instead on God’s grace in life and ministry.

The bottom-line question to ask: Is the focus of your ministry on the gift or on the giver?

It’s a fine balance…a delicate dance.

When I was a younger leader, I knew nothing and I knew that I knew nothing. It led me to become grace-dependent.  But, as I got older and more experienced, the more tempting it was to become gift-dependent and experience-dependent.

I desire to grow in:

  • Using my gifts, but not depending on my gifts.
  • Being thankful for my gifts, but not proud of my gifts
  • Knowing my gifts, but not being envious of other’s gifts

Paul makes a distinction between gift and grace dependency in 1 Corinthians 3:5-7: “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” It’s not men and their gifts, but God and his grace that makes things happen!

On the same theme and in the same book, 1 Corinthians 15:10 in The Message reads:

“But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I’m not about to let his grace go to waste. Haven’t I worked hard trying to do more than any of the others? Even then, my work didn’t amount to all that much. It was God giving me the work to do, God giving me the energy to do it.” (Underlining mine)

My prayer for myself, and others, is to be led by him, empowered by him and honoring him-- that is, to be grace-dependent rather than gift-dependent.

Here are some ways to tell the difference:

Five characteristics of gift-dependent leaders

  1. Gift-dependent leaders tend to look to their own skill and ability to determine ministry success
  2. Gift-dependent leaders often don’t see their need for confession and repentance
  3. Gift-dependent leaders sometimes manipulate followers, through their gifts, to achieve their ends
  4. Gift-dependent leaders easily overestimate what they can do and underestimate what God will do
  5. Gift-dependent leaders fall into the sin of being more in love with their gifts than the giver

Five characteristics of grace-dependent leaders

  1. Grace-dependent leaders live by the conviction that fruitful ministry is impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit
  2. Grace-dependent leaders realize that God has ordained and allowed difficulties, pain and failure to uncover their weaknesses and sin, and reveal their need of him.
  3. Grace-dependent leaders regularly practice repentance as the engine of the Christian life and a necessity in their lives
  4. Grace-dependent leaders understand that being vulnerable and honest about sin, mistakes and weaknesses actually increase rather than decrease their effectiveness
  5. Grace-dependent leaders will motivate people, through the power of the Holy Spirit, rather than manipulate people through the power of their own gifts





The five top things to look for in potential leaders. Not what you'd think!

Sometimes when we are looking for future leaders (and every true leaders is always on the hunt) we are looking for the wrong things, or not the most important things. So what should you be looking for? Dan Rockwell (Leadership Freak) share with us the top five things to look for in potential leaders. You may be surprised!

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell


Character and skill are essential for remarkable success, but not enough. Successful leaders develop others.

But who?

The top 5 things to look for in potential leaders:

#1. Stubbornness. Headstrong people may be hard to convince, but once you convince them, they’re stubborn in a good way.

  • Convince headstrong people that you’re helping them get where they want to go.
  • Gain the respect of stubborn people by standing up to them. Be respectful, but not a pushover.

#2. Ego. The desire for greatness is healthy when focused on service. The more you serve, the more you enhance your worth. Healthy ego wants to make a difference. Look for people who want to matter.

Aspiration is a comfortable word for ego.

How would they make the world better if given the opportunity?

#3. Frustration. The desire to change things often begins with frustration. Discontent expresses itself as aggravation. I’m not suggesting that you tolerate abuse.

Look for people with some heat in their hearts.

#4. Teachability.

Know-it-alls have nowhere to go.

How do they take correction?

  • What are they currently learning?
  • What are they reading?
  • Who have they learned from in the past?
  • How have they changed their thinking?
  • What sparks their curiosity?
  • How many questions do they ask?

#5. Busyness. If they aren’t busy now, you’ll end up pushing them later.

Why develop leaders:

Successful leaders understand the power of ‘with’. 

Self-development is the first development. But don’t shackle yourself by leading alone. Develop the people around you.

If you’re doing leadership alone, you aren’t doing it right.

What qualities do you want in potential leaders?

Which of the five qualities listed above seem most important? Why?




What does biblical contentment really mean and really look like?

There are four things I pray for myself most every day:

1.  Purity (both sexual purity and purity of motive)

2.  Humility

3.  Contentment

4.  Patience

I have met, and worked with, my share of frustrated, unhappy, angry, domineering leaders--but not a lot of contented leaders.

Some equate contentment with laziness, complacency and lack of ambition. Nothing could be further from the truth. You can be very content and very ambitious at the same time. Contentment has less to do with the amount of, or intensity, of the activity you are involved in and more to do with your mind-set. Who are you truly trusting to see things happen in your life, relationships, work and ministry--yourself or God?

Over the last several months the theme of contentment has been on my mind, in my prayers and in my planning more than usual.

In some extended time with the Lord a week or so ago, I read through the book of Philippians in the Phillips Translation. In chapter four, starting with verse 10, Paul deals with contentment.  These statements stood out to me: “I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be.” And, “Yes, I am quite content.”    (Phillips)

I so want this for my own life and His ministry through me!                     

Here is what I am thinking about and praying about most days as it relates to contentment:

Who I am

This has to do with my identity in Christ.  Who he has made me to be: my gifts, my capacity, my personality, my upbringing, my education. I am a composite of all of these elements—and perhaps others as well. I don’t want to be somebody else, but just want to be me. I love Romans 12:6 in The Message, “Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” My daughter Anna once saw a bumper sticker that said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”  Gotta love it!

What I Am

Now, I want to make an important distinction between who I am and what I am. Who I am has to do with identity whereas what I am has to do with maturity. I don’t want to be content with what I am, but desire to grow--deal with sin in my life and confess and repent when the Holy Spirit calls me out on something. I don’t want to ever fall into the trap of making excuses by saying, “Well, that’s just the way I am.”

Where I am

Where I am has to do with sovereignty. I believe that God is sovereign and has allowed me to be where I am. It’s too easy to say I would be doing better, be more effective or fruitful if I were somebody else or someplace else.

Acts 17:26: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.” (ESV) Lorne Sanny, former president of The Navigators said, “Serve God where you are, because you can’t serve him where you aren’t.” Oh, to serve right here where I am and not be discontented or desire to be somewhere else.

What I’m doing

I want to be content with what he is providing me to do and the opportunities he is sending my way for influence for the gospel and the kingdom. I want to begin each day with thankfulness for what lies before me and not be unhealthily desirous for something else. I have heard many leaders say they are not happy where they are or doing what they’re doing, and are looking forward to something else, somewhere else. Now, obviously there may come a time when the sovereign Lord of your life will give you something else to do and somewhere else to do it; but, until that happens, be content in your current situation.

What He’s doing

I can’t make someone grow or cause someone to become a Christian. I can plant and  water but God makes it happen, “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord has assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” ~ I Corinthians 3:5-7 (ESV).

I don’t want what someone else is experiencing. I don’t want what God is doing through and for someone else. By his grace, I want to be content with what he is doing right now, right here, in and through me…nothing more and nothing less. I don’t want envy or jealousy, flowing out of comparing, to be a slap in the face of the one who has called me and put me where I am.

After 48 years of vocational Christian ministry I am finally starting to get what true biblical contentment is all about. I hope it doesn’t take you that long.




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