My wife and I just returned from a conference in Bogota, Colombia where we taught pastors and their wives. We were privileged to serve with Juan Carlos Flores Zúñiga and his wife Orietta who arranged the conference through his organization. Lance Witt and his wife Connie were also on the teaching team. He served as the executive pastor at Saddleback for several years and now leads his own ministry. Vicente Castillo, a pastor from Mexico also taught.
We served over 75 pastors and their spouses and it was a humbling experience. These gracious people reminded me of 4 crucial leadership principles.
- Leaders who grow must must cultivate a hunger to keep growing. I was amazed at how these pastors took prodigious notes as I spoke. Their desire to learn was palpable.
- Godly leaders embody an attitude of gratitude. Although all the pastors showed appreciation, one brought tears to my eyes. He said many years ago an American missionary gave him a small new testament. That small bible became instrumental in his conversion. He said with great joy, “God bless America.” He viewed America as a tool in God’s hand to point him to Jesus.
- The best leaders never stop sacrificing for the greater cause of the Kingdom. I learned that many of these pastors left good paying jobs as engineers, business executives, and other professional vocations to serve Christ full-time. Unfortunately, in America we are tempted to settle into a comfortable life-style in ministry and forget Jesus’ call to continual sacrifice.
- God uses leaders who show child-like faith. I sat in a restaurant and listened to a pastor’s wife tell story after story how God had miraculously provided for them. She described God’s work with such freshness and enthusiasm that the Lord convicted me of my sometimes lack of this kind of faith.
Leaders must constantly remind themselves that these four principles really matter to God. And, He uses the most unlikely people and places to remind us, as He did for me.
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