Leadership Class

Over the last 42 years of pastoring at JBC my favorite part has been teaching my “Men’s Leadership Class”. It is a class of about a dozen guys that meet with me weekly for 9 months with class lectures from me, reading assignments from good books, scripture memorization assignments, writing assignments, and group accountability for those assignments. At the end of the 9 month class each man gives a 15 minute sermon in a regular church service as their graduation exercise. I schedule 3 guys per service until they have all spoken, and they are easily my favorite services of the year. Tonight in our Saturday evening service 3 men spoke and there will be three more in each of the two services tomorrow. The 3 tonight did amazingly well and I expect that tomorrow will be equally as good. It has been so long ago I can’t even remember what prompted me to start that very first class, but I did, and it was pretty basic and bare bones, after all I was just off of the farm and I didn’t know very much to teach. But I kept reading the Bible, reading good books, going to seminars, going to graduate school, and gradually learning the principles of living life God’s way. As I learned new truth, I wrote it down as simply and as understandably as I could, then I would teach it to my “Men’s Leadership Class”. It wasn’t hard to tell from the reaction of the guys in my class if I had accomplished my goal of making the truth practical, understandable, and motivational. When it was obvious to me that my lesson was as clear as mud, I reworked it and eventually got it to the point where when I taught it I saw guys looking back at me with “bright eyes”, that expression and look that said, “I get it”. In over 40 years of teaching the class there are literally several hundred men in our church who have graduated from the class. These are the men who are giving leadership to much of the ministry happening at JBC. They initiate and start new ministries, they do this without supervision, they do it faithfully, they think creatively how to make it better and more effective, and a key component is that they pursue and maintain the unity and love in our church which is crucial to God’s blessing us. Over the years certain motto’s have arisen which we picked up in the various leadership books we have read that describe what “Leadership Class” is all about. “Leadership is Influence”, “All leadership is earned, never demanded”, “Everything rises and falls on the quality of the leadership”, “You can’t lead others until you can lead yourself”, “God loves to give His authority to people who are faithful”, “When you have God’s authority leadership is easy, when you don’t have His authority leadership is impossible”, and there are dozens of others. This year I started a ladies class, and it has turned out super enjoyable for me, and I am feeling much more confident that I can actually teach ladies successfully. This year was a pilot class and I learned a lot that I will incorporate into next years class and I will keep adjusting the content and the method until I get it fine tuned. I have 7 clear goals for the “Men’s Class”, and I will share them tomorrow. I am still working on what my goals are for the ladies class, and I aim to have them done by the time the next class starts this Fall.

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