What is “grace”? Some would define it as “unmerited favor” (whatever that means!). Often we hear the word “grace” as it relates to the work Christ did on our behalf on the Cross. However, the apostle Paul used the word to describe how God appointed and entrusted Paul to do ministry. In today’s post I show how God’s grace was essential to the apostle Paul’s ministry and how it is necessary for your leadership.

I. NOT BECAUSE OF PAUL’S OWN WORK

Acts 8:1 says that, “Saul [who was later renamed Paul] was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Steven.” Later in Paul’s life in a letter to the Philippians he says, ” I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin–a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law” (Phil 3:5). It was obvious that Paul was a strong believer in YHWH, the God of Israel based on the Old Testament. He stood to persecute this new Way that had urupted and he was doing everything that he could to stop it. Yet, he was the one chosen by God to do bring the news of Jesus to the Gentiles. Paul being appointed to do the work of God had nothing to do with Paul’s own work; it had everything to do with God’s grace.

II. APPOINTMENT FROM GOD

Paul’s appointment by God for God’s work is told in Acts 9. After Paul sees Jesus appear to him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-9) God spoke to a man named Ananias about going to see Paul. God told Ananias, “But the Lord said, ‘Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel'” (Acts 9:15). Later in Paul’s ministry he affirms that his appointment for ministry was from God (Acts 26:19-20).

In Paul’s numerous letters he regularly refers to himself as

  • “a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle” (Rom 1:1).
  • “God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom 11:13).

When writing to the Corinthians Paul starts his letter in this way,

  • “This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 1:1).
  • “This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus” (2 Cor 1:1).

To the Galatians:

  • “This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead” (Gal 1:1).

While Paul had knowledge and understanding that might have led him to be successful, Paul makes it clear in his letters that he was appointed for work by God.

III. APPOINTMENT BY GRACE

Paul makes it clear that he was appointed to do work by grace.

  • “Even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him” (Gal 1:15).
  • “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecutived his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love tht come from Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 1:12-14).

IV. WITH THE APPOINTMENT THERE WAS WORK TO BE DONE

After Paul’s appointment from God he immediately began his work. While imprisoned later in his life Paul tells King Agrippa about his ministry history, “I obeyed that vision from heaven. I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God–and prove they have changed by the good things they do” (Acts 26:19-20).

  • “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him” (1 Tim 1:12).
  • “And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of his Good News” (2 Tim 1:11).
  • “This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim fiath to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives” (Titus 1:1).

V. GOD’S APPOINTMENT COMPELLED PAUL TO CONSTANT HUMILITY

“I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews” (Acts 20:19).

VI.   PAUL WAS ENTRUSTED TO DO THE WORK GOD GAVE HIM

“And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him” (Titus 1:3).

VII. CONCLUSION

In a similar way we too need to be appointed for our work. That appointment probably will not be in the same form as Paul with Jesus appearing to him personally, but our own appointment is something that should be clear to us. That appointment might be someone who sees strength that we have to do something correctly. Someone might see that we have a natural gift in a certain area. Or it might be a position that God has allowed us to have within an organization.

Paul experienced suffering from the beginning of his Christian ministry. After Paul regained his sight (Acts 9:17-19) he began preaching in the synagogues in the city of Damascus (Acts 9:20). Shortly after Paul began his preaching ministry some Jews made a plan to kill him (Acts 9:17-20, 23). This persecution and suffering of Paul would become a theme for the rest of his life.

Paul's Suffering as a Leader

“Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.* I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.” (2 Cor 11:23-27) 1

I.     PAUL’S SUFFERING WAS FROM GOD Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the New Living Translation

The 70-20-10 strategy was created by the Center for Creative Leadership based on thirty years of Lessons of Experience research. 1 This strategy is designed to help current leaders develop potential leaders with limited time requirements. In this post I show you how to use the 70-20-10 strategy to develop potential leaders in your nonprofit organization or church. How To Use the 70 20 10 Principle for Leadership DevelopmentThe 70-20-10 rule for leader development follows this breakdown: 70 percent challenging assignments, 20 percent developmental relationships, and 10 percent coursework and training. In nonprofit organization these three components reinforce each other and add up to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Before examining the 70-20-10 strategy closer, it is important to describe what it is not. Robin Hoyle mentions that he has seen the 70-20-10 approach misrepresented in the following statements: 90 percent of learning is done on the job, it is how people naturally learn, the numbers do not matter at all, the 20 percent is done most effectively through Twitter and LinkedIn, and that since most learning is done on the job there is no need for training courses (Hoyle, Informal Learning in Organizations, 169).

I. THE 70-20-10 STRATEGY FOR LEADER DEVELOPMENT

A. 70 Percent Challenging Assignments

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Notes:

  1. Ron Rabin, Blended Learning for Leadership: The CCL Approach (Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership, 2014). The 70-20-10 principle is also described by Kramer and Nayak, Nonprofit Leadership Development, 82-101; Kramer, “Solving the Time and Money Puzzle”; and Hoyle, Informal Learning in Organizations, 168-177.

In his book, Developing the Leaders Around You, John Maxwell writes, “Varied experiences add incredibly to people’s development. It keeps them growing, stretching, and learning. The broader people’s base of experience, the better they will be at handling new challenges, solving problems, and overcoming difficult situations” (p. 118). Providing potential leaders with new projects and tasks is what gives them the skills they need to develop into leaders. Thankfully, this idea helps current leaders because they can get rid of projects they are working on which can easily be delegated to potential leaders. However, this is not an opportunity for leaders to dump tasks and projects that leaders do not want to do. 

3 Simple Ways to Develop Potential Leaders

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I. GIVE POTENTIAL LEADERS NEW PROJECTS AND TASKS

A. Leaders Delegate Projects and Tasks

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In nonprofit organizations, people will always be coming and going. Therefore, nonprofit organizations and churches must develop a pipeline of potential leaders. John Maxwell describes the importance of looking for potential leaders when he writes, “There is something much more important and scarce than ability: It is the ability to recognize ability. One of the primary responsibilities of a successful leader is to identify potential leaders. It’s not always an easy job, but it is critical” (Developing the Leaders Around You, p. 37). Included in this pipeline of potential leaders are the necessary qualities a potential leader needs to have as well as some of the basic skills that need to be possessed for future development of leaders. 

The Qualities You Want in Your Pipeline of Potential Leaders

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I. PREREQUISITE QUALITIES FOR A PIPELINE OF POTENTIAL LEADERS

Some people are happy with their current job responsibilities and do not want to stretch into new roles. This means that some people will not want to be developed into leaders. Maxwell’s summary of this issue is relevant, “Nurture all of your people, equip many. But develop only a few—the few who are ready and willing”(Developing the Leaders Around You, p. 109). Below is a list of the prerequisite qualities for Christian and secular potential leaders that should not just be nurtured or equipped, but also developed.

A. Christian

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