In recent years Junior has been increasingly sought for leadership development. While many of these are ministerial or church-related, he has also helped communicators, sports coaches, developing business leaders, even teachers and doctoral candidates, in some of the most nuanced and often overlooked ways. Similarly, a growing number of leaders have expressed interest in a regular devotional, mini-teaching, or commentary from Junior on leadership. In response, the bit below is for you. (All content here and sitewide is the intellectual and copyright property of JDM. All rights reserved.)
When doing multiperson leadership equipping, Junior loves to use small "Mount of Olives" home meetings. These relaxed, candid environments compel leaders to ask questions, share freely, dialogue in-depth, nourish interleader intimacy, and practice their gifted craft in a nurturant, but guided, setting. Individual follow-up spins off naturally and supernaturally from these unusually productive meetings.
As a leader, you are the genes of your group or organization. Your unique helix of personality, instincts, abilities, experience, and maturity level will determine the visible nature and quality of your group. Not only does this impose a stern mandate of personal growth and leadership development, it cautions us to wisely discern the epigenetics of leadership also: who we agree to lead, under what conditions, and for how long.
A favorite JDM scripture on leadership captures "the heart" and "the brain" of leadership, or said another way, inner health and leadership skill. It is Psalm 78:72 (NKJV): So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.
Below is Junior's most recent devotional, mini-teaching, or commentary on leadership. Sometimes these are ministerial, sometimes they are ubiquitous or some other specialization.
On Learning Adaptability at Zarephath, "The Refinery"
Read 1Kings 17:8-24. Zarephath was a Gentile town between Tyre and Sidon in Phoenicia. This is the precise subregion where the legendary Jezebel grew up; her father was king of Sidon (16:31). Ekklesia leaders, ponder this deeply: the Lord sent Elijah to Cherith, his home region, then He sent him to Zarephath, Jezebel's home region. Why on earth would God do this? Why would He send Elijah to Zarephath, the very neighborhood Jezebel was from?
The answer is in the meaning of the name Zarephath. Zarephath means "refinery, a workshop for melting and refining metals". Elijah needed to be socially refined in five major ways, and that would happen here at Zarephath. For this leadership devotional I will focus only on one: adaptability.
Cherith was a familiar place for Elijah, but Zarephath was the extreme opposite, harshly unfamiliar. Elijah was a Hebrew, Zarephath was Gentile. Elijah grew up in Gilead, a rugged land, Zarephath was on the coast, a beach paradise. At Cherith Elijah was alone, at Zarephath he lived with a widow and her son. Cherith was a secret and safe place, Zarephath was the home region of Jezebel, the woman trying to kill him. Imagine if she came home to Phoenicia to visit family and found Elijah in her own backyard!
Elijah had some major adapting to do in Zarephath, the refinery of metals. The Lord placed him here for a time to refine his social adaptability, flexibility, versatility, elasticity. The hard, inflexible metal of scripted behaviors and autopilot responses would be melted here at the refinery, at Zarephath.
Leaders, we, too, must pass through Zarephath experiences in our destiny process. We cannot live or lead like hard, inflexible metals, i.e., by scripted behaviors and autopilot responses. Our calling will require that we be socially adaptable, flexible, versatile, elastic. Graceful, pliable, improvisational. This means going to places and dealing with people that are unfamiliar, different, even radically opposite of us. Is it hard for you to be yourself in unfamiliar settings? Do you become introverted, apprehensive, or judgmental? If so, you have a Zarephath scheduled. The Lord will place you in the refinery of metals to melt that hard inflexibility.