Author Archive for Todd Sanders

A Time to Grow

Effective leaders grow. There is never a point at which a true leader has arrived. Effective leaders take opportunities to soak up new information, explore new directions, and sharpen needed skills in their work and with people. Their constant desire to improve feeds consistent success.

Leaders also know how to follow. They seek knowledge, experience, and wisdom from others they can then pass on to those coming behind.

Leadership guru John Maxwell (everyone knows all leadership principles somehow originate from John Maxwell) talks about the “leadership lid,” the limit of a person’s leadership ability, and encourages those in leadership to push that limit and raise the lid of their leadership potential through personal and professional growth. This drive to mature, expand, and stretch is part of the DNA of one who leads.

If you want to be an effective leader, keep growing.

ReConnect training opportunities, like the numerous clinics available this August, are a great opportunity for Sunday School and small groups leaders to increase their leadership potential and effectiveness. They are an opportunity to grow.

These clinics offer Student ministry leaders a chance to explore student engagement in the small group and how to connect students in evangelism, Bible Study, community, and the mission of God in the world.

Leaders, take advantage of the opportunities coming this August. Come grow with us!

The More Things Change

You know what they say (whoever they are). The more things change the more they stay the same. Truth is, some things never change. I was recently thumbing through a copy of the church study course book Guiding Young People in Bible Study (W.L. Howse, 1955) and came across some things (a lot of things) that seemed wildly relevant and timely to working with students today. Now, we won’t get into the particulars of why I was perusing an old church study course book, but I wanted to take some time to share with you some of my findings. Who knows? Maybe I will share some more down the road, but for now, consider these:

Among the things listed as measures of successful teaching in a class (or group, my designation added) were:
Numerical Growth: “A teacher is succeeding if the members become concerned enough to join…in visiting (others).”

Attendance: “Normally, when a person is regular in attendance, (they) are interested in what (their class) is doing.”

Now, you may be thinking numbers don’t show us anything really. Although I would disagree with that assessment (we can get into that later), let’s look at other factors, non-numerical measurable, that were listed among the evidences of success for the teacher (leader, me again):

Biblical Knowledge
Attention, interest, and participation in the class (or group)
Evangelism (both with the lost and with believers)
Church membership/ affiliation with the body
Personal Spiritual Growth
The Growth of Religious Ideals/ Desire for Christian Living
The Development of Right Attitudes
The Achievement of Christian Character
The Expression of Right Conduct

Wow! This is great stuff! And it is a great reminder of how we might evaluate our effectiveness as we lead. It runs the gamut in covering the importance in connecting people with the community ad involvement in the church, the Truth of God’s word, in taking the Gospel to those in need, and seeing them come to faith in Christ and grow in Him. That is what we are to be about as we lead students in Bible study weekly.

So, next time you see an old book, I mean a really old book, don’t necessarily write it off as not relevant or outdated. It may still have something to say to you. Sometimes we think we were the first ones to think of these things, and that, somehow, we are God’s gift to teaching/ preaching and become reluctant to learn. It might just surprise you at how unchanging and constant the work we do with people is and challenge you to do the work you do well the more things change.

Connect To Jesus

If we are about anything as believers, we should be about Jesus. It is the love of God through Christ that gives us the opportunity for forgiveness, victory, and life. It is the lead of Christ that provides the example by which we are to model our lives. It is the launch of Christ that sends us into the world to carry out the commission God has given us. The boiled down essence of our lives is and should be Jesus.

Jesus. Seems way too simple, right?

I have been challenged by a few things in recent days that relate to the idea of ‘being about Jesus’ in our in our everyday living and in our helping others know Him as well.

1) The more I walk in Christ, the deeper my discipleship becomes.
2) “Walking in” means “staying in.”
3) My faith in Christ must not end within me.
4) Disciples share the good news of Jesus.
5) “In the end, it’s about connecting people to Jesus… That’s it. That’s our job.” –Dr. Anthony Jordan on impacting ‘lostness,’ or bringing others to Christ.
Now, I understand that these ideas are elementary. Some will roll their eyes at this point and think, “Really? That’s the giant revelation? Sanders must be a spiritual pygmy,” and that’s okay. However, I am struck by the periodic–maybe even persistent–difficulty I face in following through on these most elementary things.

Here are some things that I am considering. You may want to think about them, too.

1) Are you a disciple whose life gives evidence of the Spirit’s presence in you?
2) Are you praying for the salvation of someone specific? Who?
3) Have you told anyone about the change Christ is making in your life lately? Whom?
4) Have you stated plainly the good news of Jesus Christ lately? To whom?
5) Have you introduced, or connected, anyone to Jesus lately? Whom?

2 Corinthians 5:21 reads, “I urge you, be reconciled to God.”

Listen, that urging is not just for you and me; that urging is for the sum of humanity. If it is urgent and meaningful for us, how much so for those who still need to know Jesus?

The time for advancing the Gospel is now! Our simple message should echo that of Andrew in John 1:41 when he says, “We have found the Messiah,” and our actions mirror his when “he brought him to Jesus” (vs. 42).

Connecting others to Jesus is the result God expects from our life in Christ. Are you doing it?