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Hendricks tells seminarians: ‘As long as you live, learn’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Howard Hendricks spoke at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary March 16, challenging his listeners to be transformative leaders by following the example of God-called men and women whose lives were influenced by an eternal perspective.

A distinguished professor and chairman of the Center for Christian Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary, Hendricks outlined seven marks of transformative leaders.

“Each believer must have a strong sense of purpose,” Hendricks said. “Our objectives will determine the outcome.”

He added that each Christian must have a mission statement, a brief, definitive testimonial of his or her purpose. Referring to Philippians 3:13-14, Hendricks asked, “What is the one thing that drives you?”

Influential leaders also have persistence, Hendricks said, as outlined in Hebrews 12:1-3. “We need to hold up courageously under fire,” he said, “being committed even to death.”

In order to be effective leaders, he said, Christians must make an accurate appraisal of their strengths and weaknesses. A successful team, Hendricks said, is made up of individuals with different strengths and weaknesses. Likewise, wise leaders will surround themselves with talented people, those who will make them look good.

Leaders must also be perpetual learners, he added. “As long as you live, learn,” he said.

Simply put, leaders have followers, Hendricks said. As long-time chaplain for the Dallas Cowboys, he related a story of quarterback Roger Staubach, who still holds the record for the most wins in the last two minutes of regulation play. Hendricks said he asked one of Staubach’s fellow team members what happened in the huddle during such a comeback. The player looked a bit glazed, claiming he wasn’t quite sure why, but said under Staubach’s leadership they were convinced they would win.

The next mark of an effectual leader is risk-taking, Hendricks said. He referred to the parable of the pounds, in which the only failure was the one who did not take a risk. “These are among the strongest words of rebuke Jesus spoke,” he said, describing the servant as wicked and lazy.

“There is no such thing as faith without risk,” Hendricks added. “As humans we prefer to be safe, but if you always play it safe, you will never inspire those around you.”

Finally, Hendricks said that effective leaders are also excellent followers.

“Jesus told His disciples to ‘follow me and I will make you fishers of men,’” he said.

Hendricks said that Jesus was speaking to seasoned fishermen, yet twice in Scripture “we see Jesus take a failed fishing expedition and turn it into a net-breaking catch.”

“If you fail to trust and follow, you are a failure,” Hendricks said. “You cannot impart what you don’t possess.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: LEADING BY EXAMPLE.

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  • Susan Reed