Summary: This Sermon is an adaptation of John Maxwell’s Book, ‘The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. "

Initiative And Listening

2 Cor 3:12, Isa 42:9, Isa 43:19, Isa 48:6 Jer 31:31, Mat 13:52

April 28, 2003

I. I have been talking about qualities that we need to develop to be the leaders in our families, at our jobs and schools, and in our service to God. One of the things is we need to be initiators

A. Webster’s dictionary defines and initiator as someone who to causes or facilitates the beginning of something .

II. Kemmons Wilson has always been an initiator. He started working when he was seven selling magazines, news papers and popcorn.

A. In 1930 at the age of seventeen he started working for a Cotton broker in his first salaried job, for $12 a week writing figures on the price board.

B. When a bookkeeper’s job paying $35 a week came open he applied for it and got it, but when he got his first check it was still $12, and when he asked why, he was told that they weren’t going to pay a 17 year old kid that kind of money. So, he resigned, and that was the last salaried job he ever had.

C. Wilson made money at differentd jobs after that in pinball and vending machines, and saved enough money to build his mother a house.

D. That’s when he realized that there was a lot of money in building, so he started a building business, and made a fortune in the post World War II building boom.

E. Wilson’s initiative made him a lot of money, but he didn’t have much of an impact on the world, that is until 1951. Wilson took his family on a vacation to Washington D.C., and learned about the sorry state of motels that were available to traveling families.

F. Some were suitable for families, and some rented rooms by the hour, and there was no way to tell which was which.

G. Wilson said, "some places were too squalid for words. And they all charged for children." Wilson had five children and that tripled his bill. So he decided to do something about it.

H. He told his wife "Let’s go home and start a chain of family motels." His goal was to build four hundred motels, and his wife just laughed.

I. When he got back to Memphis, he hired a draftsman to help him design his first motel, and by 1959 he had 100 motels built, which didn’t meet his goal.

J. Then Wilson decided to franchise his motels and that boosted the openings, and by 1964 there were 500 Holiday Inns in America, by 1968 there were 1000, and in 1972 a Holiday in opened somewhere in the world every 72 hours, and the company was still growing in 1979 when Wilson stepped down from his position as leader after a heart attack.

K. Wilson said" I was so hungry when I was young, I just had to do something to make a living. When I retired after my heart attack, I went home to smell the roses. That lasted about a month."

L. You see it is hard for an initiator to stop making things happen.

III. In his book "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" John Maxwell points out that leaders are responsible for initiating a connection with their followers. But that is not the only place that leaders have to show initiative. Leaders always have to look for opportunities and be ready to take action to make things better.

A. We need people in this church to be initiators. People who will be devoted to what they are doing in their service for God enough to look for ways to make positive things happen.

B. One of things that we have to develop in ourselves to be initiators is WE HAVE TO KNOW WHAT WE WANT!

1. Comic and Pianist Oscar Levant once joked, "Once I wake up my mind, I’m full of indecision." And unfortunately that’s the way that most people operate.

2. No one can be indecisive and EFFECTIVE. Napoleon Hill says it well, "The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE."

3. For us to be effective leaders in our family, and vocation, and in our service to God, we have to know what we want to accomplish.

4. Knowing what we want to accomplish is the only way that we will be able to see and opportunity when it comes.

5. And as leaders in our family, and vocation, and in our service for God we have to be looking for ways to initiate things that will improve the lives of those we lead.

C. Another thing that initiators do is THEY PUSH THEMSELVES TO ACT!

1. There is an old saying " You can if you will."

2. Initiators don’t wait for other people to motivate them. They motivate themselves, and they push themselves beyond their COMFORT zones to see positive things happen in what they believe in. And, they make it a REGULAR practice.

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