Summary: A send off message detailing ten steps of leadership lesssons with evangelism explosion by Tom Stebbins
Passing the Baton
by Tom Stebbins
I am now 70. My eight and a half years at the helm of EE have been both challenging and exciting. Now it is time for me to "pass the baton" to a younger, capable leader. As I do, I want to share with you ten principles of leadership that have guided me.
1. Lead by Faith. On my first week in the EE office, Dr. D. James Kennedy, my boss, walked into my office, sat down across from me, looked me in the eyes, and said, "Tom, remember this. You have all the authority and all the responsibility to lead this ministry." I confess that I trembled a bit at his words. But then I stepped forward in faith, trusting God for wisdom, direction, courage, love and all the resources necessary for such a challenge. And as I trusted Him, God supplied what I needed.
2. Inspire a shared vision. My first month in office, I gathered our team of vice presidents and trained them in Masterplanning, a planning process taught to me by my personal mentor, Bobb Biehl. Together we crafted a purpose statement, objectives, goals, and a vision. We began developing ministry descriptions for each position, refined our budget and agreed on how we would report. We evaluated what we were doing. We defined steps that would enhance EE. Over the years this Master Plan has been tweaked, but it has given our leadership team a sense of direction.
3. Get the right people doing the right things. When I arrived at my new post, I discovered some "square pegs in round holes." As we prayed, God, the Lord of the harvest, sent us gifted, committed, creative staff to lead and to serve. With such a team, how could we help but do "the right things"? Many new ministries have been launched and EE has multiplied around the world.
4. Foster a spiritual climate. It may necessitate a lot of peace-making, biblical exhortation, fasting and prayer, but it is well worth the effort! I gladly testify that throughout the ranks of EE, there is a pervasive love, cooperation, mutual respect and passion for the lost. Three times a week different staff meet for prayer. Four times a year we have a day of fasting and prayer. The climate may not be perfect, but it is close! To God be the praise.
5. Model the way. Paul said, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" (I Cor. 11:1). Dr. D. James Kennedy, our President, is the quintessential model. Every Thursday evening he participates in EE. He teaches in every Coral Ridge EE clinic. His walk with God is truly exemplary. I have sought to follow him as he follows our Lord Jesus.
6. Walk around, observe, listen, ask questions, communicate. I do that at our headquarters. And I regularly visit the world’s continents, meeting people at the grass roots, ministering in local churches, often teaching clinics. This activity has enlightened and inspired me to lead EE with greater clarity of vision and understanding.
7. Cultivate international collaboration. With the cooperation of our vice presidents and our international board, we have developed a signed covenant that builds a trust relationship with each national ministry. It spells out our mutual understanding of the essential values. It defines the principles and processes that bind us together to fulfill our common purpose. It helps us build strong indigenous ministries in each nation.
8. Seek a friend or consultant to provide objective advice. I praise God for providing Bobb Biehl as such a resource. Bobb has worked with every major Christian ministry, many leading churches, and most of our nation’s top Christian leaders. He sits down with us four times a year. His counsel has been timely, biblical, extremely helpful - and much appreciated.
9. Be the team’s cheerleader. One of the most helpful pieces of advice Bobb offered me was that my chief role as leader was to be a "cheerleader" for the team. Each day I sought opportunities to commend staff members, to encourage them, to notice the valuable contributions they were making. Invariably, my encouragement motivated them to increase their energy and effort.
10. Beginning at day one, look for your successor. Early in my ministry as EE Executive Vice President, God brought to me a young man whom I had led to Christ 14 years ago. I had discipled him and trained him in EE. When he moved to Ft. Lauderdale to serve on our staff, I further mentored him. His name is Rev. John Sorensen. On January 1, 2004, John Sorensen will succeed me!
God has prepared John Sorensen for this leadership of EE. Support him with your prayers, your encouragement and your all-out cooperation. As I implied, John and I have worked together for a number of years. We have discussed our hopes for the future of EE. Our goal and vision for the years ahead is to see every nation and every territory equipping every people group and every age group to witness to every person.