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

Problem Solving

John 16:33, James 4:7, John 16:33

April 28, 2003

I. There is one thing that is certain about being leaders, and it applies to leading our family and at work and in our service for God, and that thing is that we will face problems.

A. We should not be surprised that we face problems, Jesus told us that we would, but the key is not to let our problems stifle our progress.

B. Everyone of us will face problems in our lives, and because we are all leaders in some way, we have to learn to solve problems, because the problems that we face not only effect us but they effect the people that we lead, and the people that we lead are looking to us to lead them to the solution.

C. As leaders and again, we are all leaders in some way, we have a responsibility to those we lead to find ways to solve problems.

D. When we are faced with problems we can’t lay down and hope that they will go away, because the people that we lead are depending on us.

II. Sam Walton the founder of Wal-Mart has been called a lot of things including the enemy of small town America and destroyer of Main Street Merchants, because quite a few smaller stores have gone out of business during the time of Wal-Mart’s growth.

A. The truth is that Sam Walton was the Main Street type of merchant that he is accused of replacing. The only difference is that he was a great leader who was able to solve problems rather than go out of business.

B. Sam Walton was born in Kingfisher Oklahoma and grew up in Columbia Missouri. He was a leader in Highschool and was elected President of the student body, and led his football team to a state championship as quarterback, and a basketball state championship as a five foot nine inch team leader.

C. He went to college, worked for a few years and then served in the Army during WWII. When he got out of the Army he decided to spend his life working in retail.

D. He and his wife decided to live in Bentonville Arkansas and opened Waltons’ Five and Dime Variety Store.

E. The business did well, a lot because of Walton’s hard work, and in his foresight in making the store self service, and by 1960 he had expanded to fifteen stores.

F. It was about that time that Herb Gibson brought his discount stores to South Arkansas, and they competed directly with Walton’s stores.

G. Walton said, "we only had two choices, stay in the variety store business and be hit hard by the discounting wave or open a discounting store. So I started running all over the country studying the concept. We opened Wal-Mart #1 on July 2, 1962, in Rodgers Arkansas."

H. Walton soon added additional stores. His Wal-Mart chain was small compared to others started around the same time, like K-Mart, Woolco, and Target, but it was going strong.

I. Walton realized that he had a problem with planning and distribution, so he and his leaders solved it by creating distribution centers that along with computerization allowed them to order in bulk, and keep track of each stores needs, and allow them to be stocked quickly and efficiently.

J. When doing this created a problem in cash flow it was just another problem to be solved and Walton did this by putting His company on the stock Market in 1970.

K. When Sam Walton died in 1992, His company operated more than 1700 stores in forty-two states and Mexico.

L. Sam Walton became America’s number one retailer, because he solved problems.

M. While other retailers were complaining about the competition Sam Walton rose above it by solving problems and moving forward.

N. Every leader will face problems. They are inevitable because we live in a world of growing complexity and diversity. We interact with people. And, we can’t control all the situations that we face.

III. As leaders at any level we have to learn to solve problems and good leaders do that when:


1. Problems are going to come, and anyone who expects the road to be smooth and easy will continually find themselves in TROUBLE.

2. Many people have heard of David Livingstone the Missionary in Africa. A missionary organization wanted to send helpers to Dr. Livingstone, and the leader wrote him a letter saying, have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to send other men to join you."

3. Livingstone wrote back, " If you have men who will only come if there is a good road , I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all."

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