Learning to Live and Lead Differently


Dave Kraft

TimeLine Books, 2004, 123 pp.

ISBN 0-9715339-1-1


Kraft is a leader in the Navigators’ Church Discipleship Ministries.  See www.navigators.org/cdm  This book applies particularly to Navigator-style one-to-one discipleship.  Dave adapts the “discipleship wheel” diagram illustration to leadership.  The hub represents the power of Christ and the spokes represent purpose, priorities, passion, and pacing.  The book outline is logical and crisp. 


The leadership race is a marathon, not a hundred-meter dash.  You want to finish well and influence others.  Too many are dropping out.  (13-14) 


Etathesiophobia – fear of change. (16) [Who knows when you might be able to use this word!]


Definition.  “A Christian leader is a humble, God-dependent, team-playing servant of God who is called by God to shepherd, develop, equip, and empower some people of God to accomplish an agreed-upon vision from God.” (17)


Key ingredients of leadership:

  • Is a servant of the Lord and of those being led
  • Is a humble team player
  • Is called to leadership
  • Has four major responsibilities: shepherds, develops, equips, empowers
  • Moves toward a specific destination
  • Sustains the vision  (18)


Part I.  Foundations

The leader leads from the inside out and lives in five areas:

  • With Jesus Christ in the center as your power
  • With Jesus you develop a purpose and passion
  • With Jesus you set priorities
  • With Jesus you develop pacing (19)


Many leaders have never established habits of personal intake of God’s Word.  This is vital.  Each one must discover his own pathway to deep intimacy with Christ.  (21-3)


Four “R’s” of Bible Reading:  Read.  Reflect.  Respond.  Record.  These practices allow God to whisper to you.  (24)


“Great men and women of God are great because they enjoy exceptional intimacy with the Lord.”  (25)


“Some people come into our lives and quietly go.  Others stay awhile, and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same.” (31)


Kraft’s purpose statement:  “To leave footprints in the hearts of God-hungry leaders who reproduce.” “I mentor, coach, and invest in the next generation of leaders.”  My purpose focuses me like a laser beam. (31-2)


Many leaders are self-satisfied.  They think they know enough.  Don’t invest time in them.  (31)


What business are you in?  What is your purpose? (33)


“Jesus had two purposes: to die for the sins of the world, and to train twelve disciples to carry on the ministry of evangelism and discipleship.” (34)


“A purpose statement is, in essence, a written-down reason for being.”  “Clarity is power: Once you are clear about what you were put here to do then ‘jobs’ become only a means toward accomplishing your mission, not an end in themselves.” (34)


Identifying your purpose.  Note:

  1. Bible passages God has applied to your life.
  2. how God has used you in the past.
  3. what you are passionate about.
  4. your gifts and strengths.
  5. what you excel at
  6. action words that describe what you like to do
  7. what you enjoy in your free time

Read the list.  Note common themes and key ideas.  Summarize in a statement. (35)

[I suggest beginning with what God wants done in the world and then use some of the above tools to find where you fit into it.  dlm]


“It is very important that what I do is a reflection of my life purpose—that this purpose sings inside me today.”  “Passion is contagious.” (38)


“Two pastors were discussing their theological positions when one said to the other, ‘Well, it appears to me that we basically believe the same things.’  To which the other responded, ‘Yes, but the difference is that you have it on ice and we have it on fire.’” (39)


“The Lord wants all His leaders to be so in love with Him, so excited about His purpose for their being here, that a deep heartfelt passion results.” (40)


Steps to passion:

  1. Pray for God to set you on fire.
  2. Read books by passionate people.
  3. Spend time around passionate people.
  4. Attend seminars or conferences for solid teaching…. (41)


“Decide what is truly important in life and what isn’t.  Then discipline yourself to focus on what is important.”  Give time and energy to God, people, and spiritual growth.  (46)


Priorities protect your passion and purpose and keep them focused so that your energies are not scattered all over the landscape.  Say yes to less! (48)


Those who are goal-oriented, fast-paced, type A’s must be careful not to overstep God-given capacity limits.  There is a speed limit for life and ministry.  The Sabbath is a revolutionary challenge to the violence of overwork.  (54-5)


The author’s plan:

  1. Take a full day off each week and limit work hours.
  2. Take a full day spiritual retreat each month.
  3. Have some fun each week.
  4. Limit the number of evenings away from home.  (57)


Part II.  Formation - Calling, Character, Gifts, Growth

Calling:  A clear, deep, intuitive sense that God has His hand on you for a specific task, an overwhelming conviction that you can do no other.  Others may spot it before you do. (62-67)


Four calls:  to salvation, to discipleship, to service, to leadership  (64)


Leaders carry out four functions: shepherd, develop, equip, and empower.  Leaders must be gifted and skilled with words.  They must have word gifts.  Discover your gifts through gift inventories, your experience and passions, and feedback from others. (70, 73)


“The greatest crisis in the world today is a crisis of leadership, and the greatest crisis in leadership is a crisis of character.” (quoting Howard Hendricks, 75)


“Most leaders focus too much on competence and too little on character.” (76)

Your character is what you really are.  Your reputation is what people think you are.  (77)  Character development is a lifelong pursuit.  (80)


Some essential character traits: gentle, thankful, humble, patient, compassionate, forgiving, honest, self-controlled, tactful, trusting, transparent, vulnerable, affirming, dependable, encouraging. (81)


Never lose the spirit of a learner.  Ask questions.  Read all the time.  Write what you are learning.  Check out opposing ideas.  Develop the skill of being highly receptive to new ideas.  Dip your bucket deeply and regularly in the well of new and fresh thinking.  (85-89)


Part III Fruitfulness - Vision, Influence, Legacy

“Not much happens without a dream.  And for something great to happen, there must be a great dream.  Behind every great achievement is a dreamer of great dreams.  Much more than a dreamer is required to bring it to reality; but the dream must be there first.” (quoting Servant Leadership, Robert K. Greenleaf, 95)


Leaders travel in a specific direction and recruit others to join them. (95)


Beware of no vision, unclear vision, and ineffective communication of the vision. (100)


“Creative and continual communication from the leader first, and then from others, is the key to keeping the fire burning.” (101)


Planning is best done in a team context. (101)


“The key is a leadership team that lives the vision, breathes it, models it, tells its story every chance it gets, sleeps it, eats it, and otherwise calls people together around it.” (101)  “Often a visionary leader with a burden and dream is the spark that starts the fire.” (102)


“Be careful with whom you spend the bulk of your time.  A leader needs to influence the many by investing in a few and letting those few influence the rest.”  “Followers don’t do what leaders say as much as they do what leaders do – how they live their lives.  Modeling has much to do with authenticity, genuineness, fruit of the spirit—Christ-likeness.” (104-5)


“You can impress from a distance, but you impact up close.” (quoting Howard Hendricks, 105)


“A leader is a person who is on a journey and has the ability to attract others to join him on that journey.” (105)


“A leader’s greatest assets are the people he influences.” (105)


“Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Leaders:

  1. They spend too much time managing and not enough time leading.
  2. They spend too much time counseling the hurting people and not enough time developing the potential people.
  3. They spend too much time putting out fires and not enough time lighting fires.
  4. They spend too much time doing and not enough time planning.
  5. They spend too much time teaching the crowd and not enough time training the core.
  6. They spend too much time doing it themselves and not enough time doing it through others.
  7. They make too many decisions based on organizational politics and too few decisions based on principles.” (107)


“If you need people, you can’t lead people.  There is an inability or lack of desire to make the tough calls, speak the truth, or do the hard things.  Motivated by a fear of disappointing people, this inability will seriously hamper and work against your ability to lead.” (108)


Invest time in resourceful people and trainable people.  (109)


Every leader needs someone to hold them accountable.  (109)


Be intentional, prayerful, careful, and strategic with whom you spend time, and how much time.”  “Future leaders should get your prime time.” (111-12) 


“To grow by addition you recruit more followers.  To grow by multiplication you add more leaders.”  “Invest in future leaders.”  “Leaders make leaders.” (113)


Pray for God-hungry potential leaders.  Select a few.  Look for teachable, available, and growing disciples who might be already leading.  Assemble subject material in the categories of character (being), caring (relating), and competence (doing).   (115)


Direct the beginner.  Coach the struggling learner.  Encourage the cautious contributor, and entrust the independent learner.


To obtain copies of the book contact the author at davekraft@comcast.net