The Basics That Build Leaders
(Part One)

by Dr. Waylon B. Moore

“Give Them Some Handles”

Have you ever tried to open a drawer that had its handle broken off? Ever tried to drink coffee from a mug without a handle?

A mission executive spoke to me with great passion. In his staggering job he leads hundreds of missionaries in a dozen nations. He confessed in a whisper, “Waylon, we have some missionaries who don't have the foggiest idea how to penetrate a culture with the Gospel! They don't know how to win converts, disciple them, and plant a growing church.”

This missionary leader went on, “We need simple, reproducible tools from God that will equip our missionaries. Waylon, give them some ‘handles’ they can use for a lifetime!”

The word “basic” is often a turn-off; that is, when you feel you've advanced beyond the first stages. But, I can't get away from that word! What does it take to grow spiritually? The basics! What will it take to reproduce the life of Christ in one person, or a nation? “You just need a few, simple basics!”

Although Christian maturity has few shortcuts, some spiritual habits and disciplines “pack a bigger wallop” than they would seem. Time faithfully invested in them gives unexpected growth dividends.

As I have traveled from Europe to Latin America, and in North American churches, I continue to see the desperate need that Christians have for simple, reproducible “handles.” Here are six transforming “handles” that God uses, the “basics” which I seek to inculcate into the life of each person I mentor.
  1. Being Filled With The Spirit
  2. The Living Word of God
  3. Believing Prayer
  4. Daily Obedience
  5. Witnessing
  6. Attitude: Seeing with His Eyes

For a deeper look into each “handle,” let's take each one in turn.

1. Being Filled With The Spirit

Years ago in California, I was in the home of a young, excited Bill Bright. Those days are treasured in my memory. Student evangelism was going strong on the UCLA and USC campuses. After a few weeks of training, these young men and women would later form the team of what became a worldwide movement — Campus Crusade for Christ. Soon the Spirit would scatter us across the U.S., pioneering a new kind of university evangelism. As a single adult, I would begin the Crusade work in my home state at the University of Texas in Austin.

That day Bill explained the absolute need for us to walk and minister by the Holy Spirit. “Otherwise,” he said with deep conviction, “nothing we do will last.” He quoted Christ: “For without Me, ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Bill was looking for a simple way to explain the Spirit-filled life. When he visited Texas, I introduced him to a pastor who had given me the clearest explanation I'd heard. Bill talked with him and developed, over time, what became a revolutionary booklet on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

We are commanded to be continuously “filled with,” i.e., to be controlled by the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 5:18 ). The Holy Spirit is not a liquid to fill a vessel. He is a Person to control a person, as one consciously yields to Him.

Sin insolates us from God's best and His control. We must specifically confess each sin by name, and turn from it. Then, by faith we claim His control, surrendering all that we know of ourselves to all that we know of Him.

In my devotions I apply Romans 13:14: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” I yield to the Lord, to identify with Him. Then, by faith I put on, in my mind, the “armor” of Ephesians 6, piece by piece. I pray something like this: “Lord, I take the belt of truth and buckle it around my waist. You are the truth. Guard my tongue and my thoughts to say only the truth. I take your breastplate of righteousness. Let me focus on what is ‘true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy’ ” (Philippians 4:8). And when I sin again, I name the sin, repent, and surrender afresh to the Lord. I then move on by faith in His wonderful forgiveness. I claim the promise of His living water flowing through me ( John 7:38, 39 ).

There is no more convicting question for a Christian to answer than, “Are you filled right now with the Holy Spirit?” Each of the next five areas hinge on the Lordship of Christ, maintained by the control of the Spirit on our lives.

2. The Living Word of God

Few persons know their indebtedness to Dawson Trotman. He was a master soulwinner, with vision and innovation. He was a supreme disciple of Jesus, who founded the Navigators ministry and pioneered mass counseling and follow-up techniques with the Billy Graham Crusades in the 1950's.

His memorable illustrations called “The Hand,” “The Wheel,” “The Big Dipper” and other innovations have deeply marked Masterlife discipleship materials, as well as materials of more than a dozen Christian organizations and their spiritual leaders.

Trotman's “Hand Illustration” divides one's intake of Scripture into five channels:
  1. hearing
  2. reading
  3. studying
  4. memorizing
  5. meditation
The thumb and forefinger stand for meditating on and memorizing Scripture. If you can use only two fingers, these two are most essential. Try zipping and buttoning with the other three fingers. In the process of mentoring someone you must meet him where he is. Then, you seek to get him as far “up” the hand as possible and eventually to the thumb.

The mentor, naturally, must model what he teaches. As quickly as I can, I suggest memorizing key verses, (click here to see “How to Memorize Scripture — So You'll Never Forget ”) and then thinking on their application through the five steps of meditation. Memory has such powerful fruit. It has protective potential to meet Satan's attacks (see Matthew 4:1-10 ). With just a single verse in your mind, you can chew on it (a step of meditating on Scripture) at any time, any place. God brings grace for life-change with our obedience to His Words.

Dr. Howard Hendricks, teacher and author, once explained to me how he helps new converts. “First thing I do, crack out of the box, is get the new believer into Bible study.” Amen! We can begin with a simple question-answer study, then lead the mentoree into inductive studies with portions of chapters and then books. I also sprinkle in Bible studies on a single word, and biographical studies. The mentoree's excitement of discovery, the wonder of knowing Christ in a new way, brings amazing growth.

3. Believing Prayer

“Our Lord did not rebuke His disciples for making mistakes, but for not having faith. Two things that astonished Him were ‘little faith’ and ‘great faith.’” 1 The most bonding thing, the most intimate experience between two people, is prayer. Believing prayer stretches and impacts mentoring as nothing else. I like to share “The Hand of Prayer,” a visual tool. Moving from the little finger up are:

I teach each of these over time, using a prayer list that corresponds to these categories. Help your protégé to get answers to specific prayer, and you will see him grow.

At the airport in Guyana, Central America, we encountered a customs nightmare. I was with a team of men from our church in Tampa. We had brought tools to do construction for the mission, and chocolates for the kids. We took a definite risk! Posted signs warned of taxes that awaited us. People ahead of us in line were griping at the fines. And we had a “hardware store” of electric tools!

Quickly I asked the group to stand aside from the customs line. As we stood in a circle, the Lord led me to pray that He would blind the eyes of the officials, so that we would not have to pay any tax. Jim Hartley was the first of our group in line. As the customs officer looked in Jim's briefcase, his hand passed over the chocolates and lawnmower blade, sliding them aside. “Are you all together? You may go through.” Not one other bag was checked! Years later Jim shared in church that the thing that impacted him most in Guyana was not building chapels, but was that answered prayer.

Make a prayer list of the specific needs of the person you're mentoring, and find out how God is answering your requests. Prayer will build a friendship for eternity.

1 Oswald Chambers, Love of God, (Grand Rapids: Chosen Press, 1988), p. 150.

See the remaining three handles: in Part 2 of “Basics That Build Leaders”

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