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Looking Back at the Queen City Leader Summit

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When I was 14, a businessman named Evan Hedley took a chance on me as Director of Youth for Christ in my hometown. He mentored me, prayed for me, encouraged me, and corrected me.

Last month, I was invited to address the Queen City Leader Summit hosted by CBMC – Charlotte. I asked those Christian business leaders . . . and I’m asking you today . . . is there someone 10 years younger than you that you’re mentoring? Encouraging them? Listening to them? Learning about them? Letting them know that you care? I would encourage you to do that!

The Leadership Triangle

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Most leaders have only one tool in their toolbox. If it’s a hammer, everything looks like a nail. They pound and pound, but nothing changes. In the end, their solution becomes the problem.

This week, I’m introducing The Leadership Triangle to a group of senior pastors, executive pastors, non-profit leaders, and academic leaders at the PLI Senior Leaders Forum (formerly, Pastor Leadership Institute).

In The Leadership Triangle, I introduce the idea that there are three different types of challenges – tactical, strategic, and transformational. Before deciding what tool to use, we first have to know what kind of challenge we are facing.

If you’d like me to discuss The Leadership Triangle with your organization, please send us an e-mail. You can also find my book, “The Leadership Triangle,” on Amazon.

-Kevin Graham Ford, Chief Catalyst, Leighton Ford Ministries

Christian Men at Work

By | Leadership, Mentoring | No Comments

My daughter has said, “Dad’s not a workaholic. He’s a thinkaholic.” And it’s true! In addition to the busyness in the world around us, there’s also the busyness inside our heads. When do we ever have time to just stop, lean back, listen carefully, and be quiet in God’s presence? It doesn’t have to be weeks and weeks. It can be just a few moments when we stop in the middle of busyness and ask, “what is the Lord saying?”

Recently I was invited to join Dave Hilgendorf on the “Christian Men at Work” podcast. If you have a few moments, join us as we discuss listening, discernment, Sabbath pauses, and Jesus as an Artist.


Listen Here

Join Our Launch Team!

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The Christian life is a life of listening. In his new memoir A Life of Listening, lifelong minister of the gospel Leighton Ford tells his story as a personal history of listening for God’s voice. Would you consider joining the launch team? Members receive a free digital advanced copy of A Life of Listening, a free ebook of Ford’s Bible study Meeting Jesus, and the chance to win a free IVP title of your choice. 

A Life of Listening is not just an account of a long and faithful life of Christian service, but a picture of the Christian life―the life of listening. What will it sound like when God speaks to you?

Pre-order A Life of Listening and apply to join at: bit.ly/alifeoflisteninglaunch

Mentoring Leaders of the Rising Generation

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I recently sit down with the Best Christian Workplaces Institute’s Flourishing Culture Podcast. I was interviewed about Mentoring Leaders of the Rising Generation.

Identifying, networking and developing new leaders is an integral part of what we do at Leighton Ford Ministries. I hope that you take the time to listen to this podcast.


The podcast can be found at http://blog.bcwinstitute.org/s3e52-leighton-ford/

You can also find it on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/flourishing-culture-podcast/id1060724960?mt=2

Peter on a ‘Different Way’ of Leadership (Leighton Ford)

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What follows is (part of) an imagined interview with Peter which seeks to bring out the key elements in Jesus’ style of transforming leadership development.

Interviewer: Thanks very much for agreeing to take the time to talk with me. I know you are a busy man and I will try not to take too much of your time.

Peter: You are welcome, and not to worry – I’ve got all the time there is. I really don’t think of myself as busy anymore.

I: Right. Now, Peter…on earth we are going through a transition right now. Many of our older leaders are getting ready to come and join you, and we have quite a crop of young ones coming along. We know the Lord left behind a first generation of leadership that has never been equaled. We want to find out how he did it…

P: Of course. But I have to make two things clear at the outset. First, he never called us leaders. He never used that word. “Disciples,” yes. “Apostles,” yes. Most often “servants”. Never leaders. Second, I am not so sure I would go along with you in thinking we were such a great crop. The raw material Jesus chose wasn’t that promising to start with. We missed the mark a lot. I know I made more than. My share of mistakes. I’ll let the others speak for themselves, but you know we didn’t always get along that well…

I: Peter, your words in 1 Peter 5:1-6

have been quoted again and again as a classic statement of the values of leadership. Give me a bit of background as to what was in your mind when you wrote that.

P: …I guess we were in a situation like yours. Many of us older ones had been around a long time, and we knew we weren’t going to be there forever. Our senior leaders, our elders, had been working a long time. Some of them were just plain tired and ground down and had lost their motivation. A few, I felt,  had lost the heart of their work and were just doing it because they were paid to do it. Some who had been in office a long time really were lording it over others.  They wanted everyone to bow to them and serve them and do what they said, and jump at their every order. At the same time, we had a crop of young turks coming along who felt that the older leaders had lost their vision and served their time and ought to step aside and let them take over. They had some great new ideas, but they were impatient, aggressive even, and if they could they would have pushed the older men into retirement.

Now, that’s not the kind of leadership I saw in Jesus…not what he taught us to be. We all had the same tendencies, but he taught us to think a different way.


Next week: Peter speaks of what it means to be a called leader.

Leighton Ford



Taken from Transforming Leadership by Leighton Ford. ©1991 by Leighton Ford. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove IL 60515-1426. www.ivpress.com





What Makes A Good Leader? (Leighton Ford)

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What makes a good leader, especially a transforming and empowering leader? The study of this issue has become complex, sometimes even confusing. As noted in chapter one, some students of leadership have focused on the traits of outstanding leaders, some on the situations which produce leadership, and others on the process by which leaders go about their task.

In my reading, I have been helped most by those who have talked with leaders, or those who follow them, to seek out the reasons for their effectiveness. So it occurred to me that it would be valuable if at this point we could include a case study of a leader developed by Jesus. The man whom I most wanted to consider was Simon Peter. Several reasons make him the prime candidate. Most obviously, he was Jesus’ own number one choice for a disciple. Also, he is mentioned and quoted by name far more than any of the other disciples – more times, in fact, than all the rest put together. Also, my primary reference…has been Mark’s account of Jesus, and we know that Mark was very close to Peter and used Peter’s preaching and recounting of Jesus’ story as the primary source for his Gospel.

Even more important, Peter was clearly Jesus’ own test case for his leadership development. After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, Peter emerged as one of the three most prominent leaders of the early church. Further, in his own writings Peter showed that he had absorbed and was passing on certain keys to leadership that he had learned from Jesus.

What follows is an imagined interview with Peter which seeks to bring out the key elements in Jesus’ style of transforming leadership development.

Later this week: Peter ‘speaks’!

Leighton Ford


Taken from Transforming Leadership by Leighton Ford. ©1991 by Leighton Ford. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove IL 60515-1426. www.ivpress.com


Solitude and Leadership (Leighton Ford)

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“If you want others to follow, be alone with your own thoughts.”

This is from a talk given at the US Military Academy at West Point by William Deresiewicz of Yale. As I read I was struck that this is something church leaders – caught up often in “frenzied busyness” – need to heed.

Here are some of his provocative statements – unusual for future military leaders to hear:

• “Leadership is what you are here to leave …”
• “Solitude is what you have the least of here …”
• “And yet I submit to you that solitude is one of the most important necessities of true leadership”
• “Multi-tasking … is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think.”
• “Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it.”

His whole speech is worth absorbing. Click here for a link to read in full.

Then get alone and think about it!

Leighton Ford

A Special Learning Opportunity for Pastors (Leighton Ford)

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I wanted to let you all know about this unusual and creative link between an outstanding seminary and equally outstanding consulting group. It is a highly recommended learning experience for pastors focused on helping them to lead change within their congregations…and within themselves!

If you are a pastor I think you will be interested, and if you have a pastor you might want to consider forwarding it to them. Please see the link below to access an attractive PDF.

(Full disclosure – I have been on the board of GCTS and my son Kevin is one of the principals at TAG Consulting).

Re3vitalize Brochure

Leighton Ford

The Seduction of Crowds (Eugene Peterson)

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“Classically, there are three ways in which humans try to find transcendence–religious meaning…: through the ecstasy of alcohol and drugs, chemically induced transcendence and recreational sex, and through the ecstasy of crowds. Church leaders frequently warn against the drugs and the sex, but at least, in America, almost never against the crowds. And there’s something about the moment we inhabit, I think even globally, that that feels very resonant and psychologically astute”.

-Eugene Peterson, from an interview on NPR’s On Being.