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Sermon Illustrations: Leadership



A father had applied to enrol his son at a private school and as a result was sent a questionnaire. One of the questions was: "Is your son a leader or a follower?" He thought about it and said he was a follower. Shortly afterwards he received a notice saying that his son was one of 200 students accepted that year. It also said, "You may be interested to know that enrolled this year were 199 leaders and 1 follower."

Five cannibals were employed by a pastor. Four weeks later the pastor says he is happy with their work, but the cleaner is missing. The cannibals deny all knowledge of the disappearance. After he leaves, one cannibal admits that he has eaten the cleaner. "Idiot!" says one of the others. "For four weeks we have been eating elders, deacons, pastors, and home group leaders so no one would notice, and you have to go and eat the cleaner." How effective are you? Would you be missed?

Over a period of sixty years, evangelist William Booth travelled five million miles, preached almost 60,000 sermons and inspired 16,000 officers to follow his leadership, preaching the Gospel in thirty-four languages in fifty-eight countries.

Lord Montgomery defined leadership as “the capacity to rally men and women to a common purpose, and the character which inspires confidence.”

A man who became disillusioned with the Apostolic Church backslid and then came back to the Lord said, "Apostles are not people at the top holding you down; they are people at the bottom holding you up" Derek Prince.

General Eisenhower used to use a simple piece of string to demonstrate the art of leadership. He'd place the string on a table and say, "Pull it and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it and it will go nowhere at all."

Discernment of leaders: Every time a particular general was saluted, he saluted them in return, and said, "And the same to you too." After a while, one of the privates asked why he kept saying that. "I was a private once, and I know what you're thinking."

The only reason they put leaders up front, is so they can see clearly enough to shoot at you.

Definition of a camel: A horse designed by a committee.

A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a man below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago but I don't know where I am." The man below replied, "You are in a hot air balloon, hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You are between 40 and 41 degrees north and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude." "You are obviously a technical person," said the balloonist. "I am," replied the man, "but how did you know?" "Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me at all." The man below responded, "You must be in management." "I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?" "Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault."

My Collection of Jokes, Quotes & Anecdotes

When one of the presidents of the US stated publicly that he didn't like broccoli, there was a big blockade of broccoli growers outside the Whitehouse. Reason? Because they knew that when the President said he didn't like broccoli, sales would fall all over the country.

A professor stood before his philosophy class with a very large empty jar and began to fill it with golf balls. "Is the jar full?" he asked. "Yes," replied the students. He poured a box of small pebbles into the jar, and they rolled into the cracks. "Is the jar full?" "Yes." He poured a box of sand into the jar. "Is the jar full?" "Yes." He then poured two cans of ginger beer into the jar. "The jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - God, family, children, friends, health - things that if all else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, car. The sand is everything else - the small stuff. If you put the sand in first, there's no room for the pebbles or golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you'll never have room for the important things. Pay attention to the important things - there will always be time to clean the house, and do the yard. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand." A student raised his hand: "What does the ginger beer represent?" "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of ginger beers." As a leader, is the church one of the big things in your life?

A good coach knows how to move his players to win the game. A good player knows how to listen to his coach. The pastor is the coach surrounded by all his star players.

At the Stockwell Orphanage the usual rule of walking is - little boys first. In this way the younger children cannot be overdriven or left behind, and moreover all the boys can see before them, whereas by the usual practice of putting the tall fellows first the view in front is shut out from all but the few who lead the way.1

80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.2

1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form.3

Studies have shown that leaders fail because of poor delegation more than from any other cause.4


A great deal more failure is the result of an excess of caution than of bold experimentation with new ideas. The frontiers of the Kingdom of God were never advanced by men and women of caution. J. Oswald Sanders

There are five levels of strength: (a) our spiritual ceiling; (b) our emotional ceiling; (c) our mental ceiling; (d) our social ceiling; (e) our physical ceiling. You will rise to the level of your lowest ceiling. Kong Hee

A good shepherd doesn't shoot the sheep. Frank Eames

When your car's in neutral, anybody can push it around. Wayne Cordeiro

You can measure the size of a ship by the size of the wake that it leaves behind.

1 Spurgeon, Charles H. My Sermon Notes p 23
2 Cox, Rodney Leading from Your Strengths
3 Cox, Rodney Leading from Your Strengths
4 Ministry Advantage, Organising and Delegating p 45

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Please note that all Scripture quotations, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the New King James Version ®.
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