The Making of a Leader

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

Whether you are a pastor, chaplain, youth leader, business manager, or a believer wanting to maximize your time, energy, and effectiveness for the Lord, the following article will prove insightful.

It is a revised version of a paper BJ wrote for a college class, and will give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the founder of this ministry and also some of the principles by which this ministry operates.

Bill Rudge is founder and president of a multifaceted nonprofit, non-denominational organization established in August, 1977. He quickly realized that by training others, ministry efforts could be multiplied and maximized.

Bill has over thirty years experience directing a successful and growing international ministry using the following principles:

Establish a Clear Vision

The first step of a good leader is to have clear goals and vision –– with strategies to fulfill them. The main goals for Bill Rudge Ministries are to share the Gospel with a searching world and challenge believers to reach their maximum potential in Christ –– physically, mentally, and spiritually. Turning the hearts of the people back to the Lord and motivating them to walk in faithfulness is the heartbeat of this ministry.

These goals are being accomplished through speaking engagements, missionary outreaches, radio broadcasts, newsletters, web site, podcasts, books, CDs, and in many other ways.

Communicate to Avoid Conflict

Another aspect of leadership is being able to deal with conflicts. Not everything is going to go according to plan, and when difficulties arise, the director has to resolve them. Most problems occur because of misunderstanding due to lack of communication. One of the best ways to deal with conflict is through communication with those involved before it gets out of control.

Manage Stress Effectively

Stressful circumstances are frequent in Bill's life and ministry, but he has effective ways of dealing with them. Foremost is his deep trust in the Lord and his refreshing times of prayer and Scripture study. Exercising, eating nutritiously, and having a good attitude are also crucial in conquering stress.

Another key factor Bill utilizes to reduce stress is keeping himself and the ministry organized. He has a lot going on –– often simultaneously –– but everything is usually well organized. In all he does he strives for excellence because he believes that quality is more important than quantity.

Develop a Great Team

Another major part of leadership is the hiring and development of staff. Bill Rudge Ministries has over 30 full-time, part-time, volunteer, and freelance staff –– many of whom have been with him more than twenty-five years. Throughout the years he has trained hundreds of people –– many of whom serve in leadership positions in various churches, ministries, and organizations.

Potential staff members are informed of the standards and guidelines of the ministry, what would be expected of them, and given a list of possible job descriptions they can select.

During the initial interview process we look for certain characteristics. First and foremost is their commitment to Christ. Being organized, confidential, friendly, motivated, dedicated, determined, diligent, disciplined, trustworthy, and having a teachable spirit are also essential qualities.

Once someone joins the ministry team, the developing process begins by training them to use their gifts and talents to fulfill the goals and vision the Lord has given Bill and Karen.

Be a Servant-Leader

Anyone in a managerial position must learn to be a good leader. After four years of coaching youth soccer and winning four championships, the players and parents gave Bill a cup with the inscription: "That man is a success who brings out the best in others and gives the best of himself." This saying accurately describes qualities of a good leader.

Leaders must lead not only by instruction, but also by example. Bill never asks his staff to do anything he would not do himself. He is a servantleader in that he serves others while leading them. He tells new staff that before they can become a true leader, they must first learn to be a servant.

All those he supervises understand that they are not working for him, but with him, as together they serve the Lord.

Manage Time Wisely

Managing time wisely is another crucial element for leaders. Bill has numerous responsibilities and deadlines such as preparing messages and radio broadcasts, writing articles, books, and newsletters, producing CDs, podcasts, and videos, web site development, correspondence, counseling, overseeing staff, administrative duties, legal and financial accountability, board meetings, advanced training courses, and many other commitments to fulfill.

As well as working many early mornings, nights, and weekends, Bill must schedule blocks of days –– sometimes weeks –– for speaking engagements, mission trips, finishing the writing of a book,or other special projects.

Bill has a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly planner for scheduling his essentials and priorities. He also has several checklists to keep him on track concerning current and longterm plans and projects.

A disciplined and organized lifestyle has enabled Bill to maximize his time and efforts. While he is not one to waste time in frivolous pursuits and conversations, he always takes time for someone in need and who really wants to change.

His day begins and ends with a time of prayer and Bible study, as well as at mid-day, to help him start, maintain, and finish with a proper perspective.

Delegation

For Bill to accomplish all that needs to be done he must maximize his time. This is done by delegating as much as possible to other staff. Their specialized talents –– and often behind-the-scenes work –– is a tremendous part of the success of this ministry.

The development of a referral list for people needing longterm or specialized assistance has enabled this ministry to help countless people find churches, ministries, or organizations to meet their special needs and interests.

Appreciate People

Being a leader not only requires making decisions and overseeing staff, but also the ability to interact with, relate to, and appreciate them.

Bill's advice to pastors and Christian leaders is simple: "Appreciate your staff and volunteers." He rarely lets anyone leave the ministry center without thanking them for their service that day. Those who work for the ministry at other locations throughout the country are frequently thanked during a phone call, e-mail, or special card or letter.

Do not take for granted what the Lord has entrusted into your care. Always appreciate the Lord for the resources, facilities, and staff He has provided.

Live a Life of Integrity

Apparent in every aspect of Bill's life and ministry is a desire to live a life of integrity. He operates his nonprofit organization accordingly and seeks to maintain high personal and financial accountability. Respecting the integrity and vision of Bill and the ministry, his staff and supporters faithfully serve and give.

Knowing he will one day give an account to his Lord, being a wise and faithful steward is of utmost importance.

There are several other qualities Bill believes leaders need such as courage, compassion, determination, and self-control, but most important are integrity and faithfulness to the Lord.

"...If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer [elder, pastor], he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect." 1 Timothy 3: 1 - 4