April 1, 2020 • Life for Leaders
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, asking that by God’s will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
Romans 1:8-11 (NRSV)
As you probably know, for the last two and a half weeks my Life for Leaders devotions have been focused on leadership in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Leading in Crisis: The Difference God Makes is a 12-part series that seeks to help you in the leadership challenges you face at work and at home, in your church and your city. Beginning tomorrow, I’ll do a series of devotions that will help us go deeper in our experience of Holy Week (next week!) and Easter. After Easter, I plan to do a devotional series on how the resurrection of Jesus matters in the midst of a world-changing, life-overturning pandemic.
Today, I’d like to go in a different direction. Today, April 1, 2020, is the fifth anniversary of the first edition of Life for Leaders, the daily digital devotional produced by Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership. On April 1, 2015, we sent out a devotion entitled “Spy Wednesday and the Meaning of Our Work” to a few dozen people. Since then, we have produced 1,826 devotions that have been read in total around 3,000,000 times by more than 7,000 subscribers and multiple thousands of website visitors. (Note: 3,000,000 is a conservative estimate based on the number of email opens plus forwards to friends plus website page views.) As you know, I’ve done a good bit of the writing in the past five years, but have been assisted by a top-notch team of regular devotion writers as well as many guest writers. With our writers, editors, tech experts, and financial supporters, Life for Leaders is, indeed, a team effort.
Writing Life for Leaders has been an amazing blessing to me. I love being able to study Scripture, to share with you what I have learned, and to help you discover connections between God, work, faith, prayer, and leadership. In the past couple of weeks, I have felt a heavy responsibility and a joyful opportunity as we wrestle with the implications of the coronavirus for our leadership in a variety of contexts. I thank God for the gift of being able to write Life for Leaders.
As I prepared to write today’s Life for Leaders devotion, I found myself in a position a little like that of the Apostle Paul as he wrote to the Christians in Rome. No, I do not think I’m writing one of the most significant theological treatises in human history. But, like Paul, I am writing mainly to people I do not know personally. And, like Paul, I am hoping that I might “share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you” (Romans 1:11). That’s always my hope and prayer as I write each Life for Leaders devotion.
Also, like Paul, I think of Life for Leaders as more than just a one-way stream of communication. Yes, my fellow writers and I do create content for you. But we often hear back from you. In a very real sense, we have been “mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine” (Romans 1:11). I estimate that, over the past five years, our writing team has received well over 1,500 emails and website comments from our readers. These have helped us to know you better and they have regularly inspired us. It means so much to know that our efforts have made a difference in your life, work, faith, and leadership.
Thus, I’m also like Paul today in that I want to say to you: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you” (Romans 1:8). I’m thankful for your being subscribers, for your faithful use of Life for Leaders, and for the many ways you have supported us.
I’d like to share a few ways you can support us in the future. First, you can continue to use Life for Leaders in your personal devotions. We want to keep on helping you discover the difference God makes in your life, including your leadership and your work. We can only do this if readers like you actually use Life for Leaders.
Second, you can let others know about Life for Leaders. The main way we grow the number of subscribers for this devotional is by personal recommendation. As you share a daily email with a friend, or with your colleagues at work, or with the church you lead, many choose to become subscribers. So if as you read a devotion something strikes you, think about whom you might share it with and then forward that email to them. If you’re responsible for a website, you might add a recommendation and link to Life for Leaders on your site (https://depree.org/life-for-leaders/). Let me add, however, that the main reason for letting someone know about Life for Leaders isn’t so that we might have more subscribers, but rather that these subscribers might grow in their whole-life discipleship.
Third, you can communicate with us. Public comments can be shared via the “Leave a Comment” button at the bottom of each email. You can email me personally by way of the “Email Mark” button in the same place. If you simply reply to a daily email, your reply will come to Bethany in our office who will forward it to the appropriate writer. Obviously, comments are public. Emails will be held in confidence.
Fourth, you can become a financial supporter of the De Pree Center and Fuller Seminary. We are pleased to provide Life for Leaders without charge to all subscribers. We are able to do this because of the generosity of donors to our work. The De Pree Center, as a part of Fuller Seminary, is supported mainly by the gifts of those who believe in our mission, including Life for Leaders. If you would like to talk with me about your financial partnership with the De Pree Center and Fuller, please email me. If you’d like to make a contribution, you can always contribute online. No pressure here! I realize you support many worthy causes and, besides, these are challenging financial times. But if the Lord ever puts it on your heart to support our work and that of the seminary, we would be most grateful.
Fifth, you can pray for us. I know this can sound rather trite, but I really do mean it. In the past couple of weeks, as I was writing those devotions on “Leading in a Crisis,” I was consistently reminded of how much my fellow writers and I need God’s help. Plus, I was consistently encouraged by your notes that conveyed your appreciation and your prayer support.
So, I end this devotion by quoting once again from Paul’s letter to the Romans: “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you.” I do, indeed.
Tomorrow, Life for Leaders will help us get ready for Holy Week and Easter.
Something to Think About:
How is God helping you to grow in your faith and to be formed spiritually in the image of Christ?
Why are Life for Leaders and similar tools helpful to you?
How might God be leading you to grow in the next year?
Something to Do:
Think about someone in your life (or several people) who could benefit from Life for Leaders. Plan to forward tomorrow’s devotion to them with a note of encouragement. (Today’s devotion is really more a bit of in-house family business. Tomorrow I’ll begin a seven-part series in preparation for Holy Week and Easter. We’ll be examining together the “seven last words” of Christ from the cross.)
Gracious God, thank you indeed for the community of people who produce and read Life for Leaders. Thank you for the opportunity this devotional gives us to grow in our faith and especially to discover just how much you matter to every part of life, including our daily work.
Lord, today I pray for all who read Life for Leaders, that we would indeed be formed by your Word and Spirit to be more like Jesus. May we live as his disciples in every part of life, including our daily work. May our leadership be shaped by your truth as revealed in Scripture. And may our prayers be enriched as we meditate daily upon your Word.
To you be all the glory! Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online
The Gospel of Salvation—Paul’s Vocation (Romans 1:1–17)
If you would like to receive a Life for Leaders devotional like this one, each day, in your inbox, without cost, please subscribe to Life for Leaders. You can unsubscribe at any time. You can access all of our Life for Leaders devotions HERE. You can also learn more about the De Pree Center and its resources HERE.
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Learn More About Life for Leaders
If you would like to receive a Life for Leaders devotional like this one, each day, in your inbox, without cost, please subscribe to Life for Leaders. You can unsubscribe at any time.
You can access all of our Life for Leaders devotions HERE. You can also learn more about the De Pree Center and its resources HERE.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.
I thank you and I thank the Lord for you. I read your message every morning before the paper or other stuff has a chance to jump into my mind. You have guided me from your first messages and I treasure the reassurance and faith you have offered. You are a window to Jesus for me. Thank you. Rick Porter
Hello, Rick. Thanks for your comment. I’m grateful that we can serve you in this way. – Mark
Thank you for writing these devotionals. I really do enjoy them, and I do pray for you. Prayer is never trite; it’s the best thing you can do for a person, honestly. I look forward to continuing to read these devotionals. Thank you again!
Zandra, good to hear from you! And thanks for your kind words. – Mark
Thank you for the Daily Devotion. It’s a blessing in my life. Keep the great work in the Lord!
You are welcome. It’s a blessing to be able to write these. Thanks for your comment.
Thank you so much for your heartfelt gift of inspiration and centering all year long. In the midst of this frightening pandemic the words of faith are a special blessing of encouragement. Keep up the good fight…please. and stay healthy all who are a part of these postings.
Kathryn, thanks very much for your note. It means a lot to me and my team. Blessings to you. – Mark