Embarking on a Journey with Presence-Based Leadership

New Direction for Keith Yoder

Wild roses and Irises, La Farge

Wild roses and Irises, La Farge

“It’s like a painting,” I said, trying to describe the intrinsic nature of Presence-Based Leadership. “The core value of an excellent painting isn’t the technical aspects of line, space, balance, etc., though those things are important. It’s what the picture does to our soul. It’s the inner sense, the truth it conveys–the memories, the emotion, the connection with God and each other…”

“It’s an art,” Keith answered.

“Yes!” The word “art” struck the target. Presence-Based Leadership is an art.

Keith Yoder has served as a leader in the body of Christ for most of his life, helping many, many other leaders experience the Lord’s transforming power in their lives and work. God now calls him to focus on imparting to others the wealth of truth that Christ had formed in him.

His plan includes writing a book that integrates many strains of leadership into a model called “Presence-Based Leadership” (PBL). I’ve been working with Keith to write this book, and plan to begin a 3-month “writing focus” (Nov, Dec, Jan) to complete the rough draft.

In the past year we’ve already written two other partial drafts. While both of them helped us to dig deeper into the essence of PBL, they still missed the mark. Parts of the text flowed, but other parts felt arbitrarily pieced together.

That’s when the Lord helped us understand the two threads woven through the PBL model:

The first concerns  the “art” of Presence-Based Leadership, which is sensing God’s wisdom–the thing that integrates many points of knowledge and technique into effective leadership. We master this spiritual art “by reason of use,” having our “senses exercised to discern both good and evil,” or God’s wisdom opposed to human wisdom (Hebrews 5:14).

The second thread concerns “discernment.” The practical act of leadership is simply making decisions, literally hundreds of decisions, large and small, every day. The culmination of these determines the success of a leader. In simple terms, those who learn to make decisions by discerning God’s direction will find eternal success. Those who follow human or demonic strategy will find only “wood, hay and stubble” (I Corinthians 3:11-13).

Draft number three on the way! I’m excited for the opportunity to spend so many hours a day researching and writing. We appreciate your prayers, as the Lord may lead for this project.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress. Keith deeply appreciates all of you who have partnered with TTWM over the years in the cause of Christ-Centered leadership. We value your comments, questions or concerns. Please contact us or write them below. Blessings!

Proverbs chapters 1-3; Matthew 7:21-23; 20:25-28; John 10; 15; 16; 17

- Patricia Tillman


Does Skype Count as Face-to-Face?

Bar StoolsKeith already has a very good relationship with his wife, but he tells a story about an unexpected change that brought his marriage into even greater intimacy. When they moved into their home, their kitchen had a built-in high counter with swivel bar stools. So for evening meals when they reviewed their day with each other, they each sat on a stool facing the center of the table. But in time, they replaced the counter with a small round table and chairs. They began to eat their meals sitting face-to-face.

Without even realizing that the change would enhance their marriage, they noticed their meal-time conversation grew more intimate. They talked more, with deeper communication. They laughed more, and lingered together for a longer time. They contribute this gift of increased connection simply to the act of changing their physical position to see each other face-to-face while they ate. (For this and more meaningful insight on marriage communication, get Kieth’s audio: Foundations for a Flourishing Marriage, CD or MP3.)

This story specifically relates to a marriage relationship, but I imagine the same increased connection would result with more intentional eye contact in different kinds of relationships: leader to team members; coworkers, parents to children, friend to friend, pastor to congregation…

The question is, can we get this kind of communication connection with Skype or other kinds of electronic communication? Or does it only occur when parties are physically present with each other?

I realize that we need to maintain balance in our lives–too much of a good thing (such as social media) can be bad–but I enjoy the fact that I can talk with people long-distance using Skype, whereas before Skype-type media, conversations would be few if ever. I love keeping up with people on FaceBook when I would rarely have time to meet with them in person. I feel like I’m connected to their lives in a way that was impossible before electronics. And from a business or ministry standpoint, email and cell phones have increased and improved communication and efficiency many times over. Some personal ministry relationships would not exist here at TTWM if not for electronic means. Praise God for His plan to increase connections throughout the earth, facilitating the meaningful growth of Christ-Centered networks of relationships.

Face-to-faceBut it’s still not face-to-face. It’s still more like sitting on the bar stools next to each other than conversing eye-to-eye, fully present with each other. There’s something of the soul that communicates, rather than only words or gestures. I can’t pinpoint it, and I don’t understand it, but I know it exists, at least in my experience.

At TTWM we teach “Presence-Based Leadership” in the sense of abiding in the presence of God. But there’s also the aspect of our “presence” with each other–being fully present and engaged, listening and responding to not just words, but with a connection that only happens when physically present–especially if the other parties are also abiding in Christ.

In all the benefit of electronic communication and social media, I pray we don’t allow that to usurp the time we have face-to-face with others. Not only with our spouses and loved ones, but with those we lead. It adds an un-named but powerful dimension to leadership that nothing else can replace.

What do you think about social media and what is does to our communication? Feel free to comment below.

Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:8; Deuteronomy 5:4; I Corinthians 13:12; 2 John 1:12

What Makes Leadership Bud and Flourish?… Scrip Pic

The Word of God according to Isaiah 55:11…

Rain soaks in quickly; snow soaks in slowly.
God’s Word for you may immediately soak in and quickly convert you,
or it may soak in slowly to transform you little-by-little.
Either way, trust the Lord that His powerful Word will not return without fulfilling its purpose…


Scrip Pic and Photo copyright Teaching the Word Ministries, 2014. You may copy freely for personal, non-commercial use. (West Virginia Pipestem State Park, Bluestone River)

Word not voidClick here to copy the free bookmark version of Isaiah 55:11. Use the bookmark as a reminder of God’s powerful Word at work in your life. Also convenient to give as a small gift of encouragement or thanks.

Let’s Create a Culture of Blessing in our Spheres of Influence

Culture Creator PaintingIn our cultures we often hear negative words spoken: complaining, condemning, demeaning, mocking, accusing, skeptical, cynical, cursing, anon and anon, painting a sad, depressed, dark picture.

Thank God for His scripture, which records more than twice as many blessings as cursings. Not only blessings from the mouth of God, but the Lord’s blessings spoken through the mouths of His people! That means usHe desires us, especially if we’re leaders, to be spokespersons for His word of blessing to others. We can establish His kingdom in our situation and relationships, diffusing any words of darkness by painting His powerful words of light!

We’ve all been on the receiving side of both blessing and cursing, so we know how deeply words penetrate us. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21).

So let’s create cultures of LIFE in our spheres of influence. Let’s intentionally speak words of blessing over others–in their hearing, if possible, or if not, then in prayer for them. For a time, my son didn’t want me praying over him. So I spoke “camouflage” blessings. I’d say things like, “Have a day full of joy!” or “Think wise thoughts today”… whatever he needed for the situations he encountered. He didn’t know that under my breath I was invoking the name of Jesus in prayer (or maybe he did!), and sometimes he complained (“Oh, mom!). But I spoke the will of the Lord over His life, and I know those words went deep into his soul and continue to work until this day.

How do we speak blessings?

  1. Prayerfully consider: what does the person need to flourish in their situation? Health? Wisdom? Deeper awareness of God’s love? Favor? Freedom in the Lord? Creative flow? Inner strength? You might ask them what they need, if appropriate, but always be sensitive to the Lord’s leading. He knows them better than they know themselves!
  2. Speak what they need over them. “God bless you with increased creativity and favor!” 
  3. If possible and appropriate, place your hand on their head or shoulder, or hug them.
  4. Believe that the word of the Lord will not return void, but will accomplish His purpose (Isaiah 55:11*).

Instead of criticizing or mocking the government, speak blessings of godly counsel and wisdom over our leaders.

Instead of grumbling about the person who treats you unfairly, speak blessings of the Lord’s understanding and joy over them.

Instead of complaining about the weather, speak a blessing of spiritual prosperity and health over your own day.

Bless unbelievers with salvation; bless the person who cut you off in traffic with peace and safety; bless unbelievers with the fruit of salvation …bless and do not curse (Romans 12:14).

By Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name! (Hebrews 13:15)

If we follow the Lord in His attitude of blessing, we might be surprised how much we can influence the culture of our daily lives.

Love Your enemies, 
Bless those who curse you;
Do good to those who hate you,
And pray for those who spitefully use you;
That you may be sons of your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:44-45

.Genesis 12:2; Deuteronomy 7:23-26; Numbers 6:24-26; Psalm 64:2-3; 140:2-3; Ecclesiastes 10:20; Matthew 5:44-48; Colossians 3:2; Philippians 4:6-9; James 3:10-12

Word not void*Click Here to download and copy your free bookmark of Isaiah 55:11. Use to remind yourself of God’s powerful Word at work in your life, or give as a gift of encouragement or thanks.

- Patricia Tillman

Six Elements of Prophetic Intercession for Leaders

Man Praying“Prophetic Intercession” simply means:

To discern God’s will for a situation according to His word, and proclaim that word in prayer.

The Lord has given His disciples a powerful authority as we submit to His authority. We partner with the Creator to hear His word and activate that word by speaking it out loud. As leaders, it’s vital that we accept this responsibility to discern His will in heaven and declare that will on earth (Matthew 16:17-29; 18:18-20).

*Important point: It has to be God’s word and will, not our own purpose, especially if we’re praying for others. Be careful that our motive is not to control others according to our desire, but instead support them in God’s purpose.

God’s word and power go together, for example:

People said of Jesus: “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” – Luke 4:36

Jesus said to the Sadducees:”Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?”  – Mark 12:24

The psalmist sang: … “He commanded and they were created” – Psalm 148:5

The author of Hebrews said of Christ and creation: “…upholding all things by the word of His power” – Hebrews 1:3

His word… power to command spirits, confront lies with truth, create, sustain life… In the beginning God spoke His plan into existence. He continues to speak now, and He said, “My word goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:11

The astonishing reality of God’s powerful word is His plan to partner with us, in speaking His word through us, that we may proclaim it to accomplish His will on earth. We may do so through prophetic intercession.

Indian WomanReviewing the prophetic intercessory prayers recorded in scripture from Nehemiah, Daniel, Solomon and Simeon (see references below), we find the following elements that we can apply to our own intercession:

  1. They worship and acknowledge the greatness and faithfulness of God.
  2. They approach the Lord from the framework of what He has already said in His word.
  3. They pray into the future in light of God’s promises, and in recognition of the condition (or waywardness) of His people.
  4. They seek God’s mercy and favor; appeal on the basis of His glory and reputation.
  5. They call forth God’s will.
  6. They call the people back to the terms of His covenant with them.

In order to partner with God, however, we have to take time in listening prayer, seeking Him in His word, and walking in obedience in what He speaks.

For more detailed and in-depth understanding of prophetic prayer, get Keith Yoder’s audio teaching: Prophetic Prayer, in CD or MP3 format (includes detailed outline).

Nehemiah 1:2-5; Daniel 9; I Kings 8:22-60; Luke 2:25-35

- Patricia Tillman (taken from Keith Yoder’s teaching)