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  •  Yawberg

Sunday, April 02, 2017 1:00 am

Longtime pastor's journal a 'treasure'

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Bob Yawberg turned 84 last week, but he's still sharing life's lessons.

A former longtime pastor of Broadway Christian Church in Fort Wayne, Yawberg spent most of his life journaling. That's different from keeping a diary, Yawberg said during a phone inter­view on his birthday Wednesday.

A diary is simply a record of what you've done, where you've been. A journal requires transparency.

“Your thinking, your challenges, your high times, your low times,” Yawberg said. “It's a real treasure of the past.”

My first connection with Yawberg was in late February. He emailed me after I wrote about what a couple of speakers shared at Habitat for Humanity's local “Build on Faith” leadership conference.

One of the speaker's comments stirred some memories about a decision Yawberg made 20 years ago.

Yawberg, who grew up in Ohio, was Broadway Christian's pastor 23 years before beginning a ministry to help encourage other pastors in leadership. He kept a journal most of his life. Retired and living in the Bradenton-Sarasota, Florida, area, he emails about 1,000 people weekly – some outside the U.S. – one of his journal entries from years ago and contrasts it with a more current reflection.

His wife, Marilyn, is his editor. She's tough, he said. She tells him to keep his emails to about 300 words – roughly a page.

“You're not preaching, anymore,” she reminds him.

He's gotten some positive feedback from readers.

“They tell me it's like a spiritual speed bump in the middle of the week,” Yawberg said. “It makes them stop and think.”

Facebook and some other popular online sites didn't exist when Yawberg, who still has family in Fort Wayne, was first getting into leadership and ministry. But he has learned to use social media – along with weekly emails – to keep passing along wisdom in retirement.

New local GLS site

Memorial Coliseum will be the host this year for the Fort Wayne satellite viewing of the Global Leadership Summit, Kelly Byrd announced recently. Byrd, a Sweetwater Sound executive, helps coordinate and oversee the event with a board of directors.

Fort Wayne last year was the largest-attended satellite site of 300 locations for the Global Leadership Summit. More than 3,300 registered for last year's summit at Grand Wayne Center.

For years, Blackhawk Church on East State Boulevard was the local satellite, until growth prompted organizers to move the broadcast site downtown, where it has also been held at Embassy Theatre.

Summit speakers represent diverse areas.

This year's lineup includes Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, Facebook; Laszlo Bock, author and senior adviser, Google; Juliet Funt, CEO, Whitespace at Work; Andy Stanley, North Point Ministries; and Bill Hybels, founder/pastor, Willow Creek Community Church, where the summit is broadcast from.

Pirate skills for schools

In case there's a chance principals or other educators want to brush up on leadership strategies during spring break, a book released last month might provide interesting reading. “Lead Like a PIRATE: Make School Amazing for Your Students and Staff” was written by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf.

A book synopsis says readers will learn to “find the treasure” already in their classrooms and school and how to bring out the best in staff.

Characteristics needed to be a pirate leader include personal and professional passion; a willingness to immerse yourself in your work; good rapport with staff, students and community; and the courage to ask questions and analyze what is and isn't working.

Other traits include a determination to seek positive transformation and “the kind of enthusiasm that gets others excited about education.”

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/