Chapter OneDevelop Your Potential:
Nobody Starts at the Finish
Line, Part 1
"That person is a born leader"
We hear this statement often.
Are leaders born or are they made?
It is true that some people do seem to be born with an abundance of
leadership gifts and qualities. But it is also true that some of the
best leaders in the kingdom of Cod are those whom the world would
probably disregard as even qualifying for leadership. All that these
type of people need is someone to recognize their potential and help
them develop it. Often they turn out to be some of the most precious
and effective people in leadership.
Whether you are a born leader or you have to work at becoming one,
my purpose in writing this book is to help you recognize your
potential as a leader and show you how to develop it.
Some people who work for my husband and me in our ministry come
under the category of born leaders. They just have that innate
ability to get things done. They have the strong, aggressive type of
personality that seems to instinctively know how to motivate others
to work together.
But we also have people on our management team I personally would
never have thought could ever become managers. Yet when we were in
need in a certain area, they seemed to be the ones God was pointing
to for that position, so we gave them that chance. We continued to
work with them until some of them have become the best managers we
One of these people is a woman named Charlotte. When she first came
to work for us, she was so fearful that she could not even talk to
me without breaking down and crying. Anytime we tried to get her to
do anything other than what she was used to doing, she would become
frightened and say, "I don't know if I can do that. I'm afraid I'll
make a mistake."
Finally, one day I felt that the Lord was telling me to call her
into my office and say to her, "Charlotte, God wants me to tell you
that it's time to grow up. You've got to stop crying and being
afraid of everything."
She later told me that she went home in tears because I had hurt her
feelings. But when she prayed about it, God told her, "Joyce is
right. It is time for you to grow up and start accepting more
She said yes to the Lord and to us, and now she has developed into
one of our finest leaders. She has learned to accept more and more
responsibility-all because she quit being afraid and started
developing her potential.
That happened because we were determined not to give up on her. Like
Charlotte, there are many people who have tremendous potential? but
need someone who will work with them and not give up on them.
Aren't you glad that God did not give up on you? Well, guess what?
He may put someone else in your life He does not want you to give up
Sometimes the people who are the biggest thorns in our side are the
very ones Cod wants us to be patient with and help develop just as
He was patient with us and is helping us develop into all that we
OUR NUMBER ONE JOB
The development of personal potential is each person's number one
We all have undeveloped potential, but we will never see it
manifested until we believe God and believe that we can do whatever
He says we can do in His Word. Unless we take a chance and step out
in faith believing that with God nothing is impossible, He cannot do
the work in us that He wants to do to develop our potential.
I believe you are reading this book by divine appointment. Even if
nobody else in the world believes in you, God does. With that
confidence, you can do whatever He wants you to do. Without it, no
matter what He wants you to do, you will be unable to do it because
you are not in agreement with Him.
When we don't agree with Cod, we are, in essence, agreeing with the
devil. We are saying the devil is right when he tells us through
negative thoughts or someone else's comments that we are worthless
and can do nothing.
It is very important with whom we agree. Jesus said that if any two
agree on earth about anything, it will be done for them by His
Father in heaven.
When I was going through a difficult period in my life, the Lord
reminded me of this verse and told me that if I could not find
anyone else to agree with me, I could always agree with the Holy
Spirit. He is on the earth too if He lives inside of us. We agree
with Him by agreeing with what we know the Word says is true in a
GIVE SHAPE TO YOUR POTENTIAL
Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
defines potential as "existing in possibility, not in act."
Potential cannot manifest without form. Like concrete, it must have
something to be poured into, something to give it shape and make it
useful. What is the form into which potential is poured? Decisions.
To develop potential properly we must have a plan and pray over that
plan, we must have a purpose and we must be doing something.
I believe that many people are unhappy because they aren't doing
anything to develop their potential. In fact, many of them never
develop their potential because they don't do anything except
complain that they're not doing anything!
If you want to see your potential developed to its fullness, don't
wait until everything is perfect. Do something now. Start laying
your hand to whatever is in front of you. You cannot start at the
finish line. You must start at the starting block like everybody
Many people want to start at A, blink their eyes twice and be at Z.
It doesn't work that way.
Give your potential some form. Do something with it. You will never
find what you are capable of doing if you never try anything. Don't
be so afraid of failing that you never take a chance. Don't stay in
the safety zone doing nothing, thinking that as long as you do
nothing you are safe. You may be safe, but you will never succeed at
developing your full potential or feeling fulfilled in what you are
doing. Step out into what you feel God is leading you to do, and you
will soon discover what you can and cannot do.
So many people are frustrated about not knowing what their gifts are
or what God has called them to do with their life. All you have to
do to find out what your call is, is to start doing a few things
related to an area in which you are interested. God is not going to
make you spend your whole life doing something you hate. Although I
have children and grandchildren whom I love and enjoy very much, I
have also-discovered that my gift and calling is not working with
small children. But there are people who love to do that. My
daughter Sandra is one of them.
There is someone who is anointed for everything that needs to be
done. The smart leader knows what he can do and what he cannot do
and surrounds himself with people who do well what he cannot do at
DEVELOP YOUR SEED
I believe God puts seeds in us. Even Jesus is referred to in the
Bible as a Seed. We often talk about all the rights, privileges and
victories that are ours in Christ, along with all the other
blessings like peace, righteousness and joy. I believe all of those
things come into our spirit as a seed when we receive Jesus as our
Savior. (If you have never done that, and you would like to, there
is a prayer you can pray at the end of this book.)
One reason some people never have manifested in their lives what the
Bible tells us we can have is that they never develop their seed. It
never gets out of the seed stage because it just sits in them; they
don't do anything with it.
I have experienced a lot of victory in my life. I come from an
abusive background where I endured many years of sexual, verbal and
mental abuse, failed relationships, hurts and emotional pain before
I married my husband, Dave. I was quite a mess when I got into a
serious relationship with the Lord. I can say that what I read in
the Bible has worked in my life. But I can also say that it had to
be developed. None of it fell on me like ripe fruit from a tree. I
had to take potential and turn it into reality - by developing it.
THE NECESSITY OF DEVELOPMENT
As defined in Webster's 1828 dictionary, development is "an
unfolding; the discovering of something secret or withheld from the
knowledge of others; disclosure; full exhibition."
What you and I have in us is great, but it is not going to do any
good if we do not take it and give it some form and shape that is
going to help us and everybody else.
In 1 Peter 4:10 TEV we are told that we are to develop and use our
gifts as a blessing to one another. That is why God gives us gifts,
so we can be a blessing to others.
There is no excuse for any of us ever being bored or lonely because
there is always someone out there who needs what we have. All we
have to do is find them and start releasing our gifts for their
A real estate developer may have plans in his office for a new
subdivision, but no one will ever see those plans become reality
unless the developer takes them and does something with them. The
same is true for us in the church. How many of us have good ideas
and great plans but never do anything with them? Many of us are good
at dreaming but are no good at all at making a practical, dedicated
effort to develop our potential and manifest our dreams in our
What lies between potential development and manifestation? Nothing
so spiritual that nobody can figure it out, but just simple,
everyday things like time, determination and hard work.
Nobody can be determined for us. We must be determined. If we are
not determined, the devil will steal from us everything we have. But
although we must be determined, we must not go to the extreme and
become workaholics. We need balance in this area just as in every
other area of our lives.
Later on in this book I will describe the time when the Lord spoke
to my husband, Dave, and told him it was time for us to go into
television ministry when we were just getting comfortable with being
on the radio. Obviously, we had the potential to do that, but it had
to be developed, and that kind of development does not come by
sitting in a rocking chair taking it easy!
I have a saying, "If you're going to hang out with God, there ain't
no retirement!" Whatever our age or situation, taking potential and
transforming it into reality requires an investment of time,
determination and a willingness to work hard.
NO RETURN WITHOUT INVESTMENT
Many people are not willing to invest anything with the hope of
reaping a return from that investment somewhere down the road. Their
philosophy is, "If I'm going to do anything right now, I want some
pay right now. I want something back right now."
In my own life, I started out in the ministry teaching twenty-five
people who sat around together on my living room floor. I invested
five years of my life into teaching those people with little or no
financial return at all and often not much appreciation, just a lot
of hard work. But those five years were developmental years for my
teaching ministry today.
Not long ago my older son, David, who has started to teach and
preach some, asked me if I had any notes on a certain subject. I
have three file cabinets with three long drawers each that are full
of message after message on a variety of subjects. Those files
represent twenty-two years of hard work. So often people look at
something like my ministry and they wish they had it. But they
wouldn't want to invest the time and hard work it took to build it.
Most of us have no problem with wishbone; it's backbone that we are
YOU ARE FULL OF POTENTIAL
The undeveloped, wasted potential in this world is pathetic.
Everyone was created to do something great-great in its own realm.
Each of us has the potential to become great at something-a great
wife, a great mom, a great seamstress, a great husband, a great
father, a great businessman. But whatever we do, we should not have
little ideas, dreams or visions.
Little things are important, and we should never despise the day of
small things. But we ought to have big ideas, dreams and visions
because we serve a big God. I would rather have a big dream and see
half of it come to pass than to have a little dream and see all of
it come to pass.
I believe that when God created all of us, He formed and fashioned
each person, breathed the breath of life into us and then took a
little part of Himself and placed it within each of us. One of us
may have a musical gift, another may have a speaking gift, another a
writing gift. The problem comes when we try to take the gift God has
given us and use it to do what someone else is doing instead of
developing our own potential.
Each one of us is full of potential. We have a part of God in us. We
are not a mistake. We don't have to spend our lives on the back
burner. We are not too old or too young. We have God-given dreams
and visions. But the dreams and visions Cod gives us for the future
are possibilities not "positivelys." (That's the way God spoke it to
me a long time ago.) With Him, nothing is impossible, but it also
takes our cooperation and willingness through determination,
obedience and hard work to develop what He has put in us.
IT ALL STARTS WITH A SEED
The manifestation of our God-given dreams and visions does not
appear overnight. It grows from a seed planted in our heart by God
and nourished and nurtured by us day after day until it gradually
springs forth as fruit in our lives.
It is similar to a seed that is planted in a woman's womb at the
time of conception. The baby doesn't appear immediately. There is a
nine-month development period.
We often see patterns in the way God does things, and Cod uses the
pattern of birthing in many areas of our lives. He starts with a
seed, which He plants in us in the form of a thought, a dream, a
desire. In order for that seed to grow and develop, we must nourish
and nurture it, being careful to watch over it and protect it
because the devil is a master at stealing seeds. Then one day that
seed springs forth as the manifestation we desired.
That is what Jesus meant when He said that the devil comes only tosteal, and to kill, and to destroy Jesus also said that Satan is
a liar and the father of lies Between stealing and lying, he
keeps the majority of the human race from ever doing much of
I am living proof that anybody can fulfill the call of Cod on their
life if they want to. In the natural I don't have a lot of gifts and
talents. But I have a mouth, and I am using it for the glory of God.