Driving Rebekah to Philly in the rain… to teach effective leadership

– elders, deacons, and trustees at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Devon PA

 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

Matthew 14:15-16

Friday morning Rebekah and I got up early then drove up to Philadelphia, where she has been invited to speak over the weekend. I95 traffic; navigating DC; heavy rains much of the day; driving doesn’t get any more fun than this!

But we made it in eight hours, and we had some great conversation along the way. I always enjoy traveling with Rebekah. She used the opportunity to rework her presentation for Friday evening, and so we talked a lot about what makes a church work well, and more specifically what the Bible teaches about leadership.

St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Devon:

Rebekah with Patrick and associate pastor Ridgley

The invitation – and this is really cool – came from the pastor here, Patrick Marshall, a young man who grew up in Pensacola when Rebekah served at Trinity Presbyterian. His family attended the church and he credits Rebekah with his subsequent call into ministry.

We spent Friday evening with a select group of church leaders, representing the elders, the deacons, and the trustees. They served an amazing meal, followed by an hour of Rebekah’s signature teaching style!

She covered a lot of ground, but I believe what she said about Jesus multiplying the loaves and fish sums up the content as well as anything. When the disciples first approached Jesus about the “problem” of so many hungry people, the Master’s response was exactly on point: “You feed them!” he said.

I grabbed a thirty second video from this part of her presentation that is quintessential Rebekah. Take a look, I believe it will make you smile:

– Rebekah teaching Friday evening at SJPC in Devon

I can see a healthy, positive, “this is all about following Jesus” spirit at St. John’s Presbyterian Church. If the leaders we met Friday evening are a good representation of the congregation as a whole, then I believe the Post-Covid reinvention that is taking place here (as in all churches) is going to be all about advancing the Kingdom of God.

Ultimately, Rebekah said, real leadership finds its heart and its effectiveness in loving the people. Loving the people, and listening for God’s voice, and then responding with action.

– writer Derek Maul

As Jesus said to his followers that busy, overwhelming, dusty, hungry afternoon on the hillside in Galilee: “You feed them!” I can imagine the Master looking at his disciples and shaking his head affectionately, saying half under his breath but not loud enough for anyone to have remembered, “Now that’d be some kind of a miracle….”

In love, and because of love – DEREK


  1. Derek, I love the enthusiasm in this post. I did not realize Rebekah was a reverend. Very cool. Is it possible to hear her entire talk? I also am inspired by your interesting comment: “I believe the Post-Covid reinvention that is taking place here (as in all churches) is going to be all about advancing the Kingdom of God.” I copied the sentence into Word and I am going to do some research and probably write a blog post on the subject. Church has been changing for generations. Some of it is misguided and not doctrinal. A lot of it fails to address the elephant in the room: sin! But Covid-19 opened up the opportunity for positive changes. For growth. For “invention.” The online ministry (even at my home church) exploded. Indeed, it is advancing the Kingdom! Shabbat Shalom my friend. Say hello to Rebekah for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Steven. You packed a lot into that comment! I wi;; check with the church to see if anyone recorded the entire leadership talk. She will be preaching this morning at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Devon PA – I’ll make that link available when I can. Meanwhile, continue your creative and important thinking about The Kingdom. Blessings to you and yours – Derek


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