Do you Believe Leaders are Made or Born?

Nov 18 2012, by Adeline Lum CM-


On November 17, I attended the first of the leadership-making series, entitled “Joshua-Leader in the Making (Exodus 17:8-14; Numbers 14:1-9), by Senior Pastor Daniel Ho at DUMC (Damansara Utama Methodist Church).

“Do you believe leaders are made or born?” asked Daniel. “I believe that everyone of us have leadership in us.”



This sermon is about how ordinary people grow into becoming leaders of people.


Be a good follower before becoming a good leader

At first, before Joshua led the people of God, he acted as an assistant for Moses (Ex 24:13).

“We cannot become a phenomenal leader without becoming a follower. The better the servant hood, the more God would promote us into leadership (Mark 10:42-44),” said Daniel.

He gave an example of a chronic latecomer in a missionary team. As a leader, would you recommend this person to be a leader? How about someone who is supportive, punctual and helpful?

A good follower would most likely become a good leader. Remember that God do not short-circuit this process.


Early training in warfare (Ex 17:8-14)

Joshua has to lead and fight after Moses. As long as Moses held his hands up, Joshua was winning against the Amalekites. In other words, the winning and losing of Joshua only depended on Moses’s prayerful hands.



What is God trying to teach Joshua through Moses? He’s teaching Joshua dependence upon God. It is not how smart or how strong Joshua is, but how dependent he is to God. Another example would be Paul, whom God allowed a thorn in the flesh to afflict, keeping him humble and dependent on God (2 Cor 12:9).

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Cor 12:9)

“There are many, many times I feel unable to carry on,” said Daniel. “Many times, early in the morning, I lift up my hands to ask God to give me the supernatural strength and grace to tahan (means withstand) the whole day. At the end of the day past midnight, I am really amazed with the strength that God provide.”

Not only the youths have energy, strength and might, but also the older adults can also pray to God for that.

“If we do not tap into God’s strength, we are short-changing ourselves. We are under so much pressure and demands with long working hours. Sometimes, when we are in a cell group, our body is there but our spirit is not there,” said Daniel.


Takes time with God (Ex. 33:11)

“The choices we make is a reflection in our heart because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21),” said Daniel.

What kind of choice do we make? We know a person by his or her decisions in life, which show the philosophies and beliefs of that person.

“The question is do you value the time you have with God every day?” said Daniel. “When we regularly make choices like this, God begins to prepare us for bigger and greater responsibilities.”

The Bible has been here for 2000 over years, and if we consistently make good choices, God would prepare us for greater things.

He only became a Christian at 21 years old, learning slowly how to prioritize what is crucial and important. Through time, God laid foundation.

“Come and pray! We have just seen how Moses prayer made a difference in Joshua’s war. Don’t wait for something bad to happen to pray,” said Daniel.


Chosen as one of the twelve on special mission to Canaan (Num. 13)

Canaan land is the Promised Land. Although 12 spies representing 12 tribes were sent out, 10 out of 12 came back and warned Moses that the people of God look like “grasshoppers” to the Amalekites.

Why God want to send these twelve in? He wanted to train the eyes of these spies to have vision and heart to have faith (Num. 14:6-9).

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them. (Num. 14:6-9)

Sadly, ten spies only see with their physical eyes, they see a no-entry sign into the Promised Land. But not Caleb and Joshua. And so is this lady called Helen Keller, who got blind and deaf at 19 months.

Citing Helen Keller, Daniel said, “Sometimes people have sight but no vision. Vision does not need physical eyes. Yes, although we have challenges, we have to have vision to see beyond, trust God, and press in.”

And that is how Dream Center was built!



“We are seeking to build a church without walls, a church that never sleeps, a church for the community, a church on the move all the time,” Daniel said.

A pastor came to visit DUMC and was surprised to see people still in the church past midnight. Indeed, Daniel had a vision of building a flagship church, 17 years ago when there were 200 to 300 church members.

“It is faith to believe and see what’s beyond,” said Daniel. “God has a great plan for us! It depends on whether we want to tap in and harness our talents. That’s why they don’t grow into becoming a leader.”


Two other crucial elements in leadership making for Joshua

There’s an impartation when there is a laying of hands or anointing to the leader (Deut. 34:9).

Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses (Deut. 34:9)



And to be a leader, we must also have the courage to lead and to make difficult decisions (Josh. 1:6,7).

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go (Josh. 1:6,7).

“Sometimes we want to be safe and secure and we do not make any decisions. But when we do not make decision, we are actually making a decision,” said Daniel. “Make a decision. Even when we make a mistake, learn from it so that we become smarter and stronger.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a theologian and a pastor who opposed Adolf Hitler, was arrested and imprisoned. Fabian Von, a fellow prison mate with Bonhoeffer escaped because the ally armies defeated the Nazi’s.

Daniel shared of Fabian’s account of Bonhoeffer, where by the pastor was described as someone who had a noble and pure soul, who had always cheered and comforted him.

Citing Bonhoeffer, Daniel shared, “The only fight we lost is when we give up. And at the end of Fabian’s book, he concluded that the solution therefore is to do the Will of God courageously, boldly and joyfully!”

“Doesn’t matter if we are gifted or not gifted, but it is whether we are available. Here I am Lord. I want to be developed,” said Daniel. “If you are willing like Joshua, God will use us mightily for His Kingdom.”



To listen to the sermon online, please visit

You can also visit DUMC website at



Profile picture of Senior Pastor Daniel Ho was adapted from the website of DUMC at

Graphic pictures were adapted from

Dream Center DUMC picture was adapted from 


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