Jesus is the quintessential leader. The fruit of his leadership has been seen in the lives of his followers, who continue to change the world even to this day. What kind of training did Jesus give them that had such a long-lasting impact? Consider four principles exemplified by Jesus.
Identification is about discerning which individuals to choose for specific roles, based on the leadership qualities required for a given work or ministry. In a disciplemaking culture, the first qualification is that potential leaders are disciples of Jesus capable of helping others pursue God. Everyone can mentor someone else. Not everyone, however, is qualified or called to specific ministry leadership, such as leading a service team or a small group. A leader must determine the skills and capacity required for that role and look for people who may possess the corresponding abilities and strengths. As we will see below, leaders must then give potential leaders opportunities to test that initial assessment.
Regardless of the ministry role and its specific aptitudes, there is also a minimum standard of character for leaders. This includes traits like a growing relationship with Christ, a life that honors God and is free from life-controlling issues, a love for people, proven faithfulness, and a teachable, servant heart.
Don’t forget to make prayer an integral part of your identification process. Ask God to give you discernment about who to invest in. God may be qualifying people who don’t outwardly look the part from a human perspective.
Luke 6:12-13 One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles.
There are many kinds of leaders and many ways of developing them. But spiritual work requires spiritual training. We prepare people with the understanding of how to lead in ministry through mentoring, using the library at pursueGOD.org.
Instruction has two main areas of focus.
- Help potential leaders grow in their own pursuit of God. There are plenty of great conversations at pursueGOD.org that deal with life and character issues.
- Train new leaders to get better at their ministry role. Start with basic training series, including Foundations and Mentor Training. Move to specialized training series like Small Group Training, Youth Leader Training or Worship Training. Follow up with individual training conversations found in the pursueGOD.org library.
2 Corinthians 3:5-6 It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant.
Whatever pathway you choose, be intentional about the training process. But do it in dependence on God, since ultimately our competence comes from God through his Spirit.
When Jesus was training the first disciples, he spent significant time with them. He sent them out to do ministry only after a season of close fellowship with them. This is impartation: the transfer that happens as God’s values, vision, passion and grace rub off from one leader to another, not just through formal training, but through heart and life contact.
Romans 1:11-12 For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.
The apostle Paul longed to see the church face to face because impartation happens in the context of relationships. It is the sharing of one’s life in Christ with another for the purpose of spiritual development and encouragement. While instruction can address competency, impartation addresses character. It is an investment in a carefully identified few with a very personal touch. Because of the deeper nature of these relationships, it will cost a leader time and energy to do this. Yet the results are well worth the investment.
Jesus involved his disciples in what he was doing. He gave them small assignments first, then later sent them out to perform the work he had taught them to do. He gave them specific instructions (Luke 10:1-11) and followed up with them afterwards (Luke 10:17-20). As leaders, we create opportunities for new leaders to flex their leadership muscles. We give them specific responsibilities and train them how. We then evaluate and give personal feedback. Internship can be summarized like this:
- I lead, you watch.
- I lead, you assist.
- You lead, I assist.
- You lead, I watch.
- You lead without me.
The leadership legacy of Jesus continues because he trained leaders and taught us how to do the same.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- The video claims that everyone can mentor someone else, but not every one is called or qualified to lead a team. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
- What qualities do you believe should be included in a minimum standard of character for future leaders?
- Read 1 Corinthians 3:5-6. What do you think Paul means when he says, “Our qualification comes from God.”?
- How would you define “impartation”? How is this different from instruction? How have you experienced impartation from another leader?
- What are some ways to give new leaders opportunities to develop their ministry and leadership skills?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
- [How to: Use pursueGOD.org in your life]
- [How to: Download a video]
- [How to: Download an article]
- [Related Topic: How to Identify Future Leaders]
- [Related Series: Foundations]
- [Related Series: Mentor Training]
- [Related Resource: Ministry Team Tools]
- [Related Topic: How to Develop New Small Group Leaders]