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Walk the Talk

As I was putting my thoughts down on paper this week, (ok, typing them on my laptop) I opened up twitter and saw this post by Ed Stetzer, “You cannot lead what you do not live.”  How true!  It was an affirmation on my heart of what God wanted me to write about.  The apostle Paul wrote it this way in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”  Leadership development is asking others to imitate us as we imitate Christ.  We should expect what we do not emulate.

As leaders, are we modeling to those following what we expect them to demonstrate in their lives?  We must model what living for Christ looks like before those who are looking to us for spiritual direction.  Dr. Dave DeVries says this about modeling, “To develop the leadership skills of others – a leader must intentionally model skills that will be a template for others to follow.”  Leaders must model discipleship because multiplication begins with leadership that is modeling the process of making disciples, maturing believers, and reproducing leaders.

Everyone can use more leaders!  The reality is that there are probably more leaders around than we realize.  Churches need to have a system in place to discover, develop, and deploy leaders.  While recruiting leaders is a viable option we must also concentrate on raising up leaders from within our churches.  Look for those in your church who are maturing in their spiritual walk, leading others to Christ, and reproducing other disciples.  This is the biblical standard for every follower of Christ and should be a prerequisite to leadership.

What if every leader in the church intentionally gave at least 10% of their time to raising up other leaders?  We must think people, not programs!  We need to spend time with potential leaders, allow them to walk alongside of us as we do ministry, and do life together.  It seems that we focus so much on the WHAT that the HOW gets overlooked.  The reality is that “Jesus” method on discipleship was relational followed up by action steps.  There needs to be a shift in many ministries from teaching to modeling.

There is an old adage that says, “Tell me and I’ll forget.  Show me and I may remember.  Involve me and I’ll understand.”  Rick Warren in Purpose Driven Church puts it this way, “Instead of trying to grow a church with programs, focus on growing people with a process.”  May I suggest to you that the process begins with a leader modeling what we are asking others to imitate.  Here are some thoughts about modeling:

  • If you want people with a servant’s heart, you must have a servant’s heart.
  • If you want others to disciple people, you must be discipling others.
  • If you want people to reach out to the lost, the last, and the least, you must personally be building relationships with unbelievers. 
  • If you want a praying church, you must be a man of prayer.
  • If you want a friendly church, you must be friendly.

 There must be a system, or process, for intentional mentoring by modeling in front of others what God expects from every one of His disciples.  Healthy leaders reproduce healthy leaders. They are passionate about discipling and mentoring emerging leaders. They keep looking for ways to raise up leaders and give away their ministry responsibilities to those whom they have trained.  They have a passion to be a Paul to young potential leaders who God has placed in their lives. 

Everyone needs a mentor who models to them what is expected of leaders.  Remember a mentor is someone who has been where you want to go and is willing to help you get there.  Developing leaders is vital to the future of any church and ministry.  Don’t forget that the Speed of the Leader = Speed of the Team!  It starts with the Lead Pastor and it cannot be delegated to someone else.