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Who Are Your Must Become Greaters?

He is Greater

   The question is simple but profound, “Why do you do what you do?” or “What keeps you going and what are you passionate about?”  Passion can be determined by watching what brings tears to a person’s eyes or what they pound the table about when discussing it.  Passion is what keeps you doing what you do even when you want to quit or you just don’t want to do it anymore.  It is the fire in your belly that stirs you and motivates you to press forward.  The prophet Jeremiah said this, “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.”

     John the Baptist was passionate about repentence in following God and also paving the way for the Messiah.  He said this, “I must decrease and He must increase!”  He was saying that Christ must become greater but then Jesus said in John 14:12, “Most assuredly, I say unto you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my Father.”  Remember, Jesus invested in a few so that He could reach many through them.  Who are you investing in and preparing to accomplish even greater things than you ever will?

     Recently a friend of mine asked, “Who are your ‘Must become greaters?”  The more you empower, equip, and release other leaders the greater the advancement of the gospel.  Who is it in your sphere that you are championing to be a “must become greater?”  Moses was the great deliverer but it was Joshua and Caleb that took them into Canaan.  Elijah was a great prophet but Elisha witnessed twice the miracles his teacher did.  Jonathan was a great friend who helped David but it was David who became king.  Barnabas was Saul’s mentor but it was Paul who was the great missionary of the New Testament church.

     First, you must decrease!  We must become less so that they can become more, greater.  That is the secret and the key to raising up some “must become greaters!”  Far too often the temptation is to not release those we have mentored and try to control them instead of creating a culture of reproducing leaders who are sent out from us on mission for God.  They may do a far better job than us and our prayer and hope should be that they do so.  That brings up another problem.  Something is desperately wrong when we cannot rejoice when those we have trained and mentored accomplish far more than we have. 

     In John 3 John the Baptist gave us a paradox, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  A paradox is something that is made up of two opposite things and seems impossible but is actually true.  The Bible is full of paradoxes that reveal an upside down approach to life and leadership.  The last shall be first and the first shall be last.  If you find your life you will lose it and if you lose your life you find it.  It is better to give than receive and God loves a cheerful giver.  When you are weak, then you are strong.  Maybe the greatest paradox to our human minds is, “To live is Christ and to die is gain!”  We must die to self!

     Second, others must increase!  God can take nobodies, and in a kingdom sense, make them somebodies!  Who is it that God wants you to focus on who are the “must become greaters?”  For this to become a reality there must be an even greater commitment to a higher level of discipleship.  There must be a greater investment of time and intentionality where you pour your life into others.  You goal is that they will do even greater things than you ever could and you will rejoice in knowing that their increase has happened because you had a vision and a heart for the “must become greaters!” 

     Remeber, God hates the proud and gives grace to the humble.  Our eyes must be focused on others and raising up the next generation who will raise up the next generation.  God has called us to look for and invest in the “must become greaters” by equipping them, empowering them, and relasing them for the work of the ministry.  The secret is exactly what John the Baptist said, “I must become less!”  Jesus said this about him in Matt. 11:11, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not been one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

     Always be looking for the “Must become greaters!”

Lead Like Jesus

Jesus Leadership

The first, and best, place we should look to learn how to lead is Jesus.  He not only told the twelve disciples what to do, but more importantly, He showed them.  Taking a closer look at how He developed leaders there are several simple but profound observations:

 

First, Jesus spent a lot of time with those He would pour the last three and a half years of His life into here on earth.  He spent up close personal time observing these potential leaders.  They laughed together, ate together, travelled together, and did life together.  Some practical lessons gleaned from Jesus’ leadership examples are:

 

  • Be careful about those looking for titles or positions.
  • Look for those already busy.
  • Give small assignments at first.
  • Go slow and watch to see how they develop. 

 

Second, Jesus selected His leaders.  We do not seem to like this thinking, but Jesus handpicked His leaders, and not everyone is meant to be the kind of leader these men became.  A dangerous mentality is thinking that anyone in the church can serve in whatever position they choose.  The biblical example is that those who became leaders first proved themselves faithful.

 

  • Be careful about using sign-up sheets.
  • Develop Life Transformation Groups to develop leaders.
  • Build up leaders through personal relationships not just through teaching.
  • Select those who have proven themselves to the church.

 

Third, Jesus showed them how they were supposed to lead.  We cannot forget that leadership development is so much more than information transfer.  His leadership style had a high priority on obedience over knowledge.  He was looking for those who were not only hearers of the word but doers also.  Remember, you cannot lead what you do not live.

 

  • Treat leaders as apprentices rather than as students.
  • Invite potential leaders into your home and visit theirs.
  • Hold one another accountable for their spiritual walk.
  • Do not promote those who are not working at making disciples.

 

Fourth, Jesus sent the disciples into situations that they were not prepared for.  A huge mistake to avoid is making leadership too easy.  They must realize that there will be opposition and there will be hardships and struggles along the way.  Recently I heard someone say, “If you’re not in a fight, you’re not doing it right!”   While I am not promoting looking for a fight, I do want to say when you sell out to Christ the fight has a way of finding you.

 

  • Leaders must be placed into situations that will stretch their faith.
  • Hardships are not always a bad thing but can develop godly character.
  • Risk is a part of leadership and we are to walk by faith.
  • Leaders must learn to depend more on the Lord and less on themselves.

 

Fifth, Jesus started a movement by pouring His life into a few so that He could reach many.  You cannot turbo train leaders because serving the Lord is not a sprint but a marathon.  As leaders develop, accountability will increase but control will decrease, which will energize the new leader.  If both accountability and control increase then everyone involved will become frustrated.

 

  • Leaders produce leaders not curriculum.
  • The first step is building relationships.
  • Look for those who are already serving and have a teachable spirit.
  • Every leader is different and the goal is not clones or robots.

 

Jesus showed us how to develop leaders.  I want to remind you of what Jim Putman said in Discipleshift, “We cannot divorce Jesus’ teachings from His methods and get His results.”  There is a great need for us to be completely honest with the potential leaders we are trying to develop.  Jesus had very honest conversations with the 12 disciples and we must be careful about misplaced kindness.

Healthy churches strive to develop leaders the same way Jesus did!