The greatest pinch-point we face in nimbly responding to kairos opportunities – whether the launch of new teams or ministries – is a shortage of men and women prepared to serve as leaders.
The Great Commission will be fulfilled in your mission field “to the degree that we partner with God to multiply more, effective servant leaders. This requires each of us to keep growing and to reproduce others prepared to serve.”
The Apostle Paul is a great role model. He was passionately committed to the discipling of nations and sought to catalyze church multiplication among least-evangelized peoples (Rom 15:20). And yet Paul, like Jesus, knew that he most direct strategy to catalyze movements is to develop leaders.
1. Paul Developed Himself
Paul was a life-long learner. In his final prison letter, he writes to Timothy from Rom with the request, “bring the parchments.” Paul was a disciplined and motivated learner right up to the very end. He knew that ongoing maturation in Christ and ministry was essential to his goal of finishing well.
Plateauing is a danger that lurks at the door of every leader, particularly from our 40s onward. When we reach a certain level of competence, the temptation is to slack off in learning. It is easy to slip into the “expert” syndrome rather than to maintain a learner’s heart. Paul was passionate about growth (“I press on…” Phil 3:12) and kept “sharpening the saw” until the very end.
2. Paul Multiplied Leaders
Leadership selection and development received top priority in his ministry. Having experienced the benefit of Barnabas’ mentoring, his strategy was to invest in emerging leaders who would propel the multiplication of leaders and churches. This is most clearly seen in his ministry in Ephesus (impacting the province of Asia( and in his counsel to a young pastor (2 Tim 2:2).
Though task-oriented, Paul focused on people. The value he placed on developmental relationships is clearly seen in Scripture. Over 80 of Paul’s friends are mentioned by name. Each had received his focused attention. When traveling with teammates, he utilized time on the road to develop companions like Aristarchus, Luke, Erastus, and Priscilla. He coached the leaders of new congregations such as Philemon, Phoebe, and Sothenes. When imprisoned, Paul utilized the opportunity to develop people like Onesimus, Epaphroditus, and Tychicus. And we are well acquainted with his personal letters to his close-in mentorees Timothy and Titus. His legacy lived on in the lives of those he coached.
Paul knew that the vision of discipled nations is best accomplished by reproducing more, growing leaders.
How are you growing yourself as a leader?
What does leadership development look like in your church plant?
Who are you intentionally preparing for leadership?
How can you take them to the next level?