Faith Community Online

God’s Path of Developing Leaders, Part 5

Filed under: Leadership — Pastor David Oct 9, 2012 @ 11:06 am

The Final Product

“Faithful leaders take the learning process a step beyond training and (personal) experience. They know that mentoring others is a necessary part of faithful leadership.” C. Jeff Woods

The path that God takes each leader is similar in some respects as well as unique in others. The unique part of God’s “making of a leader”, is in the creative dimension of how God uses circumstances and gifting to deepen the man or woman and bring them to greatness in His sight. The difference between John the Baptist and Jesus was clearly stated by Jesus Himself in Matthew 11:16-19. John was sober and serious, Jesus was happy and outgoing. John lived very ascetically while Jesus enjoyed life and people. It was not to say that one style was right and the other wrong, but rather that they were each doing what God called them to do and yet expressed their leadership in very different ways.  Both leaders were examples of where God will take the leader when he or she is fully developed and has become a faithful leader,  fruitful and obedient to how God wants to use them. The final product in each of their character will actually look the same, provided they keep their eyes focused on following Him!

Peter (developed by Jesus) described the journey in 2 Peter 1:5-8. Starting with “faith” and then a growing and developing of their “passion” and “knowledge” of God.  From there, they deepen through personal “discipline” until they reach the heights of “perseverance” and “godliness.”  Then, they seem to “climb higher”, as their character is being refined and cultivated later emerging to the final stage of the last two words in the list, “brotherly kindness and love.” They arrive at this place in their leadership where they mentor and pass on all that they are…. to others. “Others” will be their focus and it will be easily seen in their daily schedule and use of energy. These two words are directly focused on the issue of caring about others… “brotherly kindness and love.”

I find it astonishing that this is where God wants to take every leader, because the reality is, this is not where every religious leader ends up. Some end up being cynical and critical of younger leaders. Others end up being defensive and protective, often losing their zeal and ending up in a sad and lonely isolated place where they never talk to anyone. Some leaders find themselves alone without anyone to replace them, for they have become indispensable to their ministry. When they die so does their ministry. Everything rises or falls on their authority, their vision, and their hard work. But these are not the end products of where God wants to take leaders. Somewhere along the journey they actually (and sadly) got their eyes off of following Him.

God’s plan is that the leader develops “brotherly kindness then love.” “Brotherly kindness” or “philadelphia” is when we are sensitive and understanding towards others who need to be trained and developed in the very skills that we have as their leader.   We come alongside that new leader and share with them what we have learned so that they are able to do it better than we did it, faster or slower than we did it, and be encouraged to succeed better than we succeeded. We encourage them to stand on our shoulders and do even greater things than we did. Jesus did that for His disciples and even told them that they would do greater things than He did (John 14:12). Amazing leadership!   “Brotherly kindness” is the tone and the heart of our mentoring of others. Mentoring is not a program, but rather it is one life sharing with another life what they have learned… like a father to his son. It is a friendly and positive exchange between two people, both seeking the best in serving God.

The greatest thrill of a leader is to reproduce himself/herself in someone else!  The joy of success is not nearly as wonderful as the joy of succession. A leader bears fruit, and then more fruit, but the greater joy is when they bear much fruit and fruit that remains.  i.e.  they multiply themselves in other leaders. There is never an era of church history that did not need leadership mentoring to happen. Why? Because all great leaders of the past have this in common… they are all dead! Someone had to replace them!!!  Where is John Wesley, C.H. Spurgeon, Jerome, R. A. Torrey, etc.? Only the leaders who replaced themselves had ongoing ministries.  God is so wise! He puts in the hearts of his leaders a love and joy to mentor the leaders around them and develop them as much as they can. That desire is inside of this God made leader and so is the vision. Multiply! Multiply! Multiply! And, what, exactly are we multiplying?  Love!

“Love” (agape) is the end product of God’s leader.  1 Timothy 1:5 Paul tells Timothy that “the goal of our instruction (mentoring) is love.” Love is the highest level of spiritual leadership. Read 1 Corinthians 13 and put your name in place of the word love. Ask your spouse or your fellow leaders if that describes you. Let us strive upward to these heights!  They are unattainable in the power of our selfish natures, but all attainable in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the fruit of the Spirit is love (Gal. 5:22-23). God lets us know where He is taking us. All the schooling, the training, the pains, and the victories, the successes and failures, the dry times and the spiritually rich times, all have one direction and one end.  Love is the final destination of all great leaders.

Jesus’ final scene with His disciples was on the Mount of Olives. As He leaves them, He lifted His hands scarred by nails, and He blessed them (Luke 24:50-51). His last act was to bless them. Their last sight was His nail scarred hands of love pouring out blessing. What was their response? They worshipped Him (Luke 24:51)! The last exchange was a love exchange. Jesus loving them and them loving Jesus. No wonder these leaders turned the world upside down! Every age needs love filled leaders to lead the way. May we be like Paul who said, “The love of Christ controls us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).                                        Let love be the motto and flag under which we serve others and God!

Father, You are the One who leads us and develops us as spiritual leaders…this we acknowledge.  We are amazed and thrilled at the reality of where You are taking us: Into the land of brotherly kindness and love. The greatness of Your Son will be upon us. May we do greater works in reaching many for your glory, and we confess, no one has done greater in loving others, than Your Son. May we reflect the greatness of that Love as we develop others and multiply our lives. In Jesus Name and for His glory we ask it, Amen