The role of the leader is not to do it all but instead to prepare others to participate in the ministry. Every leader goes through three stages in leading his ministry.
- Discovering Christ is in charge
Where a Christian leader begins is the cross of Jesus Christ. Until the leader receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and confesses the fact that it is Jesus who is in authority, you cannot adequately serve God’s people with a shepherd’s heart. Christian leaders realize that they are not the ones sitting on the throne. Jesus is, and they acknowledge Him to be the head of the Church and ourselves as caretakers of the ministry. One of the first things a leader needs to discover is faith in the one who has redeemed the world. Martin Luther said, “The true, living faith, which the Holy Spirit instills into the heart, simply cannot be idle.” And because our faith is not idle it drives us to endow the saints for service in the ministry of God’s church.
2. Mining for Leaders
You may never see yourself as a leader until someone taps you on the shoulder and asks you to lead.
At one time Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in America. He came to America from his native Scotland when he was a small boy, did a variety of odd jobs, and eventually ended up as the largest steel manufacturer in the United States. At one time he had forty-three millionaires working for him. In those days a millionaire was a rare person; conservatively speaking, a million dollars in his day would be equivalent to at least twenty million dollars today.
A reporter asked Carnegie how he had hired forty-three millionaires. Carnegie responded that those men had not been millionaires when they started working for him but had become millionaires as a result.
The reporter’s next question was, “How did you develop these men to becomes so valuable to you that you have paid them this much money?” Carnegie replied that men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold; but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt – one goes in looking for the gold.
That’s exactly the way we pastors need to view our people. Don’t look for the flaws, warts, and blemishes. Look for the gold, not for the dirt; the good, not the bad. Look for the positive aspects of life. Like everything else, the more good qualities we look for in our people, the more good qualities we are going to find. Source Unknown.
So, how will you pass the baton of leadership? Who are you pouring into as a leader? Who have you tapped on the shoulder and said, “Let me come alongside you and mentor you as I also learn from you?”
3. Establish an Equipping culture.
Andrew Schroer tells this story. My dad once told me the story about a peculiar fisherman from Minnesota. You see, this fisherman was very well prepared. He knew how to fish. He had everything you need to be a good fisherman. He had poles, nets, bait, and even a really nice boat, but this fisherman had a problem. You see, for all his preparation he never caught anything. Not one fish. Not one, not ever. And you know why he never caught a fish? What do you think? The answers easy: He never went fishing. He had all the knowledge and all the equipment, but he never got into the boat, he never left the dock.
As Christians we have all the tools to carry out the mission of God in the world, often the problem is no one has trained us nor equipped us to use the God-given means we have been entrusted. Our mission is essential and here are three reasons why:
- We are joined together. The fundamental mission Christ has given us and the kingdom suffer when we try and function independently. Each of us is a part of the puzzle. So, plug your piece in and watch how God uses you for kingdom impact.
- We are bound together. One of the advantages of community is that we don’t leave a man or woman behind. When you see a fellow saint, who is weak and falling back go and lift them up, encourage them, offer to walk with them. At the first sign of conflict don’t run to the elders and complain when you don’t like the direction they’re going, instead hold together!
- We are all called to doing our part. Don’t wait for others to do the work of the church for you; instead, jump in the ministry water. Serve in a way that proclaims the life-saving message of Jesus Christ to all the world as God has planned.