Tuesday, June 07, 2011

ReTool Leadership Part 3 - The Leader's Priority

As we follow Jesus’ leadership style, we notice something very interesting.  Jesus spends most of His time, energy and resources on the few, not with the crowds.  Jesus seems to know that investing in a few and teaching them to do the same is the way for rapid kingdom expansion.  In this way, multiplication comes from the many investing in others.  Jesus embraced, loved, equipped and released very common (uneducated and untrained cf. Acts 4:13) people to do very dangerous and risky things (like re-tell the Gospel, cast out demons and heal sick people).

In the church today, it seems that more emphasis is put on the crowds rather than the few.  When we put emphasis on attracting crowds to dispense the Gospel, we are actually buying into the idea of addition for church growth, not multiplication.  Focusing on addition seems right and a smart use of our time and resources.  If we can impact more people, that is preferred.  But addition, although good, is sharply less than multiplication.  No matter how rapidly we add people to the church, it will never be faster than multiplication.  

Equipping people to multiply takes longer and costs us more of our time and emotional energy than we often are willing to spend.  Once people are equipped to multiply, we are then left to trust them to actually do it...and some will not.  Therefore, adding people to events is quicker, safer and more rapid - but this is true only at the beginning.  Multiplication will always produce more than addition.

Jesus focused on pouring Himself into a few men and called them to reproduce themselves consistently.  We often find Jesus removing Himself from large crowds and spending more time with the 12 and the 3.  Jesus wanted His disciples to risk, fail and try again.  As they risked and fail, Jesus walked with them, pointing them in ways of success.  When we see Jesus ascending into heaven, He tells His followers to go throughout their lives making disciples - reproducing (Matt. 28:19-20, Acts 1:8).  Jesus doesn’t tell His disciples to invite people to sit and listen to them but to go and tell others about what they have just heard.  Paul seemed to understand this when he wrote...

"The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."  2 Timothy 2:2 (NASB)

The Leaders priority must be to focus on reproducing him or her self in a few who will in turn do the same thing.  This is not always the easiest path nor the most popular path but it the ONLY path that will see the world won to Christ.  It is the ONLY path that Jesus instructed us to follow.  Never did Jesus teach us to gather crowds to preach, He simply told us to go through life guiding each other to be like Jesus and to pass on those truths.  This is the bench mark of a healthy leader who is interested in creating a culture of rapid kingdom expansion.