Jesus poured out His life not only on the cross but also in the relationships He cultivated during His time on earth. As a result, within just decades following Christ's ascension, the ragtag group of fishermen, tax collectors, zealots, and other unlikely apostles changed the world by spreading the love and good news of Jesus to cities and towns near and far.
As leaders, our task is not merely to collect a group of followers but to raise up a new generation of leaders.
As leaders who follow Jesus, we must be on the lookout for investment opportunities—opportunities to mentor and encourage those around us. It's best not to look for a mere set of skills or abilities. What's more important is a person's character. Though we tend to be drawn to people who appear to have it all together on the outside—those who fit the mold of what we might expect a leader to be—integrity and substance are far more important. When the world picks a Saul, we should be on the lookout for a David. The Bible tells us, "People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).
Jesus affirmed His disciples by calling them friends, by commending them on their righteous works and their faith, and by trusting them with increasingly more responsibility (see John 15:14-15; 20:21; 21:15-17). When Jesus affirmed His followers, He increased their confidence. He empowered them to believe they could take on the world.
And in the book of Acts, they did—influencing and changing the world for Christ. In all the annals of leadership history, there has never been a more effective way of recruiting, training, and commissioning leaders than the process Jesus demonstrated in the Gospels. As leaders, our task is not merely to collect a group of followers but to raise up a new generation of leaders.
Did anyone invest in you as a young leader? If so, what difference did that relationship make in your life and in your development? And if you're not already doing so, consider pouring your experience and wisdom into a younger leader.
Prayer: Father, thank You for calling me a friend and for equipping me to be a leader in Your story of salvation. I ask for Your blessing on my team and me as I seek to share the experience and wisdom You've given me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2).