Category Archives: Leadership
INTAKE FORM FOR GOSPEL COACHING WITH A DISCIPLE
This form is helpful in establishing a gospel coach and disciple relationship. It facilitates the coach’s getting to know the disciple and establishes a starting point for the journey toward Jesus and his calling in the disciple’s life. Feel free to revise this form to include only questions that will be beneficial for your particular gospel coaching relationship. This list is quite comprehensive and is meant to be selectively utilized.
(1) Tell me about your family [spouse, children's names and ages, etc.].
(2) When is your birthday? Anniversary?
(3) What makes you excited or feel really alive?
(4) What are some skills and talents that God has blessed you with?
(5) What have been lifelong desires and dreams for you? What is going on with these dreams and desires now?
(6) What are you hoping for in the next six months?
(7) How has God saved you personally? How is he saving you daily?
(8) How would you describe a “perfect day”?
(9) How would you describe a “terrible day”?
(10) How is ministry impacting your family?
(11) How is your family impacting your ministry?
(12) How is your ministry impacting your faith?
(13) How is your faith impacting your ministry?
(14) How is your personality affecting others?
(15) How are others affecting your personality?
(16) How is your integrity impacting others? What people are you influencing both positively and negatively?
(17) How is your character influencing your culture?
(18) How is your character influencing your church community?
(19) How are you developing character in your leaders?
(20) How is your physical health? What does your exercise look like weekly? What do you do for recreation? What does your eating look like daily? What does your sleep and rest look like? Do you have any health issues that affect your life and ministry? How are you dealing with these?
(21) How is your emotional health? How is ministry affecting your emotions? How are your emotions affecting your ministry? What tone are you setting in your home through your emotions? What tone are you setting in your ministry through your emotions?
(1) What area of your character in your personal life are you most convicted about by the Holy Spirit? What do you envision this developed area to look like? How would you describe this area now? What things could you do to develop or grow in this area? What commitment do you have to grow in this area? What has made it difficult for you to see growth or change in this area?
(2) What is currently confusing you about the gospel on a heart level?
(3) What books are you currently reading? What are you learning?
(4) How can I encourage, help, and support you?
(5) How are you making space to be refreshed in God’s salvation in a personal, practical way?
(1) What is holding you back from personal growth in Jesus?
(2) What are you holding on to that is keeping you from being more like Christ?
(3) What current personal failures are most frustrating to you?
(4) What has God accomplished in your character in the last year?
(5) How has God shown faithfulness to you in the last year?
(6) How are you and God doing?
(7) Where do you think God wants you to go in your personal growth in the next six months? Why?
(1) Who do you need to help you?
(2) To whom will you be accountable?
(3) How can I help you?
(4) Where do we really need God to show up?
(5) Where is your heart hard?
(6) What lies do you believe?
(7) What doubts have crept in?
(8) In what ways have you invited unbelief and deception in your personal life? How can I help close those doors?
(9) How will we pray?
(1) How would you describe your personal call?
(2) What people and circumstances are associated with your call to ministry
(3) How and when has your call to ministry been affirmed in your life?
(4) How have others affirmed your call to ministry?
(5) What opportunities do you have to fulfill this calling?
(1) What leadership gifts or abilities do you need to develop to fulfill your calling or current assignment?
(2) How would you describe your current abilities in this area?
(3) What options do you have to develop your leadership?
(4) What will you do to develop your leadership?
(1) When has your call to leadership been challenged?
(2) Under what circumstances have you doubted your call?
(3) Is there anything in this current experience that is causing you to question your call?
(4) What activities or events do you use to anchor, form up, or strengthen your call?
(5) How should your call be focused or clarified?
(6) What does your call’s success look like?
(1) Who have been mentors in your life?
(2) What mentors and coaches do you need now to fulfill your call?
(3) Who else do you need to help you?
(4) What do you need most from God right now?
(1) What are some of the major milestones in your theological development?
(2) What are you reading in Scripture right now? What are you learning about God?
(3) How do you practice abiding in Jesus?
(4) What increases your affections toward God and others?
(5) What deadens your affections toward God and others?
(6) What is causing your anxiety or fear right now?
(1) What are some areas with which you wrestle theologically?
(2) What information are you missing?
(3) How hungry are you to know God?
(4) How dependent do you feel on Jesus in your life?
(1) What discrepancies may be emerging between what your mind knows and what your heart believes in Scripture?
(2) How is the Holy Spirit leading you to grow in your understanding of Jesus?
(3) What does your prayer life look like?
(4) Who are the people in your life you are praying for?
(5) What are you praying for?
(6) What are your prayers revealing about your faith?
(7) Who is effectively bringing you clarity about who Jesus is and about the truth of Scripture? How are you prioritizing these people in your life?
(1) What are you feeding yourself with to feel satisfied outside of Christ?
(2) What current obstacles hinder your spiritual growth?
(3) Who is pulling you away from your relationship with God? How?
(4) Who is planting doubt and discouragement in your heart about Jesus?
(5) What anti-Christian spiritual teaching are you tempted to believe? Why?
(6) What are you allowing to take priority over your relationship with Jesus? Why?
(7) What obedience has Jesus called you to that you have been ignoring or trying to escape?
(1) What opportunities for mission are present in your life?
(2) Who are the lost people God has brought into your life? What does your relationship with these people look like?
(3) What percentage of your time is spent with people who do not know Jesus?
(4) What are your spiritual gitfs?
(5) Describe your current ministry and missional responsibilities? Do these match your calling? Are any of these activities being performed under compulsion?
(6) To what degree do you and your church understand the prevailing culture in your city?
(7) How do you and your church engage the culture?
(8) How do you and your church serve the culture?
(9) How and where do you and your church attract the culture?
(10) How and where do you and your church initiate relationships in the culture?
(11) How is your church perceived by the culture?
(12) How do you and your church receive the culture?
(13) How do your leaders impact the culture?
(1) Where is ignorance in your mission or ministry killing you?
(2) Are you experiencing any physical or emotional burnout? How easily discouraged are you in your mission? How is your patience quotient? Are you easily angered in your ministry? Are yu disconnecting completely from your mission for Sabbath? How?
(3) Which Christian missiologists have influenced and shaped your mission through their writing or preaching?
(4) How would you like to see your church connect with culture?
(5) What can you personally do to connect with culture?
(6) What is working now in connecting with culture?
(7) What other possibilities do you see for you or your fellowship to connect with culture?
(1) What does success in your mission look like?
(2) How will you know when you are accomplishing what God has called you to?
(3) How close are you to that success now?
(4) What roadblocks are you experiencing in accomplishing your mission?
(5) Is the direction you are headed the direction to which you have been called?
(6) Where and how have you and your church been effective in reaching into your culture?
(7) Which of your leaders most impact the culture?
(8) Who are the persons of peace with whom you are connecting?
(9) Where has there been a significant network of evangelistic relationships?
(10) What is stopping you or your church from engaging or impacting culture?
(11) What are one or two things could you and your church do to understand, engage, or receive your culture?
(1) What is draining your energy and sapping life from you in your mission?
(2) Who is attacking your mission — intentionally or unintentionally?
(3) What voices of discouragement are you listening to?
(4) What personal sins are hindering your mission and calling?
(5) Where are you allowing cowardice to hinder your mission and leadership?
(6) Where are you charging ahead of the Holy Spirit in your own strength?
(7) Who has sinned against you, and how is it affecting the mission?
(8) Who have you sinned against, and how have you dealt with it?
(9) What keeps rising up to distract you and your people from the mission?
(10) What risks are you willing to take to demonstrate dependence on God?
(11) What can help you understand your culture?
(12) Where do you most need God’s help?
(13) How are you praying for needs in the culture?
*SOURCE: Adapted from Appendix 2 in Gospel Coach: Shepherding Leaders to Glorify God by Scott Thomas and Tom Wood. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2013.
*By Scott Thomas and Tom Wood
The following questions can be used to protect a disciple in his leadership skills and development. Each section can take up to one hour to discuss between a coach and a disciple.
(1) How are you unique? (calling, gifts, passions, personality, experiences, sin patterns)
(2) How do you stay inspired? How often do you practice this?
(3) How do you apply the gospel to yourself? What is the message in your mind?
(4) What are the rythms of grace in your life? (Scripture, worship, prayer, community, family, time off)
(5) What idols compete for your worship? How do you forsake each idol?
(6) What sinful mental images repeatedly play in your head? How do you take those thoughts captive?
(7) How are you stewarding the gifts you have for the greatest benefit? (time, resources, skills)
(1) Who understands you best? Other than your family, who are the people with whom you share life together? (2 Timothy 2:2)
(2) Whom do you pray for? What specific petitions are you praying for them?
(3) Who would you like to choose to become one of your influencer friends? What is your plan for making this happen?
(4) How are you telling “truth in love” to the people under your leadership? When do you “spin” something?
(5) How faithful are you in being on time and following through with promises?
(6) Do you say yes and no with clarity so that it builds confidence and trust?
(7) Whom are the people you tend to try to please and why?
(8) How are you discipling each of your children and your spouse (if applicable)?
(9) Who really knows you?
(10) What relationships are broken in your life? What are you doing to bring reconciliation?
(1) How has God called you to serve him? How are you fulfilling this calling?
(2) What things nudge you away from following your calling?
(3) What is the most pressing leadership issue you are currently facing?
(4) Do people in your leadership area know with clarity what you expect of them?
(5) What are you doing well in your leadership? What needs your attention?
(6) How do you encourage those you are leading to follow the objectives of your organization?
(7) In what ways do you personify your calling?
(8) What opportunities did you decline for the sake of fulfilling your objectives?
(9) What are the stories that define the culture of your leadership area? How do you capture these stories? How are the stories being shared?
(1) Who is your team? (roles, styles)
(2) Who is going to replace you?
(3) How do you demonstrate your love for each team member?
(4) What dysfunctions in your team are you addressing?
(5) With whom do you sense the most synergy? How can you maximize this?
(6) With whom do you sense the least synergy? Why? How are you minimizing this?
(7) Whom do you struggle to trust? Why? How do you address issues of distrust with them?
(8) What inspires each team member? (Ask each one, “What aspect of your work brings you the most joy, and what stories do you tend to tell most often?)
(9) How do you empower your team members to exercise their greatest gifts and talents on the team?
(1) What does faithfulness in your calling look like for you?
(2) In which young leaders are you investing your life to develop?
(3) How are you making disciples?
(4) How are you equipping others to serve Jesus’ church more effectively?
(5) How are you living in a missional way?
*SOURCE: Scott Thomas and Tom Wood. Gospel Coach. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013, Appendix 3.
By Brian Dodd
“It’s no surprise that Texas is producing athletic innovation. You’ve seen a similar spirit of innovation in Texas’s business world…It’s a place where thinking differently is valued and produces results.” – Jay Greene, Department of Education Reform, Arkansas University
As pastors and Christian leaders we are constantly focused on raising up the next generation of leaders. Much like Texas athletics, we need different thinking to produce better results.
Recently I was reading a September 30th Sports Illustrated article on the incredible results being produced by the Texas high school football 7-on-7 tournaments. For example, this past weekend an astonishing 10 NFL starting quarterbacks came from those programs.
While lacking the “spiritual” element, I found the techniques used by Texas coaches to develop quarterbacks extremely applicable to Christian environments hoping to develop young leaders.
The following are 9 Things Pastors Should Know About Developing Young Leaders gleaned from these incredibly productive Texas high school football programs:
Young Leaders Must Be Allowed To Make Mistakes – In addition to allowing quarterbacks time to develop, Texas high school quarterbacks are also given the ability to improvise and make mistakes.
Young Leaders Should Be Given Significant Responsibility – Too often Christian leaders do not recognize the potential of their young people. We give them volunteer responsibilities which do not stretch or challenge them. This approach does not prepare them for the challenges adult Christian leaders face. Detroit Lions qb Matt Stafford said, “We throw (the football) so much (in high school), it’s not a big deal when we get to the next level.”
Young Leaders Will Innovate Out Of Necessity – Baylor head coach Art Briles created his innovative offensive system while coaching football at Stephenville High School. The teams he faced were bigger, stronger, and faster. He says, “I was just trying to figure out something each year. We were having trouble with bigger players, and we started spreading the field to counter that. We kept developing it from there.”
Young Leaders Should Be Exposed To More Experienced Leaders Early And Often – Churches who develop young Christian leaders are focused on discipleship. They prioritize getting younger leaders into the orbits and under the influence of successful, more experienced leaders. Texas high school coaches are constantly bringing in NFL defensive coaches to better prepare their quarterbacks.
Young Leaders Will Thrive In Flexible Environments – Texas high school coaches are flexible and humble. They adjust their offensive game plans around the skills of their quarterbacks rather than making the quarterbacks adjust. Church leaders need to recognize the incredible story God wants to tell through the lives of young people and adjust their ministries, programming and systems accordingly.
Young Leaders Are Resilient – Coach Briles says, “What you’re looking for (in a quarterback) is a mentality. A guy who won’t back down.”
Young Leaders Focus On What They Can Do. Not What They Can’t – Houston Texans qb Case Keenum says, “A lot of people told me what I couldn’t do. I was too short, didn’t have this, didn’t have that. But I always believed in myself. You cannot let other people tell you what you can do.”
Young Leaders Will Respect More Experienced Leaders – It is flawed thinking to assume young people lack respect. Some do. Many do not. Christian leaders should make honoring a church’s past part of the discipleship process. Keenum goes on, “One thing all of us have in common, we realize how important it is to play quarterback in Texas. From a young age, we’re taught to respect the game.”
Young Leaders Need Guidelines Rather Than Rules – Writer Andrew Perloff deducted that a “competitive spirit and lax regulation provide a fertile ground for creativity and excellence.”
What additional practices are you doing as Christian leaders to develop young leaders?
New Testament Verses in Support of Mentoring
He appointed twelve-designating them apostles-that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach. (Mark 3:14)
… but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40b) Therefore I urge you to imitate me. (1 Corinthians 4:16)
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. (Philippians 3:17)
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia-your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it. (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8)
We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. (2 Thessalonians 3:9)
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance…. (2 Timothy 3:10)
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:7-8)
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7)
Not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:3)
Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. (3 John 11)
RECOGNIZING THE LESSONS AND STAGES OF LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
A PRIMER ON THE PROCESS OF BECOMING A LEADER
Book Review By David P. Craig
Knowing where one is at is crucial in moving forward in life. Nothing is more helpful when one is lost than having a map of where one is, and how to get to where we need to go. Recently, I experienced going through a difficult bout with cancer. The treatment and side effects of the treatment were absolutely brutal. However, I had a guide along the way to help me get through it. He was a man who had the exact same cancer and treatment as me, but he was already “cancer free” and a year ahead of me in the process. He helped me in my journey in two ways: (1) He helped me realize that what I was going through was normal and miserable, but necessary for the cancer to be killed; (2) He gave me a “living hope” that I would be cancer free like him if I endured to the end of the treatment without giving up. The process was excruciating, but now that I look back a year later – like him – I want to help people in their journey with cancer.
In the same vein as my illustration above Dr. Clinton helps emerging leaders understand the process of becoming a mature leader by evaluating the lives of biblical and modern leaders journeys. He identifies six primary processes’ that all leaders must go through on the way to becoming a healthy and mature leader of leaders. Some of the examples used in this book are the Prophets Jeremiah and Daniel, the Apostles Paul and Barnabas, and modern examples: Dawson Trotman, Warren Wiersbe, A.W. Tozer, Watchman Nee, Amy Carmichael and several others.
In his study Clinton articulates six phases or stages of a leaders development:
(1) Phase One is called “Sovereign Foundations” – This is where a leader starts to become aware of his or her calling to leadership. It is a time where character issues are developing, skills are developing, and one’s calling is being wrestled with. There is a deep sense of God’s calling and purpose and the building blocks for the emerging leader’s life are starting to lay the foundations for a life of leadership.
(2) Phase Two is called “Inner Life Growth” – This is a time where the leader is learning to hear and obey God’s leading. It is a time of deep spiritual growth and intimacy with God. The leader is often put through several major tests during this process – will he or she obey and submit wholeheartedly to God?
(3) Phase Three is called “Ministry Maturing” – In this stage the leader is reaching out to others and discovering and practicing ones spiritual gifts. Both positive and negative lessons are being learned during this phase. The leader is learning his or her own strengths and weaknesses in working with others. Oftentimes there is a strong desire to get more training during this time to minimize one’s weaknesses and enhance one’s strengths. In the first three phases God is primarily working “in” the leader not through him or her. In the next three phases God is working “through” the leader. As Clinton articulates “Many emerging leaders don’t recognize this, and become frustrated. They are constantly evaluating productivity and activities, while God is quietly evaluating their leadership potential. He wants to teach us that we minister out of what we are.”
(4) Phase Four is called “Life Maturing” – This is a time in the leaders life where the leader “is using his or her spiritual gifts in a ministry that is satisfying. He gains a sense of priorities concerning the best use of his gifts and understands that learning what not to do is as important as learning what to do. A mature fruitfulness is the result. Isolation, crisis, and conflict take on new meaning. The principle that ‘ministry flows out of being’ has new significance as the leader’s character mellows and matures.” Communion and intimacy with God becomes immensely more important than one’s ‘success’ in ministry.
(5) Phase Five is called “Convergence” – God takes the leader and matches him or her with a role that matches his or her gift-mix and experience so that ministry is maximized. Life maturing and ministry maturing peak together during this phase. Many leaders never get to experience this phase. Some leaders like Dawson Trotman and Jim Elliott were taken to Heaven before entering this phase. Some leaders don’t get to experience this phase because of their own sin, or other providential circumstances. For those who experience convergence it is a time of transitional leadership where the baton is passed down to other faithful leaders who will continue to develop the leaders’ vision for the church or organization they have developed.
(6) The final phase is called “Afterglow” or “Celebration” – Clinton describes this stage as “The fruit of a lifetime of ministry growth culminates in an era of recognition and indirect influence at broad levels. Leaders in Afterglow have built up a lifetime of contacts and continue to exert influence in these relationships. Others will seek them out because of their consistent track record of following God. Their storehouse of wisdom gathered over a lifetime of leadership will continue to bless and benefit many.”
Clinton defines leadership as “a dynamic process in which a man or woman with God-given capacity influences a specific group of God’s people toward His purposes for the group.” This book is written for leaders and potential leaders who are (a) wondering what God is doing in their lives – asking the question “Is God calling me into Christian ministry?”; (b) are beginning to discover ministry opportunities; (c) need a fresh challenge from God; (d) need to understand how to select and develop younger leaders; (e) are at a crossroads, facing a major decision; (f) want to know how God develops leaders; (g) want to know where you are at in the process of your leadership development – is what you are experiencing normal for a leader?
I think all emerging and veteran leaders will benefit immensely from reading this book. It is packed with useful examples, illustrations, charts, and principles to help you become a godly leader. Also, it is immensely helpful to help you understand the process’ of leadership and how to invest in other emerging leaders. If you believe God is calling you to leadership, or has already entrusted you with a leadership role, you will most definitely benefit from Clinton’s wisdom – from one leader to another.
AM I LEADING IN A GOD-CENTERED MANNER?
Do people understand more of God’s mercy because of the way I respond to their mistakes?
Do people understand more of God’s holiness because of my high ethical standards?
Do people understand more of God’s patience because of the time I give to grow and develop?
Do people understand more of God’s truthfulness because of the way I communicate honestly?
Do people understand more of God’s more of God’s faithfulness because they see me keep my promises?
Do people understand more of God’s kindness because of the tone of my voice?
Do people understand more of God’s love because I go out of my way to help and serve them as I lead?
Do people understand more of God’s grace because I avoid being harsh and unreasonably demanding?
To what extent does my leadership actually model and teach something about the character of God?
“SOURCE: Stephen Viars. Leadership: How to Guide Others Integrity. New Growth Press, 2012.
LEARNING, LEADING, AND LEAVING A LEGACY
Leadership Lessons from the Life of Peter the Apostle
Book Review by David P. Craig
Just as life has seasons, leaders also have stages or phases of leadership. In this practical book Jeff Iorg tackles the three seasons or phases of a leader’s life. Using the Apostle Peter as his thematic teaching point, Iorg highlights leadership lessons from the three seasons or phases of leadership: Phase One – learning about leadership; Phase Two – actively leading; and Phase Three – leaving a legacy.
In Part One – Lessons for Emerging Leaders – Iorg tackles 21 lessons for leaders to grapple with in the earliest phases of their leadership development. Some of the topics addressed include: a leader’s calling, identity, prayer life, how to forgive, and serve humbly. The first section of the book highlights leadership principles and lessons from the stories in the Gospels where the Apostle Peter is specifically singled out by Jesus.
Part Two – Priorities for Active Leaders – contains 13 priorities for leaders in their prime, including: calling people to Jesus, accessing God’s power, confronting sin, defending the faith, working with other leaders, and how to move on after making mistakes. In this section of the book Iorg gives emphasis to every story in Acts and the Epistles where Peter is involved in leadership and the lessons or insights we can glean from his example.
In Part Three – Convictions of Maturing Leaders – Iorg expounds upon 10 powerful convictions of a leader intent on leaving a lasting legacy, including: Jesus is enough, pursuing purity, building good relationships, trusting Jesus and His Word, and giving glory to Jesus. The last section of the book summarizes Peter’s legacy from the wisdom he gained, the disciples and leaders he influenced, and the convictions he held to and modeled for a generation of leaders to come.
Jeff Iorg has written a very insightful and practical book that helps leaders learn more about leadership, focus on what’s most important in leadership, and finish well in one’s calling by leading effectively and leaving a legacy for future leaders. Written with emerging leaders and veteran leaders in mind, this book is filled with great insights for leaders of all seasons, ages, and phases of life. Each short chapter includes helpful questions for reflection and discussion. The book would be an excellent resource for church leaders to use in a discipleship type setting over a period of several months. It could also be a very helpful book for older pastors to mentor younger pastors with. I highly recommend this book as a great resource to return to throughout the varied seasons of a leader’s life.
Paul instructed Timothy, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:1-2, ESV).
Jesus commission to the disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18b-20, ESV).
Succession Isn’t An Option
In Joe Aldrich’s excellent book on evangelism he retells this insightful legend on successionism related to the great commission:
There is a legend which recounts the return of Jesus to glory after his time on earth. Even in heaven he bore the marks of his earthly pilgrimage with its cruel cross and shameful death. The angel Gabriel approached him and said, “Master, you must have suffered terribly for men down there.” “I did,” he said. “And,” continued Gabriel, “do they know all about how you loved them and what you did for them?” “Oh, no,” said Jesus, “not yet. Right now only a handful of people in Palestine know.” Gabriel was perplexed. “Then what have you done to let everyone know about your love for them?” Jesus said, “I’ve asked Peter, James, John, and a few more friends to tell other people about me. Those who are told will in turn tell still other people, and my story will be spread to the farthest reaches of the globe. Ultimately, all of mankind will have heard about my life and what I have done.” Gabriel frowned and looked rather skeptical. He knew well what poor stuff men were made of. “Yes,” he said, “but what if Peter and James and John grow weary? What if the people who come after them forget? Haven’t you made any other plans?” Jesus answered, “I have no other plans. I’m counting on them.” Twenty centuries later, he still has no other plan. He’s counting on you and me. High on God’s “To Do” list is the evangelization of the world. His early disciples adopted his priorities and devoted themselves to reaching their world. Christ counted on them, and they delivered. Have we done as well? (Joe Aldrich. Lifestyle Evangelism: Learning to Open Your Life to Those Around You. Portland, OR.: Multnomah Press, pp. 15-16).
It is my contention that what is true of evangelism above is also true of discipleship with particular regard to the succession of developing leaders in the church. There are many ways to go about developing leaders. I would look to share one of the simplest yet incredibly effective ways to make this happen.
If we desire to be effective leaders it’s absolutely essential that we also become effective disciple makers and mentors. I have been helped in the whole idea of succession in leadership by many mentors I have had along the way in my thirty years of ministry in the church. The most beneficial concept I’ve learned will be shared in this chapter from the big idea gleaned from Ron Lee Davis’ wonderful book: Mentoring: The Strategy of the Master (Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 1991). In that book Davis articulates a great strategy for successful succession in leadership based on having a Paul, a Timothy, and a Barnabas in your life. Unfortunately, this book is no longer in print, and many people have never heard about this great idea. In this chapter I will share how you can benefit from the idea of having a Paul in your life – someone more spiritually mature than you in a particular skill or character issue; a Timothy – someone you are investing in – to develop particular strengths in character and skill; and a Barnabas – a colleague that is committed to your success as you seek to invest your life in others.
Mentoring and Discipleship Defined
I once led a Bible study with about twenty men present on a weekly basis. I can remember one night we had over thirty men show up and the topic was on discipleship and mentoring. Most of the men were non-believers or new believers and they all shared they had never been mentored or discipled and wanted to know what the difference was between the two of them. On a whim I asked these men, “how many of you had a father that was a follower of Christ that you would want to emulate in your own life?” To my total shock only one man in over thirty had a dad who was even a believer! I realized right then and there that I needed to get super serious about discipleship and mentoring in my church. I had taken for granted the modeling that I had received from a wonderful Christian dad and presumed that most men in my church had the same. Boy was I wrong!
I have read a lot of books on “mentoring” and “discipleship” in my life. Paul Stanley and J.R. Clinton in their book Connecting define mentoring as “a relational experience in which one person empowers another by sharing God-given resources.” They define discipling as “a relational process in which a more experienced follower of Christ shares with a newer believer the commitment, understanding, and basic skills necessary to know and obey Jesus as Lord” (J. Robert Clinton and Paul D. Stanley. Connecting: The Mentoring Relationships You Need To Succeed In Life. Colorado Springs, NavPress, 1992).
Ted Engstrom in his book The Fine Art of Mentoring brings discipleship and mentoring together in this way, “A discipler is one who helps an understudy (1) give up his own will for the will of God the Father, (2) live daily a life of spiritual sacrifice for the glory of Christ, and (3) strive to be consistently obedient to the commands of his Master. A mentor, on the other hand, provides modeling, close supervision on special projects, individualized help in many areas—discipline, encouragement, correction, confrontation, and a calling to accountability” (Ted Engstrom. The Fine Art of Mentoring. Brentwood, TN.: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1989, p. 17).
There are many other good definitions in my files on discipleship and mentoring. Sometimes the definitions are almost identical. Usually the definitions of discipleship focus on knowledge of the Scriptures, whereas mentoring focuses on the “how to” or “hands on” application of the Scriptures and various skills and character development. Ron Lee Davis states simply, “mentoring is a process of opening our lives to others, of sharing our lives with others; a process of living for the next generation” (Ron Lee Davis. Mentoring, p.16).
The Search for a New Definition
In my opinion Jesus discipled and mentored the disciples. The word “mentor” is not found in the Bible, but the concept is in all sixty-six books. If ever someone “opened,” “shared,” and “lived” his life for others – Jesus did. If ever someone taught people to love and obey God, and serve others – Jesus did. A word I have made up over the years to help people get the bridge between discipleship and mentoring is “investoring.” The word investoring combines the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and applicational elements of discipleship and mentoring. Investoring is the process of investing in someone’s eternal future by storing up in them the knowledge, skills, character and obedience of Christ as revealed in the Scriptures to the glory of God. Thus investoring combines all the elements of discipleship and mentoring – the intellect, the heart, and the hands for the sake of Christ’s glory. It involves a conscious and intentional commitment into someone’s life where you are storing Christ in him or her.
Investoring is a Community Project
You may say, “But I’m not Jesus!” And you are 100% correct. That’s why we need a plurality of leaders and disciples working together to help one another conform to the image of Christ. Paul told the Corinthian church, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, ESV). One of the dangers of being a leader is that you think everyone needs to think like you, be like you, and act like you. It’s no wonder our churches are so dysfunctional. As leaders we need to do all we can to be, look, and act like Christ, but we also need to realize that we need the whole body of Christ to participate if we are going to be effective in investoring for the sake of Christ. It’s no wonder that the Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church to keep on practicing and pursuing the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14). It takes a community of personalities, experiences, skills, and character to make healthy multiplying disciples of Christ.
The Trinity is a community in unity. Leadership in the Old Testament and New Testament has involved Prophets, Priests, and Kings, Elders, and Deacons in community and unity. If we take the great commission seriously then it’s important that we think intentionally and strategically about investoring and sucessionism in our ministries.
No Plan B
Investoring should take into consideration reaching the lost, building them up in the faith, and unleashing them for a life long ministry of investoring. We will draw some important principles from the following parable by Win Arn:
Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves fishermen. And lo, there were many fish in the waters all around. In fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish. And the fish were hungry. Week after week, month after month, and year after year these, who called themselves fishermen, met in meetings and talked about their call to go about fishing. Continually they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. They sponsored costly nationwide and worldwide congresses to discuss fishing and to promote fishing and hear about all the ways of fishing, such as the new fishing equipment, fish calls, and whether any new bait was discovered. These fishermen built large, beautiful buildings called “Fishing Headquarters.” The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish. One thing they didn’t do, however; they didn’t fish. All the fishermen seemed to agree that what is needed is a board which could challenge fishermen to be faithful in fishing. The board was formed by those who had the great vision and courage to speak about fishing, to define fishing, and to promote the idea of fishing in far-away streams and lakes where many other fish of different colors lived. Large, elaborate, and expensive training centers were built whose purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology. But the teachers did not fish. They only taught fishing. Some spent much study and travel to learn the history of fishing and to see far-away places where the founding fathers did great fishing in the centuries past. They lauded the faithful fishermen of years before who handed down the idea of fishing. Many who felt the call to be fishermen responded. They were commissioned and sent to fish. And they went off to foreign lands . . . to teach fishing. Now it’s true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish every day. They received the ridicule of some who made fun of their fishermen’s clubs. They anguished over those who were not committed enough to attend the weekly meetings to talk about fishing. After all, were they not following the Master who said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”? Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don’t catch fish were really not fishermen, no matter how much they claimed to be. Yet it did sound correct. Is a person a fisherman if year after year he/ she never catches a fish? Is one following if he/ she isn’t fishing? (Win Arn, The Pastor’s Church Growth Handbook, vol. 1, Monrovia, California: Church Growth, Inc., 1979, pp. 151-154).
Win Arn is addressing the church’s obsession with talking about evangelism, but doing precious little actual evangelism. I think it’s just as bad in the arena of making multiplying disciples and leaders in the church. We have a lot of programs, meetings, and training sessions, but we actually do very little relational investoring. We need to answers Arn’s question about investoring. “Are we fishing?” “Are we catching any fish?” And may I add, “What are we doing with the fish once we catch them?” How are we really doing at making disciples and raising up, training, and unleashing leaders in the church?
Simple Steps Toward Investoring
Every pastor I know is extremely busy. However, we need to ask the question, “Am I making disciples?” “Am I doing anything that resembles what Jesus did two thousand years ago with his twelve disciples?” Yes, you are preparing sermons. Yes, you are counseling. Yes, you are doing weddings and funerals. But the kicker is “Am I making multiplying disciples?” If you were to die today what would happen to your leadership team? What would happen to your church? Many pastors are very skilled, gifted, and have amassed a large following. However, is this following made up of invested in, stored into, Christ-like leaders? I think it’s of crucial importance that we answer this question with a resounding “YES!” However, you will not be able to answer “Yes” without an intentional plan for successional investoring.
The good news is that every pastor has the three things you need for successful investoring: time, a calendar, and the ability to make your own schedule. As a pastoral life coach one of the main things I help people with is fulfill their vision by scheduling the steps needed to achieve your vision. Here is an example. Many pastors say to me, “I don’t have any non-Christian friends, so how am I supposed to reach non-Christians for Christ?” I then ask them, “When do you intentionally get together with non-believers?” They always say, “What?” And I say when’s the last time you invited a neighbor over for a barbeque or to watch a football game, or to play tennis? In other words what bridges can you build with people in your sphere of influence for the sake of investoring?
I was speaking at a conference for a young church planting team in Argentina about this concept of investoring with the lost and a thirty-year-old businessman came up to me afterwards as if I had just discovered plutonium or something. He said, “You mean I can invite my co-workers on a fishing trip and build a friendship with them, and share my faith with them over time?” “Yes! Absolutely!” This man has since that time led several of his friends to Christ – some of which are now, like him, leaders in the church.
As pastors we expect to be equippers of the saints to do the work of the ministry right? What about Paul’s admonition to Timothy, “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). You may say, well I preach the gospel every week – that’s my work in evangelism.” But don’t forget the word “always” in the passage. Evangelism shouldn’t just take place on Sunday’s but “always.”
This is where our schedule comes in. I coach leaders to use their calendars to schedule their investoring. I think the most important thing we need to schedule is our time with God first. Right now as I write these words it’s August. So one of the first things I do with pastors is help them schedule blocks of time with God. Some of those times are one-hour blocks and some two-hour blocks of time – for prayer and devotional time with God. Next to schedule blocks of time with your spouse – dates, prayer time, study time, discussion time, financial discussion and so forth. Then schedule blocks of time for family and individual dates with your kids – sporting events, dates, discipleship, and various intentional meetings for investoring. Lastly, to schedule times with unbelievers – tennis, golf, barbeques and the like. We need to schedule investoring times with men that are investoring in us (Paul’s); encouraging us (Barnabas’); and men we are investoring in (Timothy’s).
The Power of a Paul in Your Life: Investoring Relationship #1
Timothy had a spiritual Father – the Apostle Paul. For me my physical father was also my spiritual father. My dad is ninety years old as I write this, and yet there is no one who has been a greater influence on my spiritual life. He taught me primarily by his actions not by his words. I never woke up without him reading the Bible on his lap in the morning. He instilled in me a love for the Scriptures because he lived them out in real life. My dad was an international businessman and as a result we traveled a lot. There was never a Sunday where we missed church. He loved to hear the word preached and to spend time in worship. He taught me to tithe, study the word, be involved in the church, and have Christo-centric lenses with which to filter all of reality – all through his modeling of these things.
It’s important to have many Paul’s. My dad is a tremendous example to me, but he’s not perfect – he has strengths to imitate and weaknesses to avoid. It’s important as pastors that we recognize this in our heroes. I have a Paul who helps me with finances. We have been friends for many years and I have learned a ton about giving, saving, and investing from my “financial Paul.” I have another Paul who helps me with my attitude. I can always count on this Paul to help me with my thinking when I see the glass half empty rather than half full. He has the ability to steer my thoughts heavenward when they are going wayward!
I’ve approached good preachers to help me with my preaching; others to help me with leadership skills; and still others to help me with counseling, conflict management, and various helps with growth in character and skill development. The main thing to remember is that you constantly schedule times with your Paul’s to grow in Christ-like character and skill.
Here are some specific examples I’ve had with Paul’s over the years. One year I was struggling with creativity in preaching. I had been preaching topically for several years and this well-known preacher was an expositional preacher. I called him and invited him out for coffee and he graciously met with me over a period of several months to teach me how to put together expositional sermons. It was the highlight of my week to meet with this excellent expositor of the Word and learn how to become an expository preacher. He would critique my previous weeks sermon; give me ideas of how to have a stronger introduction, big idea, main points, application, and conclusion. As a result I became a much better Bible student, and preacher. The many ways this “Paul” helped me with my preaching were and are incalculable. I learned how to put together an outline, develop a manuscript, and preach without notes from this individual. He radically changed the way I think, prepare, and preach sermons for the glory of God.
Another year I focused on “joy” in my life as a key element missing in manifesting the fruit of the Spirit. I read books on joy, but found a wise older man to meet with every other week for coffee who was known for his joy. I asked him about his habits, thought process when difficulties come, and many other issues related to joy. He’s since gone home to be with the Lord and I still struggle with joy in my life, but I often reflect on what this man taught me about joy, and just thinking about him – brings joy into my life – because he so reflected the joy of Christ in his own.
A Paul can be a life-long mentor for you, or a short-term relationship. The key is that you are proactive in finding and pursuing relationships with Paul’s. The steps I’ve taken in pursuing Paul’s are these: (1) Ask leaders around me what my blind spots are or areas where I could use some growth (I’ve been told in the past I needed more skill in communication – thus the preaching – and needed to smile more – thus the pursuit of joy); (2) Set a time frame for the particular skill or character development. For example, I spent three months learning how to preach expostionally, and one year learning how to become more joyful. This doesn’t mean I don’t still work on becoming a better preacher or becoming more joyful. As a matter of fact – I’m currently looking for mentors in both of these areas again! (3) Commit to your relationship with your Paul. Write out some goals and a plan that you will both agree to – time; place; boundaries; expectations; and some goals. (4) Don’t break off the relationship – but give a time of closure to the process. Most people that you want to be a “Paul” in your life need to invest in others as well. Thank them for their time and release them and encourage them to invest in other “Timothy’s.” (5) Never stop praying for, looking for, and asking for people to invest in you.
I like to have a new Paul in my life each year. I usually have a Paul for some aspect of my character (e.g. – love, patience, joy), and another in a particular skill area (finances, parenting, preaching). The sky is the limit in your growth with a Paul in your life.
Here is what I look for in a Paul. I primarily look for someone who is Christ-like. I’m looking for an area in my own life where I don’t look like Jesus, but for someone I know who does look like Jesus in a particular area of character or skill. I also want someone that believes in me and will commit to me. Therefore, if they meet these criteria I set up a time to meet with them, and give them a head’s up about why I’m meeting with them. For example, when I met with the expository preacher I told him that I admired his preaching and asked if he would be willing to meet with me over a period of three months to show me how he puts together a sermon. I was going through the book of Philippians at the time, so he worked with me on outlining the book, asking questions of the text, and coming up with illustrations and applications from each pericope.
Do you have someone with excellent skills that can help you to improve in areas where you are weak? Do you have someone who is spiritually mature and models biblical values in your life? Do you have someone who is a Christ-like model worth emulating? Do you have someone to go to for wise counsel and advise? Do you have a Paul who is pouring his life into you as the Apostle did with Timothy? Be proactive – prioritize and pursue your Paul now.
I would also urge you to be a Paul for others. What skills and character traits can you help another Timothy with? Are you being proactive with intentionally developing character traits and skills in the lives of others around you? There is an old Chinese Proverb that says, “If you are planting for a year, plant grain. If you are planting for a decade, plant trees. If you are planting for a century, plant people.” You have areas of strength that will be greatly strengthened when you “investorize” them in others for the glory of God.
The Presence of a Barnabas in Your Life: Investoring Relationship #2
Do you have someone in your life that encourages you regularly? Do you have someone who supports you, believes in you, and guides you? Chuck Swindoll once stated, “A person is never more like Christ than when full of compassion for those who are down, needy, discouraged, or forgotten.”
Enter Barnabas – “the son of encouragement.” Who wouldn’t want to have a Barnabas in their life? He was generous with his finances (Acts 4:32-37); reached out to Paul when everyone else was skeptical about him (Acts 9:26-31 & 11:25-30); spent time with Mark when he had failed (Acts 15:36-39). If it where not for Barnabas we would not have Paul’s epistles not Mark’s gospel. Neither would we have the rapid spread of the gospel as recorded in the Book of Acts. The fact of the matter is nothing empowers good leadership like encouragement.
People like Barnabas are hard to find. The fact of the matter is – they usually find you. Honestly, for every 100 Jezebels and Judas’ out there, you will find a Barnabas. My only advise on finding a Barnabas is to do your best to be a Barnabas. Someone once told me, “Be kind to everyone, because everyone is facing some kind of battle.”
Most the people in my life that have been a Barnabas for me have gone to be with the Lord. I have a few left, but not many. I simply would say to treasure the Barnabas’ in your life. Be around them as much as possible. Also be like Barnabas as much as you possibly can. There were essentially four keys to Barnabas’ life: (1) He was a man of integrity (Acts 11:24); (2) He was full of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17, 26); (3) He was full of faith; and (4) he was teachable (Acts 13:43, 50). Constantly be a Barnabas to others and pray that God will bring you a Barnabas by His grace.
Just like your time with God, your spouse, your kids, and your Paul. If you have a Barnabas schedule time with your Barnabas at least once a month. In seasons of dryness schedule more times as needed. Also, please schedule times to be a Barnabas for others – caregivers, people with cancer, and those who are depressed and suffering – they need to be encouraged in Christ desperately.
The Potential of a Timothy in Your Life: Investoring Relationship #3
Do you have someone you’re investoring in? Are you investing in the spiritual life of your children? What about those who don’t know Jesus or are young in the faith? Are you teaching anyone how to study their Bibles or how to share their faith? There are so many Timothy’s and so little time!
Timothy’s are the easiest to find. Paul’s are harder to come by, and Barnabas’ are fewer and far between. However, you can definitely be a Paul to a Timothy right now. There is an area in your character as well as a skill that you can teach and model for someone else. I have found that men in particular need help in how to show love to their wives (desperately); raise their children (ultra-desperately); and in sharing their faith with neighbors and co-workers (ultra-ultra-desperately).
Based on our key verse on investoring in 2 Timothy 2:1-2, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others.” – We see in a nutshell that investoring involves five essential aspects:
(1) It’s relational. The “you” in verse one refers to Timothy and the “my” refers to the Apostle Paul. People learn how to better love and follow Jesus in the context of a focused and purposeful friendship. Timothy learned about life and ministry as he spent time observing and learning from Paul – mediated through his unique personality, gifting, and style.
(2) It’s grounded in Theology. The Apostle Paul imparted what he had received “in the presence of many witnesses” (marturon “martyrs”). These were men and women that had died for their beliefs and convictions based on the Scriptures. In the first century a martyr denoted a public witness to the truth. The meaning of the word martyr into its present meaning is evidence that Christian truth telling could be terminally costly. In the Greek the word “entrust” means making a secure run to the bank to deposit a treasure. These “treasures” for the martyrs were not based on anything material, but based on the great doctrinal truths that make up the gospel: Christ’s atonement for sin, His ascension, His resurrection, and soon return.
(3) It’s intentional. All of us are involved in many un-intentional relationships – encounters with the mailman; the checker at the market; and so forth. However, in the case of Paul and Timothy we see a relationship that was established for a specific purpose – The succession of church leadership. Intentional relationships usually don’t happen unintentionally or spontaneously. Therefore, it’s important that we work hard at being creative and specific with our intentions in pursuing Paul’s and finding Timothy’s to invest in. Being a Barnabas can be spontaneous but will be manifested more when we are intentional in seeking to encourage others.
(4) It’s transformational. The people who have made the biggest impact on my life have been up close and personal. We can learn much from audio, video, and books, but there is absolutely no substitute for real life modeling in the midst of the ups and downs of life.
(5) It’s reproducible. Paul specifies that his goal with Timothy is that he “will be able to teach others.” The goal is always multiplication. We are not to be stagnant pools of knowledge, but rivers with many outlets. We want to refresh and renew and revive the leaders around us.
The Bottom Line
Leadership in the Bible is all about succession. God never meant to have great leaders so that we simply remember or follow great leaders. He wants us to be great leaders so that we can point others to and emulate our Great Leader. Ultimately Jesus established the Church as the mission agency for unleashing the gospel through disciple making around the world. There is no plan “B.” God’s plan “A” is that His disciples would make disciples who would make disciples until He returns. Having and being a Paul, Timothy, and Barnabas isn’t the only way to make disciples. It’s a way. It’s a way I highly recommend. It’s intentional, purposeful and strategic. It’s hard work, but well worth the effort. It’s a time-tested and trusted model that we see woven all through the Bible – “Moses mentored Joshua. Naomi mentored her daughter-in-law, Ruth. Ezra mentored Nehemiah. Elijah mentored Elisha. Elizabeth mentored her cousin Mary. Barnabas mentored Paul and John Mark. Paul mentored his spiritual son Timothy. Paul also mentored Priscilla and Aquilla, who in turn mentored Apollos” (Davis, p. 21). The question that remains for us to answer is who will you be “investoring” in for the sake of Christ and the expansion of His Church for His glory until He returns?
Qualities and Qualifications of a Mentor by Ron Lee Davis
In 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, the apostle Paul listed the qualities and qualifications for people who would occupy positions of leadership and influence in the church. I believe these lists are just as applicable to the role of mentor as to other positions of influence, such as pastor or elder. Here is my own paraphrase of Paul’s qualifications for a biblical mentor:
(1) A mentor must be well-established in the Christian faith, not a recent convert.
(2) A mentor must be a person of good reputation and above reproach.
(3) A mentor must be faithful to his or her spouse.
(4) A mentor must be level-headed and self-controlled, not controlled by bad habits or addictions.
(5) A mentor must be honest and genuine.
(6) A mentor must love what is good, upright, and holy.
(7) A mentor must be biblically literate, daily studying and holding firmly the truths of Scripture.
(8) A mentor must be able to teach others.
(9) A mentor must be hospitable, ready to welcome both friends and strangers.
(10) A mentor must have a gentle and gracious spirit, not given to violent outbursts or anger, not quarrelsome.
(11) A mentor must not be a lover of money and material possessions.
(12) A mentor must be a mentor at home first; that is, a mentor must prove that he or she can nurture, love, teach, train, and counsel his or her own children before attempting to be an example to others.
- Ron Lee Davis. Mentoring: The Strategy of the Master. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 1991, pp. 211-212.