If Jesus was your boss at church, how would things change? Obviously, your potluck suppers would look different. Hospital visitation would be a lot more exciting. Board meetings dealing with taking offerings might get a little heated at times. But what would change for you as a leader and pastor? When He sat down with you and reviewed your workweek schedule, would He offer a large scale change? What would Jesus do with your current job description? What would He tell you to do more of, and what would He encourage you to worry about less?
There have been a dozen books written about the leadership style of Jesus. I just want to focus in on one value that He lived out. Jesus knew that developing a select number of future leaders was crucial to the success of the church. That really has not changed in the last 2000 years.
So, whether you’re staff or volunteer, young or old, senior leadership or support staff, developing young leaders is key to the health and growth of the kingdom. What are the things we have to look for in a young, potential leader?
1. Teachable – This one is often discussed, but honestly many of us will fudge on this one the fastest. A young leader may be strong, confident, even deal with some pride (most will). But, behind it all, are they eager to learn? When you give them helpful direction, how do they respond? Look past their words, how often do they put into practice what they learn from others, especially those who are not their direct supervisors?
2. Skilled – Do they actually have the ability to lead? We will often trade this one for availability. We need to dig deeper and look for the gifting of leadership. Jesus’ disciples were a rough bunch to be sure, but He took skills deep in them and nurtured them over time. Simply finding someone who is available will solve your problems and meet your needs today, but leave you in a bigger hole in a short time. Prayerfully find the right people, and invest in them, especially younger leaders.
3. Passionate – Are they hungry to serve God, to make a difference in the kingdom? God lights a passion in those He calls. We can try to fan it a little bit, but we can’t light it. That comes from God. If they are more worried about their kingdom than His, it’s going to be an uphill battle. This digs deeper than just potential, are they already trying to make a difference before you show up? If so, you’ve got a great chance to develop an amazing leader!
As you look around you, who in your span of influence is teachable, skilled, and passionate? Those are the very people God is calling us to disciple, to train, to pass leadership to. It’s how Jesus started this whole thing, and it’s what He would sit in your office and point you towards today. After all, it’s what His boss told Him to do while He was here.