Leaders Mentor Others

During His ministry, Jesus modeled His life the way He wanted us to live. He taught people at every opportunity in both practical and spiritual ways. He never gave up on His mission—even after His team failed and ran away. He taught His disciples with Scripture and prayer and required them to do the same with the people they met.

These are Biblical examples of leadership, and they are also the elements of mentoring. Mentoring is the most important aspect of excellent leadership—it transforms others, and it transforms you. This post details why a leader should prayerfully help develop others into people who will lead.

“Mentoring Like Jesus” by Regi Campbell

I’m going to give it everything I have to show you what mentoring really is. And more importantly, the approach I’ve stumbled into happens to be the approach Jesus used as he mentored his disciples. Think about what Jesus did.

He was purposeful. It’s all about the Father and Kingdom building. Jesus was on a mission and mentoring was the key strategy to fulfill His mission.

He was selfless. Jesus mentored out of obedience to the Father. He got nothing out of it personally. He simply responded to God’s call on His life and did what the Father led Him to do.

He started in a group context, not one on one. Jesus knew the value of interaction of group members with each other. The group became a community, inextricable from each other.

Jesus also accepted and even promoted the “group within the group” which invariably develops. He had favorites, and He didn’t hide it or apologize for it. Yes, there was powerful one-on-one interaction. But it started in the context of the group.

Jesus hand-picked His mentees after prayer. The group was made up of lay people, not “church people”… diverse… anything but a holy huddle.

Jesus mentored for a short, intensive period of time. Jesus’ mentoring program began and ended. It was not a lifetime engagement. There was a clear graduation day when His mentees were commissioned and launched.

Scripture was at the core. Jesus and His mentees knew the Scriptures by heart. The Word guided their decision making. Jesus helped His guys understand and apply God’s word.

Prayer was huge; public and private. Jesus modeled a prayerful life; He taught the disciples how to pray, prayed with them and for them.

Jesus modeled his faith in a transparent way. Jesus lived out His life in front of His mentees. They became like family to Him. They saw how He applied His faith, how He struggled, how He handled stress, and how He handled dying.

Jesus taught along the way of life. He was practical, yet spiritual. Jesus helped His guys with practical situations….everything from taxes to work place issues; from goal setting to family relations. He was far more practical than hypothetical. They discussed the Law for sure, but Jesus taught from His knowledge and experience.

There was a mutual commitment. Jesus never gave up on them, even when they failed and ran away. Ultimately, they never gave up on Jesus, giving their lives, not for His memory or His teachings, but for His Kingdom.

Jesus required multiplication. His was a “pay it forward” model that changed the world. It produced evangelists and disciple makers. Multiplication was a part of what everyone signed up for from the beginning. No one was excluded from the task of investing in others as Jesus had invested in them.

These are the elements of mentoring… mentoring like Jesus did it… radical mentoring!

If you do what Jesus did, you’ll replace your occasional, sporadic, but well-intentioned efforts with a confident, intentional, and fruitful approach that will transform lives. In fact, it just might transform yours in the process.

Jesus, You mentored the disciples so they could lead the early church. Show me who to mentor and how to help them be a leader who glorifies You.

Who am I choosing to mentor and why?

Be intentional about who you mentor because you are cultivating their skills and affecting their future.

Your leadership skills affect not only you, but also your team and the outcomes of your projects. While a good leader may make leadership look easy, you can probably see that it takes deliberate action to effectively lead and develop the people on your teams. Jesus is the best example of a leader who is compassionate and selfless while being strong and tough. He communicated well, met the needs of the people around Him, and challenged His followers to be better people. If you prayerfully model Jesus’ leadership—the leadership that created the Christian church in just three years of ministry—you will be able to build growing teams that respect you, work hard for you, and can influence the world for Jesus.

The content for this post was adapted from: “Mentoring Like Jesus” by Regi Campbell

[ Content is from a YouVersion devotional on leadership ]

Player or Coach?

I read and recommend Jim Putman’s book called, “Church is a Team Sport.” As followers of Jesus, we know that the community of faith is important but we often forget that the goal of a team is to win. What is winning in the church, it is not making converts, it is actually making disciples who in turn make other disciples. Here are a few quotes from the book…

PLAYER OR COACH? When I was a player, I had a player’s mind-set. I wanted to compete at the highest level, so I concentrated on acquiring and honing the skills and stamina that I would need to win on the mat or field. My focus was on my position, and I hoped everyone else would carry their own weight. If each part of the team did their job, we would win. When I became a coach, my job was no longer about what position I was going to play; I was no longer going to play a position. My job was to develop people so that they could play their positions or wrestle their weights. It was no longer about what I would do on the mat or field. It was about what I could train the athletes to do in their moment of decision.

There is nothing worse than having a player in a coach’s position.

WHAT IS A COACH? Just as a coach can hurt the team by not understanding his role, a pastor can hurt the church for the same reason. God has given His coaches a job description in Ephesians 4:11–13.

This passage tells us that the job of a pastor has two parts. First, they are to prepare or equip God’s players to play, or in biblical terminology, to serve one another and reach out to the world. Secondly, pastors are to lead their people to become unified. No team, no matter how great the players, can win if they are not unified. The team must have the same goal, the same language; they must have a common understanding of the part they play; and they must work together to achieve that goal.

The Scriptures tell us that we are to be part of a team that works together to achieve God’s purposes. We don’t go to church; we are the church. In a church you are invited to volunteer; on a team you are expected to play a part.

However, a good coach develops a way to turn those he gathers and leads into great players. He creates a way to guide them into their position on the team. Every person is a player. Success is creating a team that can work together. Success is finding and developing players who will later become coaches themselves.

When I look at churches filled with people who have come to watch the show and I don’t see any intentional attempt to move people into the discipleship process, it saddens me. A congregation that is informed about the game is not the same as a congregation that is committed to learning how to play the game.

What People Will Remember

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

-Maya Angelou (Author and Poet)

As children we remember most those individuals that made us feel special. Was it a grandmother, a grandfather, a friend, a Sunday School teacher or a neighbor? What was it that they said or did that drew you like a magnet to them? Their words and actions have probably faded away, but you still remember them. Why?

It was the fact that they made you feel important, valued and worth something. Their love was unquestionable and their loyalty was forever.

As an adult, are you willing to be there for others in a way that they will choose to remember how you made them feel? Could you begin today to be that magnet of caring for others?

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Being Thankful for Our Mentors

Chapter one of First Thessalonians introduced us to Paul the evangelist. Chapter two introduces us to Paul the pastor. It explains how the apostle cared for new believers in the churches that he started. Paul considered “the care of all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28) a greater burden than all the sufferings and difficulties he experienced in his ministry (2 Corinthians 11:2).

Just as God uses people to bring the Gospel to the lost, so He uses people to nurture new believers and help lead them to maturity. The church at Thessalonica was born through the faithful preaching of Paul and his helpers, and the church was nurtured through the faithful pastoring that Paul and his friends gave to the infant church. This helped them stand strong in tile midst of persecution.

In these verses, Paul reminded them of the kind of ministry he had as he taught and cared for the young church. Three pictures of his ministry emerge.

The Faithful Steward (1 Thessalonians 2:1-6) Paul had been “put in trust with tile Gospel” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). It was not a message that he made up or that he received from men (Galatians 1:11-12). Paul looked on himself as a steward of God’s message.

A steward owns nothing, but possesses and uses everything that belongs to his master. Joseph was a steward in the household of Potiphar (Genesis 39:1-6). He managed his master’s affairs and used all his master’s goods to promote his master’s welfare. Every steward one day must give an account of his stewardship (Luke 16:1-2). If he is found unfaithful, he will suffer.

The message of the Gospel is a treasure God has entrusted to us. We must not bury it, we must invest it so it will multiply and produce “spiritual dividends” to God’s glory. Some Christians think that the church’s only responsibility is to protect the Gospel from those who would change it (Galatians 1:6-9). But we also must share the Gospel; otherwise, we are protecting it in vain.

Faithfulness is the most important quality a steward possesses (1 Corinthians 4:1-2). He may not be popular in the eyes of men; but he dare not be unfaithful in the eyes of God. “Not as pleasing men, but God who tries [tests] our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). The Christian who “plays to the grandstands” will lose God’s approval. When we see the characteristics of Paul’s ministry as a steward, we understand what faithfulness means.

The manner of his ministry (1 Thessalonians 2:1-2).

Paul and Silas had been beaten and humiliated at Philippi; yet they came to Thessalonica and preached. Most of us would have taken a vacation or found an excuse not to minister. Paul was courageous-he was not a quitter. He had a “holy boldness” that came out of his dedication to God. Like the other Apostles before him, Paul boldly proclaimed the Good News (Acts 4:13, 29. 31).

His preaching was “with much contention.” This is an athletic term that means “a contest, a struggle.” The Greek world was familiar with athletic contests, and Paul often used this idea to illustrate spiritual truths (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:13-14; 2 Timothy 4:7). He used this same word in Philippians 1:30 where he pictured the Christian life as an athletic contest that demanded dedication and energy. It had not been easy to start a church in Philippi, and it was not easy to start one in Thessalonica.

The message of his ministry (1 Thessalonians 2:3a).

“For the appeal we make does not spring from error” (NIV). Here he assured them that his message was true. Six times in this letter he mentioned the Gospel. This message of Christ’s death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:16) is a true message and is the only true Gospel (Galatians 1:6-12). Paul received this Gospel from God, not from man. It is the only Good News that saves the lost.

The motive of his ministry (1 Thessalonians 2:3).

He was not guilty of “uncleanness,” for his motives were pure. It is possible to preach the right message with the wrong motives (Philippians 1:14-19). Unfortunately, some people in Paul’s day used religion as a means for making money. Paul did not use the Gospel as “a cloak to cover his covetousness” (1 Thessalonians 2:5). He was open and honest in all his dealings, and he even worked at a trade to earn his own support (see 2 Thessalonians 3:8-10).

The method of his ministry (1 Thessalonians 2:3-6).

Paul did not use guile or trickery to win converts. The word translated “guile” carries the idea of “baiting a hook.” In other words, Paul did not trap people into being saved, the way a clever salesman traps people into buying his product. Witnessing and “Christian salesmanship” are different. Salvation does not lie at the end of a clever argument or a subtle presentation. It is the result of God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:5).

Paul hated flattery (1 Thessalonians 2:5). David also hated it, “They speak vanity everyone with his neighbor; with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak” (Psalm 12:2). I once read that a flatterer is a person who manipulates rather than communicates. A flatterer can use either truth or lies to achieve his unholy purpose, which is to control your decisions for his own profit.

Some people flatter themselves. “For he flatters himself in his own eyes” (Psalm 36:2 RSV). This was the sin of Haman, that evil man in the Book of Esther. He was so interested in flattering himself that he even plotted to slaughter all the Jews to achieve that goal.

Some people try to flatter God. “Nevertheless they [Israel] did flatter Him [God] with their mouth, and they lied unto Him with their tongues” (Psalm 78:36). Flattery is another form of lying. It means saying one thing to God with our lips while our hearts are far from Him (Mark 7:6).

The Loving Mother (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8) The emphasis of the steward is faithfulness; the emphasis of the mother is gentleness. As an apostle, Paul was a man of authority; but he always used his authority in love. The babes in Christ sensed his tender loving care as he nurtured them. He was indeed like a loving mother who cared for her children.

It takes time and energy to care for children. Paul did not turn his converts over to baby-sitters: he made sacrifices and cared for them himself. He did not tell them to “read a book” as a substitute for his own personal ministry (though good Christian literature can help young believers to grow).

Paul had patience with the new Christians. Children do not grow up instantly. They all experience growing pains and encounter problems as they mature. Paul’s love for them made him patient, because love suffers long, and is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4).

Paul also nourished them. First Thessalonians 2:7 can read, “even as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.” What is the lesson here? A nursing mother imparts her own life to the child. This is exactly what Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 2:8. You cannot be a nursing mother and turn your baby over to someone else. That baby must be in you arms, next to your heart.

The nursing mother eats the food and transforms it into milk for the baby. The mature Christian feeds on the Word of God and then shares its nourishment with the younger believers so they can grow (1 Peter 2:1-3). A nursing child can become ill through a reaction to something the mother has eaten. The Christian who is feeding others must be careful not to feed on the wrong things himself.

A mother also protects her child. It was this fact that enabled King Solomon to discover which woman was the real mother of the living child (1 Kings 3:16-28). Paul was willing to give not only the Gospel but his own life as well. His love for the Thessalonians was so great he would die for them if necessary.

If we do not nurse the new Christians on the milk of the Word, they can never mature to appreciate the meat of the Word (Hebrews 5:10-14).

The Concerned Father (1 Thessalonians 2:9-12) Paul considered himself a “spiritual father” to the believers at Thessalonica, just as he did toward the saints at Corinth. “For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15, NASB). The Spirit of God used the Word of God in Paul’s ministry, and many people in Thessalonica were born again into the family of God.

But the father not only produces children; he also cares for them. As he defended his own work against false accusations, Paul pointed out three of his duties as the spiritual father to the Thessalonians.

His work (1 Thessalonians 2:9). The father works to support his family. Even though the Christians in Philippi sent financial help (Philippians 4:15-16), Paul still made tents and paid his own way. No one could accuse him of using his ministry for his own profit. Later on, Paul used this fact to shame the lazy Christians in the Thessalonian church (2 Thessalonians 3:6ff).

Paul used the words “labor and travail.” It was not easy to make tents and minister the Word at the same time. No wonder Paul toiled “night and day” (Acts 20:31). He worked because he loved the believers and wanted to help them as much as possible. “For I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children” (2 Corinthians 12:14).

His walk (1 Thessalonians 2:10). Fathers must live so that they are good examples to their children. He could call the Thessalonian believers as witnesses that his life had been exemplary in every way. None of the members of the assembly could accuse Paul of being a poor example. God had witnessed Paul’s life; and Paul was not afraid to call God as witnesses that he had lived a dedicated life, while caring for the church family.

His life was holy. Our word pious is close to it, if you think of piety at its best and not as some fake kind of religion. This same word is applied to the character of God in Revelation 15:4, 16:5.

His life was also righteous. This refers to integrity. uprightness of character. and behavior. This is not the “righteousness of the Law” but the practical righteousness that God works out in our lives as we yield to Him (Philippians 3:4-10).

Paul’s life was also blameless. Literally, this word means “not able to find fault in.” His enemies might accuse him, but no one could level any charge against Paul and prove it. Christians are supposed to be “blameless and harmless” as they live in this world. (Philippians 2:15).

His words (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12). A father must not only support the family by working, and teaching the family by being a good example. He must also take time to speak to the family members. Paul knew the importance of teaching these new believers the truths that would help them grow in the Lord.

Paul dealt with each of the believers personally. “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children” (l Thessalonians 2:11 NIV). As busy as he was, Paul still had time for personal counseling with the members of the church. While it is good for church leaders to address the larger group, spending time with people on a one-to-one basis is also needed. Our Lord was never too busy to speak to individuals, even though He preached to great multitudes. To be sure, this is difficult and demanding work. But it is rewarding work that glorifies God.

Paul encouraged the new believers. Children are easily discouraged, and new Christians need someone to encourage them in the faith. The word exhorting means “to call to one’s side, to encourage.” It does not mean that Paul scolded them. Rather, it means he encouraged them to go on with the Lord.

Paul also comforted them. This word carries the same idea of “encouragement,” with the emphasis on activity. Paul not only made them feel better, but he made them want to do better.

Finally, Paul charged them. This word means that Paul “testified to them” out of his own experience with the Lord. It carries the idea of giving personal witness. Sometimes we go through difficulties so that we may share with new Christians what the Lord has done. God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (1 Corinthians 1:4 NIV).

What was the purpose for this fatherly ministry to the believers? His aim was that his children might “walk worthy of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). Just as a father wants to be proud of his children, so the Lord wants to get glory through the lives of His children. “I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth” (2 John 4 NASB). Paul ministered to them in such a personal way because he was teaching them how to walk.

Every child must learn how to walk. He must have good models to follow. Paul instructs them to walk “worthy of the Lord” (see Colossians 1:10 and Philippians 1:27). We are to walk worthy of the calling we have in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:1). God has called us; we are saved by grace. We are a part of His kingdom and glory. One day we shall enter the eternal kingdom and share His glory. This assurance ought to govern our lives and make us want to please the Lord.

The verb in 1 Thessalonians 2:12 is in the present tense: “who is continually calling you.” God called us to salvation (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14), and He is constantly calling us to a life of holiness and obedience. “But as He which has called you is holy, so be holy in all manner of conversation [behavior]: because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy'” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

This passage gives us a beautiful example of New Testament follow-up. Paul has shown us how to raise the babies. He outlined the method of discipleship. We must be faithful stewards, loving mothers, and concerned fathers.

No wonder the church at Thessalonica prospered in spite of persecution, and shared the Gospel with others for miles around. They had been born right (1 Thessalonians 1) and nurtured right (1 Thessalonians 2). This is a good example for us to follow.

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New Year’s Resolutions

The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time for examining the past and resolving to make improvements in the coming year. Being involved in the ministry full time, I find that my evaluation of the previous year always finds me lacking. There is always more that I could have done, opportunities that I did not take, people to whom I did not serve. My assignment on staff at King’s Grant has three main areas: small groups, assimilation and leadership development. With the worthiest of intentions, I resolve to do this better in 2010:

I will be more of an equipper and less of a doer. Ephesians 4:11-12 says that the purpose of leaders in the church is to equip the people to do the ministry of the church–not for the leaders to be the ministers themselves. So I will seek to spend more time consciously empowering others in ministry. My first chance in 2010 is a meeting on January 3 with my Sunday School Director, Adult Department Director and Outreach Director to go over a proposed strategy for outreach, guest assimilation and member involvement in the church.

I will stop treating Christian service as optional. Jesus called his followers to complete life change, which is total spiritual transformation. In fact, he went out of his way to make sure people understood how much he demanded of them before they became his followers. Jesus made it clear that he expected people to be actively serving him. I like what Paul wrote in Romans 12:1, 2 and Ephesians 2:10. We are created to be different and to do good works. My Bible study beginning on Wednesday January 6 is on the sermon on the mount, which is probably the best “Jesus Manifesto” on what the Master wanted His followers to be and to do. For Christ-followers and church members, giving time to serve in ministry is not optional.

I will be an encourager. In a world full of negative attitudes and criticism, I will demonstrate Christ’s love by celebrating the accomplishments of others. I will give personal, meaningful affirmation. If someone fails to show up, my first reaction won’t be frustration that he or she let me down; it will be concern that something might be wrong. I will take more pleasure from their successes than my own. I will seek ways to publicly praise them. My goal will be to be an example of Barnabas, the one who was called the “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36, 9:27).

I will challenge people to serve with boldness. Rather than fill slots with people, I will boldly invite them to contribute their time, energy and efforts to the most significant cause in the universe. In John 6, Jesus called people to radical commitment and many turned back and no longer followed him. He then turned to the disciples and asked if they too will be leaving. I love Peter’s answer, “To whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). If Jesus’ focus was on the level of commitment people were willing to make, rather than the number of people who followed, then I will not be shy in asking people to give more of themselves.

I will devote resources to developing leaders. Equipping people for ministry is more than just giving encouragement. I will give people constructive feedback. I will pay their way to appropriate training events. I will purchase the tools needed for them to flourish. God has blessed this church financially, and we can find the appropriate seminars and training that people need to be successful in their service.

I will forgive myself for last year. Because I take ministry so seriously, it is easy to pile on guilt for the things I have failed to do or did wrong. But God chose to do this ministry through me, knowing that I’m a broken vessel. I will spend time now consciously determining what I need to learn from my mistakes, and then I will join God in casting them into the Sea of Forgetfulness.

I will remember the one thing. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus reminded Martha that while all her attempts to serve him were good, the one thing most important was developing a growing relationship with Jesus. I will remember that ultimately it is not about my ministry or my church. It is about me and all those around me developing a growing relationship with Jesus. With the Bible in 90 Days Challenge, I hope that I meet with God through the pages of His Word, more than accomplishing a goal of finishing the Bible in three months.

And perhaps I should add one more: I will keep these resolutions longer than the ones about dieting and exercise.

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