By Chuck Wood
We think that when a disciple sees you, the disciple-maker, as their spiritual leader, you’ve hit the discipleship bullseye.
But there’s a lot that should take place before someone sees you as their spiritual leader! Let’s take a look at the principles in Hebrews.
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith…Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13.7,17)
There are Seven Key Principles to Consider
1. Leaders teach the Word of God. Are you teaching the Word? Spiritual leaders are using everything but the Word these days. There are a lot of good books out there. But let the Bible be your standard.
2. Leaders apply the Word of God. We don’t just preach it, we live it out in front of the disciples. I’m sorry, but I’m not putting my soul in your hands because you preach great sermons (Or write a 500-word blog).
3. Leaders live a life worth imitating. Am I living a “do as I do” life or a “do as I say” life? Remember you can’t follow what you can’t see. Leaders can expect to be followed when they have met the first three requirements. Many leaders expect disciples to follow them when they haven’t paid the price. Pay the price.
4. Leadership is serious business. As one of my Bible college profs used to say; “A brain surgeon messes with a man’s brain. That’s nothing compared to messing with a man’s soul.”
5. Leadership should be a joy for both the disciple and the disciple-maker. (3 John 1:4)
6. Leadership is a huge gift and advantage! If you have had a mentor, thank them today. If not, stand in the gap and be a mentor to someone else.
Here’s what influence looks like on the bullseye. The outermost ring would represent a person who sees you as a good person. The second, they see you as a good Christian. The third would represent someone who sees as a spiritual leader. And the bullseye would be a person who sees you as theirspiritual leader. You are their Paul and they are your Timothy.
One note of caution before we leave the topic of influence. There is a big difference between influence and manipulation or control. (Mark 10.45, 1 Peter 5:2, Philemon 8-9) I say that the easiest form of leadership is leading people where they want to go. (Amos 3.3) If you have to force a person to follow you, stop and go find someone who’s eager to join you in the journey. That’s what Jesus did.
CALL TO ACTION:
If you have a mentor, thank them. Write down the names of the people that would consider you a spiritual leader. Narrow the list to 1, 2, or 3. Spend focused time together studying Heb 13.7, 17.
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