NOTE FROM LUMINEX: This is the sixth entry in an 8-week series on Priorities. Today’s focus is Multiplication. Enjoy!
“Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.” (Exodus 18:24-26).
Multiplying leaders are able to extend their leadership through other people in a unique way that is modeled here in Exodus 18. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law advises him about how to manage the people of Israel as he leads them toward the land of promise. All missional leaders can pay attention to Jethro’s warning that doing everything and leading everything and deciding everything in the work of ministry will lead to the leader’s being worn out. Multiplying leaders extend their ministry through others and Jethro suggested such a multiplication oriented approach to Moses.
Jesus was a multiplying leader who the New Testament tells us extended his ministry through his disciples and continues to extend his ministry influence through his present day followers. “Jesus appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.” (Mark 3:14). He told them that they would “…do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12). Later in the New Testament, Paul describes the effects of multiplying leadership to Timothy when he writes: “And these things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 2:2).
Multiplying disciples, laborers, leaders and even leaders of leaders needs to be a priority for all of us as Christian leaders. But how does this work? How do I make the move to multiplication? How do I get started?
Here are three possible and powerful moves toward multiplication that I have tried and have seen some fruit:
1. Meet with potential leaders one on one or one on two. Don’t start with an agenda but with a relationship and see how God leads. This will not produce instant leaders or fill all the slots you need to fill but it is a starting place for multiplication. You may want to introduce a book on leadership at some point that you can share thoughts and insights about with one another.
2. Have a “prayer only” Elders meeting. One hour a week. No agenda. Just focus on praying for the people under your care. I have seen this become one of the most powerful leadership development practices in my ministry.
3. Get your church involved in planting another church. Start with asking to become a prayer partner with a new church, pray for them in your Sunday morning services. These simple beginning points go a long way in developing a multiplying ministry and multiplying culture as a priority in your congregation.
Note: some of this material was previously published under the title Assessing Missional Leaders by Doug McClintic copyright 2007.
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