I have always been amazed by the intentionality of Jesus’ investment in people during his ministry years here on this earth. His objective was “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19: 10) of which there were obviously many. And he spent time with the ‘many’ on notable occasions like the miracle feeding of the 5,000 and other times when crowds would follow him through town or sit and listen to his teaching. Yet throughout his ministry he gave priority time to those who fit the category of ‘disciples and followers’. Reading Luke 9 and 10, you get a microcosm of the sets of people with whom Jesus spent priority, intentional time from the Seventy-Two to the Twelve to the Three (Peter, James and John) as well as at the home of friends Mary and Martha.
When I read these chapters, I am reminded that Jesus was always focused on training, developing and stretching those who would carry on the ministry of the Kingdom long after he departed this earth. I’m convinced he was modeling the kind of behavior that he expected all of his leaders-in-training to emulate. Discern who is ready to follow, spend time with them, teach them, stretch them beyond their comfort zone, challenge them with a big vision of the future and of course, lead by example.
While none of us will ever be as good at this as Jesus was, we are all called to be intentional about discerning and developing those under our care who have potential for Kingdom leadership. Intentionality in this arena takes prayer, discernment, time prioritization and disciplined follow through.
One of the things we focus on in Master’s Group is the identification of Key Relationships. Who are the most important people in whom you as a leader should invest time and energy? Who really wants to follow Jesus as a committed disciple? Who has potential for godly leadership?
After these key relationships are identified, Master’s Group participants develop clarity about specific ways to get to know those key people and what we might do to develop them. How much do you know about their families? What is their faith story? What are their spiritual gifts? What personality traits do they exhibit? How do they need to be challenged to take a next step?
Having thought through these questions, we take time in Master’s Group to identify specific goals for each key relationship. If developing these people into the leaders God wants them to be is a significant part of our jobs (and we believe it is!), then we should have clear objectives and plans for how we’ll go about the task with each individual.
On occasion I ponder what questions Jesus might ask local church leaders when they arrive in Heaven. (I’m pretty sure leaders will be asked a specific set of questions!) My imagined list ALWAYS includes something like: “How did you do with the people I gave you to mold into leaders for my Kingdom?” Our desire is that every Master’s Group participant will be prepared with a really good response to that question!