Growing leaders from within your organization.
Building a team is hard work. No matter how well a person interviews, you never really know whom you have until you’ve hired them. Usually within eighteen months or so, you begin to realize the kind of person you’ve hired.
Over the years, I’ve added some incredible leaders to the team who grew the ministry and walked before our people as a godly example. And I’ve brought people on the team who caused more harm than good. Both types looked promising in the beginning but turned out to be quite different. I’m now convinced the best way to raise up leaders is to grow them up from within. It stands to reason that if you can raise up a leader who has already been a part of your organization, they will most likely know what they are getting into and so will you.
This is of course what the early church did. All these leaders emerged from within the church, rising to various levels of leadership as they showed themselves to be people of character, filled with the Spirit and capable for the role.
Finding the right kind of leader.
The apostles laid hands on them and installed them publicly as leaders in the church (Acts 6:6). However, today that practice has seemingly gone by the wayside, replaced by online search engines, headhunters, and job posts. Yet the questions remain: How do we find the right kind of leaders? What is the optimal kind of leader for ministry?
These questions led me to think more deeply about how we find, cultivate, and raise up leaders within our church. And in this process, I’ve discovered one kind of leader who multiplies the ministry and accelerates growth more than any other: the disciple-making leader.
To understand what makes a disciple-making leader so special, we need to define what a disciple-making leader is, reveal the internal DNA of this kind of leader that enables them to multiply leaders and grow the ministry, and also contrast the disciple-making leader with the far more common kind of leader we see today who promises results but never produces lasting growth.
Jesus is a master disciple maker
Over the past twenty years, I’ve studied Jesus and how he developed leaders. I’ve learned that Jesus was not only a master disciple maker but also a master movement builder. Disciple making and movement building go hand in hand. The people who create movements of multiplication are those who know how to be disciples of Jesus and raise up disciples of Jesus.
I’ve also discovered the vital training components Jesus used to turn his followers into exponential multipliers. In fact, you can use the same elements of Jesus’ training, which was a four-step pathway for growing multiplying disciples, to build multiplying leaders in your own ministry.
There is also a simple five-level leadership pipeline model that you can adapt to your own ministry context. However, the synergy of the pathway and the pipeline will reveal how you can make and multiply disciple-making leadership at every level of your ministry. Additionally, there are some practical leadership insights to help you build a culture of disciple-making throughout your organization.
And what I am presenting now is nothing new; rather, it is quite ancient. These principles have been proven repeatedly in different times and cultures. That is why along the way you will read several brief vignettes describing how God has used disciple-making leaders throughout church history to expand his kingdom and multiply disciples. I hope these stories will inspire you to make multiplying disciple-making leaders as we charge into the future.
Jesus once said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough” (Matt. 13:33, NLT).
The future movements of tomorrow rely on disciple-making leaders. The exponential growth of the church will not come via charismatic leaders who move the masses by their personalities but rather through godly men and women who work quietly and faithfully (like yeast through dough), investing in a few, making disciples, and multiplying leaders into an army that cannot be stopped.