What would you think if I led a discipleship group and encouraged group members to memorize Scripture, but I never memorized Scripture myself? How would you feel if I told group members to read and study their Bibles but didn’t even crack my Bible open week after week? I’m guessing it would not sit very well with you if you had a group leader who kept giving you advice that leader didn’t live by him or herself.
If there was one thing that was true about Jesus, it was that He lived the life He was asking His disciples to live. Jesus was being what He was seeking to help others to become. Jesus modeled the character and conduct He was expecting His disciples to demonstrate. Paul was also living the life He was expecting Timothy and other leaders to live. Paul was living the life Jesus lived and had no problem asking his disciples to live that life.
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Being a great Disciple Making Leader means being the mission yourself. It means living out the life Jesus lived and being what you expect your disciples to be. It means being authentic. It does not mean being perfect or having it all together. It means being a leader who seeks to be an imitator of Christ. Paul was not perfect, but he was authentic. Timothy was not perfect, but he sought to be more like Jesus. Timothy wanted to be like Jesus because Paul encouraged him to be like Jesus. That is exactly what you would call being the mission.
Be Like Christ
I’ve experienced many leaders who were not living out the mission. They were inauthentic. Some have talked about being committed to the mission of Jesus but were not committed to their local churches. Some have said worship was important but skipped public worship services quite often. Others have talked about servant hood but never served. Many speak of sharing their faith and have never even done so. Plenty of leaders talk about disciple making but have never reproduced a single disciple. I’ve known lots of leaders who lack love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. Lacking the fruit of the Spirit is the exact opposite of what it means to be like Christ.
We need leaders in the Church today who live and lead the same way Jesus did. We need leaders who are walking as Jesus walked and living the way He lived. The Church will struggle to accomplish her mission unless we have authentic leaders who are living out the mission.
By Ken Adams