The following content is an excerpt from the eBook Fill Your Seats. Download your free digital version in your favorite format here.
We, as a culture, learned this in parenting a long time ago: You can talk to your kids until you’re blue in the face, but they may not do what you say. It’s a lot more likely they’ll do what you say, if they see you do it first. It’s human nature.
When the leader of an organization does something, it encourages the followers to do it, too. The turnout of volunteers from companies who build houses for Habitat for Humanity goes through the roof when the executives of that company show up. Their participation validates the deal and gives followers permission.
The same is true in church world.
When a Senior Pastor starts raising his hands high over his head during worship, others will often start raising their hands. When a pastor goes on a mission trip, the number of people who sign up for that mission trip goes up. When a pastor comes to the Monday-morning prayer group, more people come.
Whether or not you’re a pastor, people follow the model they see in you as a leader. They do what you do.
So when a pastor starts mentoring a group of men, he does two things at the same time:
He personally equips a small group of men to “go and do the same”—to make more disciple makers. Over time, his group becomes the nucleus of a tribe of men who are all in for Jesus and for his church.
He models disciple making for everyone else in the church.
His actions speak louder than his words—even of a hundred sermons. He puts feet on his prayers. He shows them disciple making is important.
If you’re a pastor, you have influence because you’re “God’s man” in your church—the man who most closely resembles God. Granted that may not be right, but to some degree, pastors are “it.” I know you didn’t ask for “it”—in fact, you don’t want “it”—but you can use “it” for God’s glory by blazing a trail and encouraging them to follow you.
What better trail to blaze than one of becoming an intentional, relational disciple maker?
A Look Back
When Jesus started His public ministry, the church wasn’t peripheral to Jewish culture; it was central. Religious schools were the public schools. Their commandments were the laws governing the people. Levitical law set the roles and responsibilities for the people.
But Jesus saw that years and years of religious practice had led to “playing zone” (to use sports terminology); it had led to rote repetition of the most sacred worship and to a lot of hard hearts.
With His insight and power, Jesus could have focused on reforming the church. He could have staged a revival. He could have launched a re-education program for the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He could have even created His own competing Temple down the road, taking some of the best and the brightest Jews with Him to go “do it right” for the glory of God.
This comes from the free eBook Fill Your Seats, which you can download here.
But instead of creating conflict, instead of trying to change all those minds, instead of forcing closed-minded people out of their “zones,” He chose a different strategy, a unique strategy, and it worked… big time.
Jesus went out and quietly selected a small number of men and invested in them as a group. He played “man to man.” He cast a big vision and expected total commitment. He created a community of which He was a part. He took them deep into the Scriptures and to the issues of life as they experienced them together.
Don’t Miss This
Jesus didn’t take anyone away from the Temple. He and His guys still participated. It was not either-or, but both-and.
Jesus didn’t change anything at church, neither directly nor immediately. Over time, however, He changed everything.
Jesus didn’t ask anything of the religious leaders, and He didn’t add to anyone’s workload in the Temple. He just did His thing with these guys, lay guys, and as a result, the kingdom of God burst onto the scene.
Rabbis in Jesus’ day selected their disciples and taught them intensely every day. They were Temple-centric and focused on the Torah. It was more and more Torah and less people, relationships, and life. It was dos and don’ts, ceremony and sacrifice.
Rabbi Jesus wasn’t a revolutionary in the typical sense. He selected His disciples and taught them intensely, too. But He brought the truth of God to life in these twelve guys by showing them God and teaching them truth as they did life… together.
Instead of trying to change culture, He created new culture. He created a culture of humility, servant leadership, compassion, generosity, acceptance, learning, community, devotion, evangelism, prayer—and above all, love!
These men became the pillars of the kind of church of which you want to be a part—the kind of “church” you can start within your church. This can transform your church from the inside out, filling your seats with people who are “following Christ, being changed by Christ, and committed to the mission of Christ.”
As it says in Hebrews, leaders go first: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7).
Can it be any clearer? I believe it starts with you and me.
As I’ve said throughout, there are all kinds of options when it comes to methods. I’m somewhat partial to Radical Mentoring’s process because it’s a once-per-month meeting with everything laid out on how to lead. And did I mention that it’s free?
Written by Regi Campbell
Regi Campbell grew up in a small-town church. He’s belonged to congregations in multiple cities and gotten to know a quite a few pastors and churches. For the past twenty-three years, he’s been a part of one of America’s largest churches, Andy Stanley’s North Point Community Church serving as an Elder twice and in other leadership roles. His first three books—About My Father’s Business, Mentor Like Jesus, and What Radical Husbands Do—speak to business people, mature men, and husbands respectively. Campbell now speaks to Senior Pastors, Staff Pastors, and leaders in the local church, sharing what he’s learned about creating interest in discipleship and disciple making.
Regi is the Founder and Chairman of Radical Mentoring, a nonprofit focused on equipping and encouraging churches to build disciples and disciple makers through intentional men’s small group mentoring. Regi believes the future of the local church is intimately connected to the development of strong Jesus-following lay leaders who will lead their wives, children, businesses, neighborhoods, and churches with God at the center.
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