One of the top questions I hear from church leaders is, “What makes a great disciple making leader?” This is obviously an important question for the success of a disciple making ministry. It will take more than one blog to fully describe the marks of a great discipleship leader, but here are a few things I believe will be true of him or her. A great disciple making leader will…
1. Know the Mission
Every great disciple making leader understands what the mission of making disciples is all about. If you have a pastor who leads toward mission and a team of leaders who know the mission, you have a force to be reckoned with. Just imagine a church with a pastor and leaders all rowing in sync with one another. That is exactly what Jesus had in mind when He started the Church. Having a pastor who leads toward mission combined with leaders who know the mission is like having a church filled with Pauls, Timothys, and other faithful believers.
2. Be the Mission
A leader who wants to make disciples is a leader who is first and foremost being a disciple. Great leaders understand that you must model what you want others to follow. This is why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”. In essence, Paul is saying that you must be a disciple of Christ in order to build disciples of Christ. This does not mean a leader has it all together: it simply means that he or she is pursuing things of God. A leader who is being a disciple is a leader who is authentically seeking to live out the character and conduct of Christ.
3. Do the Mission
When I say that a great disciple making leader is doing the mission, I am saying that that person is building or leading disciples. That leader is leading untrained seekers to become fully trained disciples. He or she is not just teaching a class but is also providing biblical information, practical application, and spiritual relationships that ultimately lead to life transformation. Jesus did this with twelve disciples. He invested in their lives. He spent time with them. He taught them. Jesus used a small group, large group environments, ministry experiences, and one-on-one encounters to do the work of disciple making. Jesus did the mission. Paul did the mission. Timothy did the mission. The question is, are you doing the mission? Are you pouring your life into others and helping them become fully trained disciples of Christ?
4. Multiply the Mission
A great disciple making leader is a leader who understands the concept of multiplication. When a leader makes a disciple, that is addition. When a leader makes a disciple who in turn makes another disciple, that’s multiplication. Really good disciple making leaders are the leaders who have multiple generations of disciples as a result of their disciple making efforts. They are not just good teachers, they are good multipliers. Paul and Timothy were both great disciple making leaders because they produced multiple generations of disciples. They were reliable and faithful to pass on what had been given to them.
5. Protect the Mission
One of the greatest attacks of the enemy is to attack the unity of the mission. A great disciple making leader will always protect and guard the mission of Christ and His Church. Protecting the mission manifests itself in several ways. First, protecting the mission means being on the same page with others. A great disciple making leader communicates the mission and works to help drive it. Second, protecting the mission means guarding against dis-unity and dissension. Paul said in Romans 16:17, “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.”
6. Complete the Mission
Great disciple making leaders cross the finish line. They keep their hand to the plow and they stay committed to the mission. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul kept his hand to the plow and he finished the mission of Christ. There are way too many leaders who have given up on the process of making disciples too early. In Jesus’ High Priestly prayer, He prayed in John 17:4, “I have brought you glory on earth, by completing the work you gave me to do.” Jesus finished the work of making redemption possible and starting a movement of multiplying disciples.
These are six incredibly important qualities that will be found in a great disciple making leader.
That leader knows the mission, is being the mission, is doing the mission, is multiplying the mission, is protecting the mission, and finishing the mission.
By Ken Adams