Key Scripture: “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so” (Genesis 1:24). Also see Genesis 1:11-12; 25.
In Genesis God initiated a principle of life: everything reproduces after its kind. Whatever talents, skills, and abilities God has graced you with, you should endeavor to pass them on to someone else. This does not have to be your children. As a pastor, church leader, or organizational official, you should pass the wisdom, knowledge, commitment, and character that have made you successful, on to someone else. This is not a choice. It is ordained by God.
We have certain animals that are becoming extinct. There are no more animals alive that can reproduce that particular species. These animals are gone forever. It takes a leader to reproduce a leader. In your country, organization, and church, if there are to be future leaders, then you will have to do whatever it takes to reproduce them. They will not come from any other species but only through you. It is a principle of God that began from the first week of time.
“And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach” (Mark 3:14). Jesus chose twelve men. Among the twelve He drew three closer to Him to reproduce Himself in them. He would eventually send them out to preach. His whole plan was to make these men into carriers of the Good News. If they failed, then Jesus failed.
I wonder if Jesus picked Peter to show us what could be made of the roughest material. Peter talked too much, and was loud. He did not come from a family with leadership background. His profession was not highly regarded. His skills as a fisherman did not lend themselves to becoming a spiritual leader. He was the kind of person most dislike. Yet, Jesus picked him and said I will make you a fisher of men.
Have you ever looked at another leader and the young men under him and thought, I could make something good of them? Jesus took the least likely and made them highly productive for the Kingdom. One thing to be observed, about those He chose: they were all busy doing something. Many times we want someone who has nothing better to do, and because they have free time, we think we can make them into productive ministers. Just because they do not have a job we will find them one. Jesus didn’t think that way. He chose men who were already busy and changed them into fishers of men.
The process of reproducing leaders is called mentoring. Mentoring is defined as, “A relational experience where one person shares with and empowers another by imparting God-given resources.” A mentor is a coach, tutor, guide, or counselor who endeavors to bring another person up to and beyond, the level of competence he himself has obtained. A mentor is someone who shares his knowledge, wisdom, experiences, and skills with another to provide them with the confidence to be productive in the Kingdom of God. This is done one-on-one or in a small group.
Let us examine some practical information about how we reproduce leaders.
1. Be committed to the person we undertake to mentor. We must be able to express our love and appreciation for them and they should always feel we have their best interest at heart.
2. Be committed to the process. This is not a one week or six month process. It takes time to develop leaders. There will be ups and downs in the process. There will be exciting times, and times of discouragement and doubt. Don’t give up the first time your “mentee” fails. It is going to happen, hang in there.
3. Be committed to the purpose. Our goal is the end result we envision for them. Don’t be easily discouraged. Philippians 1:6 says God has started something in us and will not quit until it is completed. We must have that same commitment.
FIVE STEPS IN THE PROCESS OF TRAINING LEADERS
John Maxwell provides five steps in the process of reproducing leaders.
Step One: Model
The process begins with the mentor doing the work or ministry while the mentee watches. The mentor says, “Observe, ask questions, and consider how I do this.” Make sure the mentee sees the whole process of the task. Sometimes the mentor brings the mentee into the task in the middle of the process and this confuses them. Let them see it from beginning to end.
Step Two: Mentor
The mentor brings the mentee along side and allows him to be a part of the task and do some of it. Much communication should take place during this second step. The why, how, and when should be discussed.
Step Three: Monitor
The mentee takes over performing the task with the mentor along side making sure things go well and taking over when it doesn’t. The mentor should be positive and encouraging. When mistakes are made, mentors need to point out what was done well not just dwell, on the negatives.
Step Four: Motivate
At this point the mentee can do the task alone. He is given this opportunity with continuous feedback to the mentor. The mentor will even encourage those under him to make improvements in their new responsibilities. It is important for the mentor to stay with the mentee until success is realized.
Step Five: Multiply
Once the mentee does the job well, the last step is for the mentee to become a mentor. As teachers know, the best way to learn something is to teach it. This now frees the mentor to go on to other duties with the knowledge that the mentee is capable of performing the task he has been taught and will be teaching others.
When you spend money on something, it is gone. When you invest money in land or property, that money will hopefully come back to you. Time is a valuable resource. Don’t waste your time. Invest your time in people. Someday it will come back to you.
Billy Graham was once asked what he would do differently if he had his life to live over again. He said, “Travel less and invest time in 5 good people.”
JESUS’ EXAMPLE OF MENTORING
Jesus faced the task of changing the lives of people thousands of years after His death. He had but a few short years to establish His goal in the hearts of men. He was successful. He did it without writing books, building schools, or founding institutions. If Jesus chose to deposit His legacy in people, we should learn His methods and practice them.
1. He instructed His disciples (Matthew 5:1, 2).
It will take time, energy, and patience to teach your mentees what they need to know about fulfilling the call of God in their lives. The disciples continually asked Jesus what a parable or teaching meant. They didn’t get everything the first time He taught it. He would take the time to instruct them long after the crowds were gone.
2. He demonstrated His instructions (John 13:14, 15).
The disciples saw Him do it before He asked them to do it. He modeled truths for the disciples to observe. Jesus deliberately gave His life as an example to His followers to watch. He knew they would learn faster if He showed them not just taught them. He taught with His life.
3. He provided the disciples experience ( Mark 6:7).
Jesus called them together and sent them out with authority. He gave His followers an opportunity to practice what He had taught them. Through this experience, He was able to transfer His responsibility of advancing the Kingdom of God to His followers. They saw needs and met them with His power.
4. Jesus used assessment (Luke 10:17-20).
Jesus wanted to know what had happened. He then gave more instructions. Once He trusted them with ministry He knew they would need accountability on their performances. Don’t be in a hurry to push someone out the door. Too many times the revival God gives us makes us hurry up the process of training ministers. Don’t get in a hurry. Don’t expect someone to be able to accomplish the task until you know they are able. This is not always easy but it sure will slow down the failures and heartbreaks.
The great part about the methods Jesus used to train His disciples is that it is possible for each of us to apply them. Nothing He did is impossible for any of us serious about training up leaders.
HOW TO GET STARTED
1. Pray for God to help you embrace the task of mentoring others.
2. With much prayer select the person or people you feel to mentor from your circle of influence.
3. Have two meetings talking about what all parties expect to gain from the relationship you are about to begin together.
4. Ask for commitment. Don’t proceed unless both sides are serious. It will only lead to confusion, misunderstanding, and hard feelings if not taken seriously.
5. A time period could be set. Depending upon circumstances some programs may be longer than others.
6. Cast vision for what the leader sees will be the outcome.
7. Decide how often you will meet together.
8. Set goals. Some things could be put in writing like Bible reading and prayer time.
9. Demand and expect honesty in the relationship.
10. Go only as fast as the mentee is growing. Don’t push them faster than they can go.
RESOURCES TO OFFER
When you meet, offer the following resources in the mentoring relationship.
|Ask tough questions, help them keep commitments.|
|Offer words of encouragement and support: affirm their strengths.|
|Evaluate their condition objectively: help them gain perspective.|
|Provide unconditional love and grace to them even when they fail.|
|Speak words of wise counsel and give them options for their decisions.|
|Offer words of caution and warning so they can avoid mistakes.|
|Give tangible gifts and resources – a book, tape, or personal contact.|
|Direct them to discover how they can practice what they’ve learned.|
We don’t all have as much resources as we would like. However, we can offer the resources mentioned above. It doesn’t take much to get started.
The Kingdom of God needs leaders. We must commit ourselves to reproduce and multiply what God has blessed us with into others. With the help of the Lord, let us get busy with this most important task.
The author is indebted to John C. Maxwell and his lesson entitled “The Wisest Investment You’ll Ever Make” from EQUIP’s Million Leader Mandate notebook two. It was beneficial in the preparation of this lesson and portions are adapted here.
by James Crumpacker