Monthly Archives: December 2015

Developing Like Jesus Summary

A study of the life of Jesus from the perspective of how He developed His disciples is highly valuable for every leader. In three short years, He developed 11 men and influenced dozens more who in turn developed people who developed other people in every nation on earth.  The movement of leader development goes on.

How do we identify a person with a developmental bias who will be a great people developer?

What signs would indicate such a bent and priority? A person with a developmental bias/bent will embody many of the following traits.  Use this list as an assessment for your inclination toward and practice of developing leaders.

 Be a Learner Yourself:

  1. Is an active and self-motivated learner, pursuing development in all relevant areas
  2. Regularly seeks out learning from resource people
  3. Shares what you are learning in a humble way that invites and encourages others to learn
  4. Does not allow yourself to plateau or stagnate
  5. Considers how to upgrade your formal and non-formal education through various means
  6. Is an aggressive reader (even if your preferred learning style is not visual)
  7. Enjoys internet searches and basic research on topics critical to your ministry
  8. Protects time for your own self-development
  9. Is self-aware of your strengths and deficiencies so to strategically focus growth

Be a People Developer:

  1. Grows in ability to listen and ask good developmental questions
  2. Is known as a go-to resource for information and wisdom
  3. Does not assume that “one size fits all” when nurturing the development of others
  4. Enjoys being with people and can relate broadly to temperaments and personalities
  5. Consistently develops/trains/equips others
  6. Demonstrates the ability to raise up laborers and leaders
  7. Loves to teach and pass on helpful truth in a variety of ways
  8. Is patient with people and encourages even small signs of growth
  9. Prays faithfully for the Holy Spirit to bring transformation to self and others

Developing leaders is essential to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. It is humbling to think that God would use the likes of us to carry out His grand plan of filling the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the seas. (Habakkuk 2:14) May we be the kind of instruments both fit for His use and passionately engaged in the advance of the Gospel.  May we lead like Jesus with a developmental bias!

Next blog: Jesus Cared for People


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Jesus Developed Leaders by MODELING

Along with teaching and coaching, a third way that Jesus developed people was by modeling. A key passage that indicated Jesus’ intention to model is John 13:13-14, “You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right; for so I am.  If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.”  Jesus expected His Disciples to live as He lived; to follow His model.

A model is a representation of an original. The writer to the Hebrews (1:3) says that Jesus was the exact representation of God.  Since people are unique and with flaws, human models should never be replicated exactly.  For this reason, followers of Jesus should be primarily committed to replicate His model and only secondarily seek to become like good human role models.  Whenever we put too high of an expectation on some person, we have potentially set ourselves up for disappointment.  To whom are you looking to be like?

Nevertheless, every leader is being watched and emulated. This is perhaps most notable and scary in the way children become like their parents.  During the formative years, teachers are role models as well.  The major challenge is how to be a good role model.  When you think of good role models, many qualities come to mind: friendly, humble, caring, gifted, talented, etc.  A danger comes when a person attaches her or himself too closely to one role model.  When we study the Bible or observe contemporary life, the healthiest situations are when leaders have multiple role models to whom they can look.

How does one implement this modeling aspect of developing people? The Navigators have a hallmark conviction taken from Mark 3:14, “and He appointed the twelve that they might be with Him…” A model must be seen and observed sufficiently for admiration, learning, and replication to happen.  It was Howard Hendricks who said that you can influence at a distance, but you can only impact up close.  Proximity is essential for modeling.

Jesus spent about three years almost full-time modeling His life before His disciples. Can modeling happen when we only are co-located with a leader periodically?  That is a question I have wrestled with for years.  We gather people for training, but that is not modeling.  We visit people for a couple hours over coffee, but that is not modeling.  If we understand Jesus’ intention to model as an essential means for developing leaders, we must find a way to spend longer times together.  Just as disciple making cannot be mass-produced at an efficient pace, neither can modeling Christlikeness and the advance of the Gospel.

How are you seeking to model what God has built into your life? (see 1 Corinthians 11:1) How much do you read about, study, and meditate on the life and ministry of Jesus? Only thereafter, who are those people that have qualities that you want to replicate?  When we value and practice learning from models, we can then live transparently before others as a worthy model.

For those who resonate with song, the song at this link by Phillips, Craig & Dean touches our affections about modeling:

Next blog: Developing Like Jesus Summary



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