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Leadership is Discipleship

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As we get started with our fifth principle, imagine you’re sitting with Jesus in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and you ask him how He measures ‘success’ for your life and leadership? What would Jesus say? How do you think His measure(s) of success would compare to our 21st century ones?

We think Jesus’ priority would be discipleship. “Go and make disciples of all nations” He’s recorded saying at the end of Matthew’s first century biography.

We can build impressive buildings. We might raise lots of money to care for the poor. We might have the best worship band in the land but without discipleship at the core of everything we do we will not move the mission forward.

Before we move on, let’s clarify terminology. A disciple is an apprentice and discipleship is helping people learn to follow Jesus (be His apprentices) by following you, following Jesus. This is why it’s taken five posts to get to ‘Leadership is Discipleship’ because you reproduce who you are not what you say.

Jesus is the great disciple-maker. His pattern of discipleship has three main parts, yes, it’s time for another triangle.
The discipleship journey begins with invitation. Read Mark 1:15-20. Jesus offers them relationship and a vision to follow they could relate to: “I will make you fishers of men”.

So take the initiative, pray and seek God, then invite a few folk to begin discipling.

The next phase is impartation, which results in transformation. It’s sharing all that God’s put in you with others to help them grow. Impartation is about sharing your life with others, just as Jesus shared His life with you. Jesus did life with His disciples, they ate, walked, did ministry and had fun together; we’re called to do the same.

People typically go through a number of discipleship stages Mike Breen has brilliantly summarised as the Discipleship Square. Watch this video for a short explanation: (8:27).

The final part of the triangle is innovation. As leaders we want to empower people to follow Jesus in their own way, in accordance with their gifts and calling. We don’t want to make them wear ‘our armour’ as Saul did David (1 Samuel 17:38-40) but find their own way as they help others to find theirs. We should want our apprentices to stand on our shoulders and do even greater things, which is exactly what Jesus urged his disciples to do (John 14:12).

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