My husband and I lead a mentorship group for aspiring leaders in our church. We hand picked the leaders and taught them through practical example how to lead their small groups. But one member, at the end of one meeting said, “I don’t think I’m a leader. I always think of leaders as people have their stuff together.” As I looked through the Scriptures to see if this was the case, I realized that although there are many different leader styles and personalities there were commonalities as well.
When my husband was a little boy, he enjoyed playing cards with his grandfather. He loved to play Rummy 500, where a player picks up one card on their turn and discards one into the discard pile. Once a player gets three cards in a row, either of the same number or in the same suit, he can put those cards down; lessening the amount he keeps in his hand. Often, his grandfather would pick up all the cards in the pile, only to get one set of three. When my husband asked him why he did that, he said, “the more you pick up, the more you put down.”
The best people you lead are those who have a lot to sacrifice. In the disciples’ case, they had the security of their father’s business, their reputation in the community and the comfort of a consistent source of food and a roof over their heads. Yet, they put their nets down so they could pick up the “card” of a new life with Christ.
Matthew 4:18-22 says, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”
Leaders influence people who have something to lose
In the above verse, all Peter and Andrew all had to do was drop down the nets in their hand. But this signified so much more. They were leaving behind the security of their father’s business, along with the security of a trade that would keep their bellies filled daily. By dropping the net, they gave all that up. By “putting down” the net, they “picked up” a life of freedom and unconditional love they had never known before. Both Joe and his grandfather had one goal in mind: to win the game. Neither wanted to lose to the other player. The body of Christ is the same way. We all come with one goal: to further the kingdom of Christ.
Leaders give what little they have to God
Similar to the parable of good fruit, the people you want to invest in are those who are yielding good fruit (not only reaping good fruit in their own life but also pouring into others). Who are the people you know who are good fruit? Not everyone is good fruit, not is everyone who signs up on a sign up sheet is fit to be in a group you are leading. It is interesting to note that this passage mentions both Peter and Andrew were both called, along with James and John, yet later on you see Jesus doesn’t spend a lot of time with Andrew, at least not in that close knit group he had with Peter, James and John. Andrew was included, but Jesus spent less time investing in him. The question you have to ask yourself when assembling a small group is “is the person I’m going to ask yielding good fruit?” In other words,
- Do you see in his/her actions the fruits of the spirit?
- Are his/her committed to the church based on their attendance?
- Is he/she eager to volunteer to give of his/her time, energy and resources?
Leaders who are prepared with a plan of a vision and the steps to take to achieve that vision are on the whole more successful than those that don’t.
Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor’s wife and mother. She has been published over one hundred times in places such as Charisma Magazine, crosswalk.com and Christianity Today’s website Gifted For Leadership. She also teaches writers’ workshops for various places such as the Montrose Christian Writers conference. She is a member of the Christian Author’s Network and Advanced Writers’ and speakers Association. Her newest book, An Invitation to the Table explores the biblical concept of hospitality. For more info, please visit her website at www.michellelazurek.com