A Surprising View of Leadership Development
Jesus only spent three and a half years with his disciples. He developed them and trained them to do the tasks he did. After his departure they were to carry on the work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had complete trust in the Holy Spirit to guide his disciples.
In my years of teaching in a seminary and pastoring, I have been involved in training and developing people for ministry. This, I have found to be quite a challenging task as the people come from various backgrounds.
There is often a huge gap between my expectations and theirs. When tasks are assigned, and goals are set, I remind myself that my expectations may not always be met. Their growth and development as leaders may be well below my ideal for them. I know they could do better.
Jesus expressed a similar frustration when he said “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you…” (Matthew 17:17 ESV). Jesus knew that his time with the disciples was limited, so he wanted to make sure they were prepared to carry on the work he began. But the performance and the responses of the disciples were certainly not according to his expectations.
In such a disheartening situation, Jesus expressed unwavering trust in the Holy Spirit and his disciples. He told his disciples that they will do the works that he did, and even greater things will be accomplished through them (John 14:12 ESV). Then he promises them the Holy Spirit who would remain with them forever (John 14:16 ESV). He also said that the Holy Spirit will teach them and remind them of the things that Jesus taught them (John 14:26 ESV).
These words of Jesus were not a blind “shot in the dark” just to give them a positive feeling. Rather it was a definite trust in the Holy Spirit to teach, empower, and guide the disciples. Jesus completed the task, and now it was up to the Holy Spirit to carry them further.
Jesus’ approach to training the disciples was expressed systematically by John Maxwell in his book Developing The Leaders Around You. He gave a clear five step approach: Model, Mentor, monitor, motivate and multiply. Jesus initially modeled the tasks while the disciples observed. Then he mentored them and taught them what to do. Then Jesus monitored their performance and asked questions regarding their experiences. He also provided motivation for them to do the tasks on their own by sending them out two by two to all the villages and towns that Jesus would visit. Finally he asked them to multiply themselves by making disciples.
What a great approach and an awesome trust in the Holy Spirit and the disciples. So those of you who are in the process of developing leaders, we have an important lesson to learn from Jesus’ attitude towards leadership development: Relax and trust the Holy Spirit.
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Photo by TheMinuteIdea. Creative Commons.