13. Leadership: Leading People to the Kingdom of God Part 3

We are called to be Disciple makers

 

 

 

We are called to be Disciple makers

 

         As Christians, we are called to leadership, to lead a lost world to salvation.  Where do we start, how do we implement leadership from theory to practice?  When we have an eternal vision, when we really understand what Jesus did for us,  we know we have been ďsavedĒ from the judgment by the blood of Christ, how can we not be prompted to action?  We have the key to eternity, through our knowledge of Jesus Christ.  How can we standby while those around us die without Christ?  The answer is we canít, Jesus wants us to take action.

         In Matthew 28, he ordered the apostles to make disciples of all nations, teach them all things walking in His authority.  This was the method of leadership used by the early church to reach the lost in pagan Greek and Roman society.  Our society today is not much different, as the conflict between the secular and faithful grows. 

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen Matthew 28:18-20 

Jesus left instructions for the Church, first they were to wait at Jerusalem until they received power from the Holy Spirit.  Once this occurred, they were to take the teachings (make disciples) of Jesus to the nations.  That is our job, to bring the Gospel to the nations, Jesus gives us the authority, we need to act on the authority we have.

         The knowledge the disciples bore was the light of the world.  We bear this same light, we are the light bearers to the world, the Holy Spirit works through us.  The Gospel message is the light to the nations as foretold by Isaiah, seven-hundred years before the birth of Jesus. 

1 "Listen, O coastlands, to Me, And take heed, you peoples from afar! The Lord has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name. 7 Thus says the Lord, The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, To Him whom man despises, To Him whom the nation abhors, To the Servant of rulers: "Kings shall see and arise, Princes also shall worship, Because of the Lord who is faithful, The Holy One of Israel; And He has chosen You." 8 Thus says the Lord: "In an acceptable time I have heard You, And in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You As a covenant to the people, To restore the earth, To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That You may say to the prisoners, 'Go forth,' To those who are in darkness, 'Show yourselves.' "They shall feed along the roads, And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights. 10 They shall neither hunger nor thirst, Neither heat nor sun shall strike them; For He who has mercy on them will lead them, Even by the springs of water He will guide them. Isaiah 49:3-10

 

         The word Jesus uses in verse 19 is translated disciple; which comes from the Greek word, maqhteuvw Matheteuo meaning a learner, one who follows the precepts of a teacher.   Jesus calls us to go forth and make the nations learn His ways.  This is our calling and purpose, when we as followers of Christ, follow this precept, we find fulfillment, in our assigned mission.

         In the world, many people think they will find fulfillment through their profession or company, only to find an empty unfilled life. When we try to find our fulfillment outside of Christ, we will be left empty every time.  Only when we allow the Spirit of God, who dwells in us to direct us, do we feel fulfilled.  The Holy Spirit instructs us to do the will of Christ, which is to make disciples of the nations.

         As Christians, we are called to be leaders, to lead people to Christ, to disciple and teach the nations, baptizing them in the name of Christ.            

The Jesus Leadership Model 

         Jesus was a discipler, he trained men, He disciplined them to take His message to the nations.  In the three and half years He ministered, Jesus chose twelve men, the apostles, as the leaders of the church.  Through them, the light of the Gospel would be preached to the nations; today through a long line of disciples, the Church of Jesus Christ is world-wide, made up of many races and languages.  However the job will not be finished until the end of the age, one of the major signs of his coming is the preaching of the Gospel in all the world.  

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.  Matthew 24:14 

Therefore, by following the leadership model of Christ, we are to reach the nations.  Jesus made disciples by spending quality time with chosen people to bring the Gospel to the nations.  Out of a larger group, Jesus chose twelve-men after he prayed to the Father.  Jesus invested himself in these men; this was His plan of evangelism.  Jesus had a method of leadership, first, he choose twelve men out of the greater body, second he invested in them to carry the work forward.

Reading through the Gospels, we can see the plan of advancing the Gospel, Jesus demonstrated this for the Church.  Robert Coleman in his book, The Master Plan of Evangelism[1] breaks down the method Jesus used, a method for leaders to follow. He detailed this eight step process, for reaching the world, so we can follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

 

 

The Master Plan of Evangelism

1

Selection: Jesus operated through people; he selected men willing to learn and concentrated his disciple training on the twelve.  He did not neglect the masses, but trained the twelve to reach them.

2

Association:  Jesus stayed with the 12 disciples for the three-years of his ministry.  They learned firsthand by being with Jesus the principles Jesus taught.

3

Consecration: The men were separated from the larger group; they sought after God and were obedient to Christ.

4

Impartation: The Disciples followed Christ because the Holy Spirit was involved in their life, revealing the meaning his teachings.

5

Demonstration: Jesus demonstrated how to live the life he taught.  They learned by observing, he made his life transparent to the disciples, he taught by personal demonstration.

6

Delegation: Jesus delegated work to the disciples; he sent them to the cities of Israel to preach the Gospel.  All in preparation to their greater task, when he was gone.

7

Supervision:  Jesus supervised their work and ministry, correcting areas and attitudes along the way.  Looking for real life examples to demonstrate the right methods of ministry.

8

Reproduction: The process was designed for reproduction, the disciples were not to die with their knowledge by to reproduce themselves in others.  They were to follow the model set forth by the Master.

 

Paul did the same with Timothy and the Church at Ephesus.  Paul spent three-years, disciplining the leaders of Ephesus, the church he founded. 

Paul invested his time in people, teaching them how to live the Christian life; he instructed them on doctrine, he gave direction to the Church, even when he was not there, the Epistle to the Ephesians is the case in point.  Remember, Paulís epistles were letters written by Paul to the Churchís in the cities.  The books of Ephesians, Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians were to church and its leaders in the city, giving them spiritual direction and doctrine.  Paul wrote to Timothy, his son in the faith, giving him instructions on how to lead.  Paul was a leader of men, who taught leaders to lead. This is the role a leader provides to those he is leading, the goal being to reproduce leaders.

Jesus, the disciples and Paul set and example for us to follow.  They established a model of leadership, finding people and investing in them, establishing them in the faith.  In city after city Paul used this model to establish churches in the pagan cities of the Roman Empire.  Paul found people who were willing to invest their time in eternity, and he invested his life in them.  Timothy and Silas are two people Paul addresses throughout his Epistles.  In Acts 20, Paul is on his way to Jerusalem, on the way, he calls the leaders of the church at Ephesus to meet with him.  He knows this will be the last time he sees them, so he gives them final guidance before he leaves.

 

31 "Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. 32 "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 "I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 "Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 "I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " 36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul's neck and kissed him, 38 sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.   Acts 20:31-38

 

Paul used the model established by Jesus; he worked closely with specific people, not ignoring the masses.  He trained people to continue when he was gone; they were not dependent on Paulís presence to minister.  They were to reproduce after Paul was gone; the church was to grow by using the model of leadership established by Jesus.

This is what happened, the Church grow to point, even under persecution when finally the Roman Empire claimed itself a Christian kingdom.

 Practical Ways to Follow the Jesus Leadership Model 

This a model of leadership for us in the church today, to find people who want to grow in their faith, then invest our time and energy in their life. 

 1.  Find people: Selection, look for people who need to be discipled in the Christian walk today, many Christians fail simply because no one has spends the time to take them to the next level.  Look for sincere people, who want to grow, help them by investing your time in their life.

2. Spend time with them: Association, you need to be willing to spend time with the people God has put in your life. Make the time count; invest your time in essential spiritual growth activities.  Do a discipleship study together, such as Practical Christian Living, where their faith can be established. 

3. Spirit led:  Consecration, look for people who are willing to be led by the Spirit, who have been consecrated and are obedient to the Spiritís calling.

4. Lead by Example: Demonstrate the Christian walk, let them see you in action.  Show them what it means to be a disciple of Christ.  Use personal example to teach them.

5. Give them opportunities: Delegate and supervision, look for ways to introduce people to ministry. Such as co-teaching, involving them in an out-reach event, etc., Introduce them to leading others to Christ.

6.  Evangelism: Reproduction, stress to them the need to reach the lost, cast the vision of evangelism through reproduction. Model for them, what they are to model to others to advance the Kingdom of God.

 


 

[1] Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism,  Baker Book House, Foreword by Billy Grahm.