4 simple steps to develop leaders

June 7, 2021

During His earthly ministry, Jesus poured His life into 12 ordinary men who turned the world upside down.

Have you ever stopped to consider how Jesus developed His disciples?

Jesus modeled leadership development in the Gospels. His model of leadership serves as our model as well.

Consider these four simple steps as you develop leaders in your ministry. Some call it the M.A.W.L. approach to leadership development.

Model
In the earliest stages, show potential leaders how to do a particular skill or task. Most leadership is caught before it’s taught.

Assist
Give new leaders lots of opportunities to try their hand at this new task. Let them do it, but be there to support them if and when they struggle.

Watch
As they gain confidence and competence, move yourself further into the shadows. Watch and offer occasional suggestions and corrections, but let them lead.

Leave
Leave the work, not the worker. Stay in touch to offer encouragement and advice. One of the most important things you can do at this stage is to help them apply this approach to leadership development with another potential leader.

Jesus modeled leadership development in the Gospels. His model of leadership serves as our model as well.

The Apostle Paul is also an example of someone who used a similar approach to train leaders.

Throughout his ministry, Paul developed leaders for the missionary task. In his book “Paul the Missionary,” Eckhard Schnabel notes that Paul mentored more than 80 missionary leaders in his lifetime. One of the reasons the gospel spread rapidly throughout the Roman world was the emphasis that Paul placed on developing missionary leaders.

Paul also developed leaders for the church. One of the first things Paul did was appoint qualified elders (pastors) to lead new churches. Qualified pastors are essential for a healthy church. Paul left these pastors in place to teach the gospel, protect the church from false doctrine and equip the saints for ministry.

The ways Jesus and Paul developed leaders is still applicable today. As you develop leaders, look for opportunities to model, assist, watch and leave.

by Chuck Campbell  /  Strategic Focus Team  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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