This principle is so powerful and simple that it can advance you years in your business, family, and ministry. It is a leadership principle that says leaders must produce other leaders!
The Lord gave Joshua a commission:
Joshua 1:6–7 NLT
“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.”
A leader is someone who takes people where they otherwise wouldn’t go. And a pacesetting leader is someone who doesn’t just lead but trains leaders and delegates leadership to others, raising up a new generation of leaders.
Build the People
The principle of building people up and staying focused on your vision applies to all areas of life, but let’s look specifically at how this applies to ministry.
What is the main goal of a church? To go out and teach all nations.
That is the Great Commission Jesus gave to us, and no one is excluded from it (Matthew 28:18-20). Every believer has the common mission to go into all the world and teach the Good News of Jesus Christ. So a church must produce disciples. If it doesn’t, it can hardly be called a church.
For example, say there was a toothpaste company, and one day the CEO visited the factory and saw doughnut coming off the conveyor belts; he would know immediately there was a problem. Money had been invested to make toothpaste, but instead, the factory was producing doughnuts. The workers might say, “Doughnuts improve the morale around here. We love taking a break and having doughnuts. So we’re making those instead of toothpaste.”
You would no longer call that a toothpaste factory; you would call it a doughnut factory. The same is true for the church. In a church, money is invested in the form of tithes and offerings. Man-hours go in. What is the church supposed to be producing? Disciples! Jesus’ mandate was to train people to do what he did and then let them do it. If a church is producing only converts, it’s not a church. Conversion is only part of the process. The ultimate goal is to make disciples.
The same principle applies to businesses and families and organizations of all kinds. If you have strayed from your foundational purpose, then the nature of what you do has changed. Ask yourself, are you leading people toward the original goal or to a different destination? Is it time to get back on track?
Delegate to People
Once I had a vision of a man who was full of holes, he was missing an arm and leg and other parts. I asked, “Lord, what is that?” He answered, “That is you in the ministry I gave you. You are not complete in yourself. The body of Christ is not complete unless everybody fits in and finds their ministry and gifts. You have missing parts. To make the ministry complete, educate, impart, and delegate to people. Then it becomes a whole body.”
That was an important moment as I realized that a pacesetting leader is supposed to lead others into their calling, so the local body, business, or endeavor will be complete. Moses, one of the greatest leaders in history, had to learn this same lesson.
Exodus 18:13 NLT
The next day, Moses took his seat to hear the people’s disputes against each other. They waited before him from morning till evening.
“Pastor Moses” was leading two million people. Everybody wanted to see him personally. They stood in line to have him counsel them. Moses thought he was a good pastor by handling every question and dispute and being all things to all people. Some people run a business or an enterprise the same way, not realizing that when you have your hands in everything, your bottom line will be nothing. Here is the fruit of the decision Moses learned from his father-in-law in Exodus 18:14-24.
- Moses did not have a nervous breakdown but was able to continue leading the people for forty years.
He went from being on the verge of collapse and saying, “God, if you’re going to treat me like this, just kill me—I’d rather be dead!” (Numbers 11:14) to becoming a pacesetting leader over the long term.
- All the people’s needs were met!
- Others got to exercise their gifts and grow in their own leadership skills.
People who get involved and trained in leadership are engines of growth for your church. For every person trained as a leader, and serves the church, will cause growth. I have seen this pattern for years. I believe this principle applies to your business, as well. It all goes back to training people to be disciples and delegating the work to them.
This is exactly the example Jesus set when he trained his disciples. First, he sent the twelve, then another seventy, then all who believe. Jesus loved training his disciples. After the crowds had gone away, he seemed eager to get alone with them to teach them how to be effective leaders. Why? Because he knew these men would carry on his work after he ascended to heaven.
We should have the same passion for training leaders to run with our vision.
Many leaders try to build their church or enterprise like a triangle with the tip of the triangle pointing down and the whole weight of the business, company, or ministry on one key person—the leader. As it grows, the pressure on the leader also grows, and that leads to rapid “burn-out.”
The way to unlimited growth without overwhelming pressure is to make disciples. Then the growth is shared among everyone.
Remember you cannot possibly accomplish all the functions needed in a church, business, small group, or classroom you lead. If you don’t train up leaders, you will severely limit the size and success of your undertaking.
The fact is, if your church or business is going to grow, you’ve got to train others and delegate work to them.
Training and delegating others will cause multiplication in every area of your life and cause your business, your ministry, or your church to fill the earth. The entire world would be filled with the glory of God in a tangible way in just a few years if every believer would make disciples.