bits from bob....

Spiritual Leaders Have One Primary Job

by Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

A quotation from George Barna says a primary factor in the decline of the U.S. church is lack of strong spiritual leadership. What is strong spiritual leadership? What does a strong spiritual leader look like? What does a spiritual leader do?
Many Christians are drafted into positions of leadership in the church and receive no training for the roles they assume. When a person gets a job, the first thing to be done is to understand what the job involves. Employees may do a variety of things, but most employees have one primary responsibility. Jesus left his disciples, and by extension the church, one primary job. The church's purpose or mission is focused on one primary thing. Spiritual leaders have one primary job--make disciples! This primary job of spiritual leaders may have various facets, but the primary job is still to make disciples.

The primary job of strong spiritual leaders may be accomplished through several biblically defined actions. The actions are not the job; they are ways to do the job. Success (and the quality of leadership) is not measured by the actions, but by whether the job is accomplished. Consider what strong, spiritual leaders do to make disciples.

  • Strong spiritual leaders are involved in making disciples by teaching and sharing the gospel with those who are not already followers of Jesus. Strong spiritual leaders make disciples through evangelism. They have a heart for souls. They are interested in the salvation of souls. They do everything they can to share the gospel. In doing this, they provide examples and mentoring so that those who are already disciples can also learn to make disciples. In doing this, they are teaching others to observe all that Christ has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
  • Strong spiritual leaders are involved in making disciples by strengthening the spiritual lives of those who are already Christ followers. Strong spiritual leaders are involved in discipling and discipleship. The focus is the same. The goal of strong spiritual leaders is to help others become faithful followers.
  • Strong spiritual leaders make faithful disciples by shepherding the flock. Shepherding is not measured by the number of calls or contacts made but by the condition of the sheep. Spiritual leaders will give an account for the sheep they shepherded-not for what the sheep did, but for how they as shepherds fulfilled their responsibility and role to develop faithful disciples.
  • Strong spiritual leaders make faithful disciples by facilitating the ministry of others, by equipping and training and mentoring the saints for works of service. This is a role of pastors and teachers (or pastor-teachers) according to Ephesians 4:11-16. In this way, they are making disciples-strong, faithful followers of Jesus Christ.
  • Strong spiritual leaders make disciples by teaching. Strong spiritual leaders are able to teach. They are able to tell others about Jesus, they are able to explain the Bible; they are able to make wise judgments and give sound advice concerning Bible topics and understandings.
  • Strong spiritual leaders make disciples by providing examples of spiritual living. They are examples in speech, life, faith and purity. Other disciples look at their lives and desire to become like them. They are able to say "follow me because I follow Christ."
  • Strong spiritual leaders make disciples by providing wise counsel to those in need. They know how to guide those who face difficult situations. They know how to resolve conflict. They know this, not because they always have and give good advice, but because they know the heart of the Chief Shepherd and realize that they are his representatives to do his work on earth. They are in tune with the heart of Jesus.
  • Spiritual leaders sometimes have to make decisions. In fact, this has come to be a primary role of leaders in many churches. Leaders must remember their goal in making decisions--how does this decision help others become disciples? If the decision is not related to making disciples, it is probably being made at the wrong level.
  • Spiritual leaders are overseers, overseeing various aspects of the work of the church. They do this as part of their job to make faithful disciples. Everything the church does should help make faithful disciples. This is job #1. If an activity is not making disciples, the church and its leaders should ask whether the activity is properly a part of the work of the church.
  • May God help the leaders of the church become strong, spiritual leaders.

    Leadership Index

    Return to Home Page

    Last updated November 2, 2011