Most of us want our lives to make an impact. We long for significance. God put the desire inside us. He wants us to leave a unique and lasting mark on our world. This is part of what motivates us to pursue DMMs. It is the nature of movements to see thousands coming to Christ. This happens through deep investment in a few emerging leaders, who then invest in others.
“In the midst of dreaming for the thousands or tens of thousands, don’t forget the vital importance of investing well in a few.“C. Anderson
I Was on Your List!
I sat with him while we ate a plate of rice and curry. It’d been a few years since we had the opportunity to meet face to face. My heart was glad. It was good to be sitting with him and sharing a meal together after so long.
We talked about his family and the various health struggles he’d faced lately. He shared about a loss he’d experienced. My brother was grieving deeply.
I sat and listened, reflecting back, asking a question or two.
My heart and mind were fully engaged. I deeply love this brother and his family. For some years, I regularly visited his area, coached him every few weeks, and prayed daily for his family and ministry.
He’d suffered much and seen great fruit. A significant movement leader and powerful trainer of trainers, I felt honored to have walked this road with him.
Halfway through our lunch, he began to thank me for the investment I’d made in his life. I was humbled to hear his words. The little things I’d done had meant so much to this mighty man of God.
One thing especially stood out as he shared.
“Do you remember when you showed us your prayer list?” he asked. “I saw my name on it.”
Wherever I go, I carry a prayer list that includes the names of those I am training. I vaguely remember showing it to him as I taught in a training he’d organized. I often teach trainees to use a Lost and Saved list. This brother was on my Saved List and I prayed for him daily in that season.
“That meant so much to me!” He declared. “Seeing my name on your paper and knowing that you were lifting me up in prayer made me feel like I was not alone. From that time onwards, I began to do the same for those people I was training.”
That small thing made a big difference in this movement leader’s life.
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”2 Tim. 2:2 NIV.
Jesus Invested in a Few to Train the Many
Preaching and teaching to big crowds of people can be exciting. It’s not nearly as fruitful though as investing in a few key people in a regular way over a period of some years.
Jesus taught the crowds, but He focused most of His time on His twelve disciples. Among them, there were three who He particularly invested in. He lived with them, ate with them, prayed with and for them, and demonstrated ministry for them to observe. They were “with” Him.
Taking Someone With You
Who do you have with you? When you get an opportunity to train or teach, do you take along someone you are developing as a leader? Do you give them a chance to teach part of the time? Open doors of ministry for them?
As leaders, we must always work to replace ourselves. If we do not actively develop leaders, and give them real responsibilities, we will limit the growth of the movement.
In the mission I work with, a colleague recently asked me, “Do you see a gap in our mission? It doesn’t seem like we have very many mid-level leaders.” I started to think about this, curious why this would be the case.
It takes intentionality to develop others and release them. It is easy to get sloppy in this, to do all the work ourselves rather than take the time to train and invest in others.
That’s a poor decision. Multiplication depends on intentional leadership development. This is part of why I continually encourage coaching networks to be developed. This is needed not only in your organization but within the movements you begin.
Coaches must raise up coaches. Trainers develop other trainers. Apostles equip apostles. Evangelists multiply evangelists. Leaders mentor leaders.
Who are you actively developing to take your current role?
If you couldn’t immediately name at least two people, take some time to pray about this.
Paul trained Timothy. Timothy trained faithful men. They trained others. Mentoring, and passing the baton of responsibility is vital in launching movements. If we fail to multiply leaders, the movement will not grow rapidly. The more disciples (or believers) you have, the more you must focus on this.
Don’t only train leaders in a large group. Mentor and invest heavily in a few. Pray for them, love them and spend time with them often. Trust them and take risks by giving them tasks they can grow into, even if they don’t do those things as well as you do.
Why not make an appointment today to spend time with someone you see has potential as an emerging leader?