Healthy Leaders


How to Turn Passive Followers into Passionate Leaders

Ralph MayhewRalph Mayhew

Have you ever imagined being one of the 72 disciples whom Jesus sent out? As I read Luke 10 and put myself in their place, I think, I hope that was the day I paid attention! 

Jesus is wonderfully specific, as well as, brilliantly vague, and He is intentionally so. What follows are the leadership development gems that Jesus used when turning a passive group of followers into passionate leaders. Below is what you need to do for those you are developing:

Help them embrace their why

Simon Sinek, the author of Start with Why (a book every leader should read) would smile if he examined how Jesus did what He did. Jesus starts (v.2) with the why of the mission. This why for these untested leaders is vital.

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few …” This is why I’m sending you. When it feels tough or difficult, remember this why and you’ll get through it.

Ensure those you lead know why they are doing what they do. This why has to be of eternal importance, and immediate application.

Give them something to lead

He starts with a word we’ve tended to keep on the down low in church, “Go!” (v.3). Leadership development starts with movement. A leader cannot start to learn and grow if they are not leading. So when Jesus says “Go” He creates movement so that learning can take place.

Develop leaders while they are leading something, not in order to lead something.

Share the essentials

Jesus follows this up by ensuring that those He is sending into battle know the essentials! They had to grasp what He was asking them to do, and so Jesus makes it easy for them.

He tells them to be wary, what to take, where to go, who to look for and what to do if it isn’t working out (v.4-7). Clearly, Jesus is quite confident in His instructions. I think His confidence is even greater in those He is sending because He doesn’t accompany them and He never factors in that they might not go.

Give your leaders all the essential information they need to lead in a way that is natural to them.

Task them with expanding the kingdom

Often those sent are then evaluated against the instructions they were sent out with. Did they take a purse? Did they stop on the way? Did they make sure they got the greeting right?

Jesus doesn’t. It seems what is of greatest importance is that the kingdom came near (v.8-9) to those who were being led, by those who were leading them.

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

If those who we are developing as leaders burn with this measure within them, then God’s Kingdom will expand.

Help your leaders constantly think, how do I bring the Kingdom of God near to those I lead?

Celebrate their faithfulness over their success

In a brilliant twist at the end, Jesus tells them (v.18) “Whoever listens to you listens to Me; whoever rejects you rejects Me; but whoever rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”

Jesus is saying, if you go and tell them about Me, your job is done. What they do with that is between them and Me. How often do we measure a leader’s development by the results they bring in?

Jesus doesn’t.

He measures His results by a central prerogative, the success of which depends on the Spirit moving and not the flesh being glorified. He could have said, “And the one who fulfills My will the best will be he who tells the most people.”

He doesn’t. Instead, he tells them to bring the Kingdom close to others. In so doing, the Holy Spirit can move.

Encourage faithfulness to God in those you lead, not faithfulness to a set of results you require.

Eleven of the twelve leaders Jesus developed changed the world. Act on these five insights and let us know how you go. This article originally appeared here.

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