As church leaders, we are always on the lookout for that next high-octane, multi-gifted, high-capacity leader we can just “plug-and-play” right into the ministries of our church.
Right? Am I right? Anybody?
Sheeeesh. Just rereading that first sentence makes my stomach turn.
Thinking this way about developing leadership in the church is so far off from the way King Jesus did it. Sadly, with so many high demands in most churches today, many pastors and church leaders find themselves thinking similar thoughts. I know I’ve been there. Rather than looking towards making disciples, the demands of ministry can easily sway us towards looking to make good hires.
There’s nothing wrong with making a good hire! There IS something wrong when making good hires takes the place of making disciples and raising them up to lead others.
When Jesus’ ministry began, He didn’t choose the “cream of the crop” to be His disciples. Jesus chose men and women who were considered average, below average, and even outcasts to others. He called fishermen and tax collectors and the like to come and follow Him – and His discipleship with them was effective. So effective that they changed the world!
How did Jesus go about selecting these men and women to follow Him? What criteria was He looking for? How can we be like Jesus as we call men and women into discipleship relationships that lead to developing and releasing new leaders?
We must look for people who are FAT – Faithful, Available, and Teachable.
- FAITHFUL: Throughout the ministry of Jesus, many disciples left Him (scripture). It is always painful when someone leaves us. Perhaps we’ve invested many hours into the relationship. Perhaps we had high hopes for how they would grow or the part they would play on our team. Nonetheless, there is God’s part, my part, and their part. Jesus looked for men and women who would do their part. People who were faithful when others were not faithful. People who would follow Him when things got hard and stick it out through difficult assignments. More than “highly-gifted” individuals, look for faithful people who will stay the course so you know they will teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2).
- AVAILABLE: We have a saying in the RDN… go with the goers. Look for men and women who are available. People who will “drop their nets” and follow King Jesus when He calls on them to serve. Stable people who have margin to not only take care of their own households but also invest in others. They may be fishermen, tax collectors, and social outcasts! They may not be at the top of someone else’s recruitment list. But Jesus wants to put them at the top of your list as you call people into relational discipleship.
- TEACHABLE: Don’t just look for the highly gifted… those who are highly gifted often tend to over-rely on their gifts, so they miss the development of character that comes from enduring hardship and trusting God when you aren’t “good enough!” Look for imperfect people who are willing to learn. People who are humble when you talk to them about God’s Word. People who are soft and listen to the promptings and convictions of the Holy Spirit. Give me the choice between a highly-gifted candidate who thinks he knows it all or the person who others overlook but is teachable, and I’ll take the later ten times out of ten.
When we are considering who we will invest our lives into for disciple-making, we must be like Jesus… we must look for people who are FAT – Faithful, Available, and Teachable.
One last encouragement…
You can only disciple others to follow Jesus as you follow Jesus.
Do you want to attract men and women who are FAT? There are no shortcuts… you must be FAT. You must set the example for what it means to be faithful, available, and teachable. Your humility, steadfastness, and continued desire to learn are exactly what others need to see as you lead them to follow King Jesus. After all, we are not making disciples of ourselves, but of Jesus Christ. Be His disciple first, then call others to follow you as you follow Christ.
by Brandon Werner- Executive Pastor
Oklahoma City, OK