Modeling Leadership

John Parkey - Lead Pastor | Church of the Crossroads, Mount Washington, KY

Jesus did not invite the 12 disciples to a once a week meeting. He invited them into His daily life (and ultimately into His Kingdom and mission)!!

So, the original 12 followed, watched, and experienced all of Jesus, and then we subscribe to a once-a-week, 60-90 minute meeting at a coffee shop or with a group as we make disciples? Help us all!

In order to be an effective disciple-maker, I must invite those I’m leading into my life. I can’t just invite them to a meeting. I must be willing to invite them and allow them into my life. That’s inconvenient for sure, but it is also extremely important. Why??!

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “More is caught than taught.” Teaching or transferring information from scripture is vital. It must be done as we make disciples. At the same time, being a living example of following Christ for those you are leading validates the power of scripture and of Christ Himself. In other words, those we lead need to SEE what the life of one consumed with Christ looks like IN REAL TIME.

My wife and I have two college-aged children. Back when they were toddlers and elementary-aged, at bedtime we would wind down the night by acting out a Bible story. One night my daughter healed my son of leprosy. The next night my son walked on water. One time, somehow my daughter got swallowed by a whale. Good times at bedtime!! We would usually end the night snuggling and we would pray before we turned out the lights. Sometimes at bedtime we would have guests at the house, family from out of town, friends, neighbors, high school students (back when I was a Student Pastor and students dropped by the house at random). At bedtime it didn’t matter who was there, everyone was invited upstairs to play their part in the Bible story of the night and to pray with us. My kids loved it when our guests joined us!!

As we lead people, are they invited to witness and experience our real life at times? This is so important.

Did anyone who experienced bedtime at the Parkey’s house walk away experiencing a new way to lead their children, teach their children or make intentional time with their children? Maybe. I don’t know. Hopefully!!

This is the point. I can tell you how to parent and teach your children but it is way better for you if I also show you. When I show you how to lead your child in the way of Christ, it makes the scriptures come alive even more. It connects the Word of God to life in a way that just lecturing or discussing cannot do.

Bedtime at our house is just one example of inviting those you lead into your life. And honestly, that’s a fun and simple example. Other situations are not so simple or convenient, but if we are intentionally making disciples then we have to consider and wrestle with the invite into the more inconvenient things. Below are a few questions to take into consideration.

Are people invited in to see you:

  • Fight for relationship with your spouse and children?
  • Struggle with pain and loss while still leaning on Jesus?
  • Ask for help?
  • Financially be responsible, obedient, and generous?
  • Have a bad day yet maintain self-control?
  • Gently deal with a difficult person?
  • Fail, repent, make amends, and move forward in grace?

How do we answer these questions? I don’t fully know. What I do know is that as I strive to make disciples in the way of Jesus, these questions seem to be discipling-minded questions and tensions. What I do know is they do not get answered or resolved in once a week meeting at the coffee shop or in a group, but rather in the daily invite to ‘’come with me.” Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ,” may we say to those we lead “Come eat with us, come ride with us, come sit with us, share with us, and be with us as we follow Jesus.”


John Parkey
Lead Pastor
Church of The Crossroads
Mount Washington, KY