Just When I Thought I Understood...
I know discipleship takes time to do well. I also know that discipleship is, and has to be, personal. It seems like every time I feel I hit my stride with how I do discipleship with my team, the pace changes.
Every year, my student leadership team and myself look out across our student ministry and bring new students on to our leadership team. Those are usually high school freshmen. Over time, our team has grown, in numbers and in maturity. We now have college students on that team and I knew immediately my roll for them would have to change. Our focus has always been, I pour into them and then the expectation is they do the same to the students they lead, which is normally through small group bible study. We've always believed, and still do, it's a very biblical model of discipleship. I've always tried to model our leadership/discipleship model after Christ, after all, there's not a better model out there. He had his twelve disciples and he gave his life to, loved them, lived them, empowered them, and then sent them out. Amongst those twelve he had three that were his inner circle.
Recently I've found myself with an unintentional inner circle. What I mean by that is, I didn't go looking for the three or four from my leadership team saying I want you to be in my inner circle. What has happened though is through relationships that I've built over time an inner circle that's not defined as an inner circle. I've been very intentional about pouring into them and asking them to do the same, like I explained earlier.
One of those leaders asked to speak to me after a Wednesday night service so of course I did. In this conversation she asked me if I was doing for others on our leadership team what I was doing for her. You see, she was one of the ones I was meeting with regularly and having conversations about discipleship, ministry, and life. She felt I was cheating others of what I was giving her. My question to her was the same, are you doing that with the other leaders on our team?
As we unpacked this idea, she said, "hmmm, I never thought of it like that. I always knew I was supposed to pour into my small group but I never thought I was supposed to be pouring into other leaders."
For me, even though I had been processing this idea of developing leaders of leaders, it was still an ah-ha moment. Discipleship has to grow with the people and the ministry. It has to be an organism, not an organization.
It will take you a minimal of two years to have any legitimate emotional and spiritual equity with those you do life and ministry with and more than that to really hit your stride as a leader and disciple maker. Over that time you have to learn your team, your relationships. You'll have to make decisions that's going to be best for your group. You have to allow your discipleship and leadership strategies to never become routine. For me, I'm in a place where I need to develop leaders of leaders. You can call it an inner circle or whatever but I know the growth we seek, that we want in our students and leaders will come from this.
My question is where are you in your discipleship and leadership strategies? Has it grown with your ministry? Is it stagnate? Is it evolving? What's next for you?