Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Reflecting at 15 Years - Lead

The fourth post in this series represents the next step in the discipleship process for me. The first three are to learn, live, and love. To learn can benefit others, but is ultimately for, and about, us. To live requires us to do something, and can be for others, but often starts as us just beginning to do something. To love is about us doing things from the aspect of joy and for the benefit of others. But none of these ideas represent a full transference of ourselves into another. Yes, love can, and IS needed, but Jesus said to make disciples and that requires, according to His words that we teach them to obey everything He has commanded.

Obviously, teaching and learning are intertwined. And to fully realize Jesus command to “Follow Me” means that we are living, in part, while we love. And Jesus said that loving God and loving others were the two greatest commandments (Mark 12.29-30), and then added a third (a new commandment) to love one another (John 13.35). All of these are a part of being disciples. But to make disciples, we also must lead. Or as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11.1)”.

So the four step in the process is to lead. As a pastor, an educator, a parent, a husband, etc., I am called to lead. But true leadership isn't for my benefit, it is for the benefit of others, and most importantly, for God. That is what it means to make disciples – to help others better know themselves in the context of knowing God, so that, in turn, they might make disciples as well by learning, living, loving, and leading others.

The problem is that in too many churches (and in all of life), the Pareto Principle is in play. You may not have known the name, but you are, perhaps, aware of the principle. Applied to a church, the principles suggests that 20% of the church does 80% of the work, gives 80% of the money, etc. But the Jesus principle is that 100% of His people are each to do their portion of the work (i.e. be the body of Christ) which means 100% of the people are involved in making disciples. And, I have yet to find the “Escape Clause” in the Bible.

Yes, including and involving others makes it more difficult to do certain tasks. But while that is true initially, over time, having more people involved means that more people are available either to help or to fill-in when others can't. And involving others might bring fresh insights as well. Furthermore, as we lead (make disciples) we realize how little we truly know (which is not the “Escape Clause”), which actually leads US to go back through the cycle as we learn more, live out what we now know, loving others as we do it, and then leading others. To me it seems that the Jesus Principle far outweighs the Pareto Principle.

Thus, as I approach the end of my fifteenth year of ministry, one of my goals for the next fifteen years is to help others break free of yielding to Pareto and take hold of following Jesus and more of His principles. After all, so many individuals have invested in me, how can I not do the same for others?

To do so, is a matter of paying something forward. But ultimately that benefit is not for me, nor for others, it is for God. And He has already made all of the payment that needs to be made! So, my doing is not because anything needs to be done. Rather my doing is in thankfulness for what He has already done – for as Christ proclaimed, “It is finished!”

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