Thursday, March 23, 2017

Using the 4Ls, Part 9 – Lead

This series of posts* is not designed for you to follow my example directly. Some may, and that is fine, but the main goal is to help the reader to identify a process and to use mine as an example. Of course, the 4L’s are designed to hold true for anyone, but how they fit the collective understanding of the 4L Model of Discipleship will need to be adapted into your own life’s goals and purposes.

*At the conclusion of this post, I have included links for each of the previous posts. Due to the length of this series and the frequency of referencing certain concepts in each post, this system will allow the present post to not be cluttered with an inordinate amount of links.

Over the past three weeks, the focus has been on being a disciple who is learning to live as a disciple by loving God and loving others. But Jesus’ call to “Follow Me” was not just for the benefit of those who choose to follow, but to those who need to choose as well. Of course, not everyone will choose to follow Jesus. Most did not do so while Jesus walked the earth physically, so most will not choose to do so today when we lives through us spiritually. But His call to follow remains, and, just as Jesus led others, so must we.

The primary passages covered at the outset of this series capture the idea of “leading” well. First, Matthew 4.19 contains the promise for His early followers to be fishers of men. That implies leadership, and the promise extends to us today – even if fishing does not appeal to you. The second verse, Matthew 28.19, is a command for Jesus followers to make other followers. This command doesn’t imply leadership, it makes it explicit. This is especially true when we note that making disciples is not only teaching others, but teaching them to observe – which means others must be shown how to observe – all that Jesus taught.

Thus, leadership is a requirement for a true disciple. Some may initially balk at this, but J. Oswald Sanders, in his book Spiritual Leadership, shares that while not all leaders are Christians, all Christians are leaders. This is so true. People are watching and our words and actions lead people one way or the other – toward Christ or away from Him. The question is not whether you are leading others, the question is how you are doing so.

For me, I keep two primary verses in mind related to this Step. The first is 1 Corinthians 11.1. Paul wrote to a church in Corinth that had all sorts of confusion about what it meant to follow Christ. His words here provide a direction – a guide – for the saints of Corinth. He wrote, “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ.” This statement is so rich. First, Paul takes the responsibility to lead the way. He is not perfect, but as Paul imitates Christ, he invites others to do the same – by following his example. This invitation is only possible as Paul continues to follow Christ, but he is resolved to do so, not just for his own purposes, but because he knows so many others are looking to him for guidance as well. That is the price of leadership, but Paul was a leader who welcome the responsibility because the stakes are eternal.

The second verse is Paul’s charge to Timothy to make disciples who make disciples. In 2 Timothy 2.2, Paul reminds Timothy that he has learned many things from Paul. Now, Timothy needs to teach others what he has learned, so that these others can, in turn, teach others still. I call this verse the 4G verse – as in 4 Generations. 4G is currently the fastest data can be transferred to/from cell phones across the phone network system. As long as one is close enough to the network, the data flows freely. The same is true for the Christian. If we are close to Christ, we should allow His message to flow freely – leading others who lead others, who lead others still. After all, if you are a Christian, that is why! Someone led you because someone led them, and that pattern flows all the way back to Paul telling Timothy in this verse because Jesus told the original disciples in Matthew 28.19.

So, how does this impact my Strategy, Mission, and Vision? Next week, I will begin to move back up the sequence and show specifically how that is done, beginning with my Strategy. But for now, let me jump to Vision. A couple of paragraphs above, I mentioned Paul’s writing to Corinth, and his invitation for the people there to imitate Him. This is only worthwhile if Paul is imitating Christ. But elsewhere Paul wrote to the Ephesians to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5.1-2). If you recall, that verse is the background for my Vision – to become the man God wants me to be. To do that, I must Learn to better imitate God as I Live out His commands to Love Him and Love others. As I continue to become this man, I must Lead others to do the same. Doing so is not easy, but it is commanded by Jesus and later echoed by Paul and others.

Being a disciple of Jesus is not just about learning from Him, it is about leading others to follow Him as well. Will you be a true follower? Jesus said we must count the cost, but He also promised He would be with us always, as we live for Him.

4L Model – Matthew 4.19
4L Model – Matthew 28.19 
4L – Spiral
4L – Vision
4L – Mission
4L – Strategy
4L – Steps
4L – Learn
4L – Live
4L – Love

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.