Max De Pree wrote, “One becomes a leader by doing the work of a leader.” [“Leadership Jazz,” The Leader’s Companion] Jesus modeled leadership with the disciples. He provided an example for them to follow; he taught them about the mission of the church; and he challenged their presuppositions. Each disciple ultimately assumed a place of leadership in the early church based on his or her talents and strengths. Jesus’ example indicates that the greatest reward of effective leadership is watching followers become leaders.
When teachers accept the leader role, they begin to see their members as more than students. They understand that teaching is creating an experience in which a person changes in some lasting way his knowledge, understanding, attitudes, skills, and values. What a great reward! Lives are changed.
When shepherds accept the leader role, they see their members as more than friends and ministers. These leaders put others first, even above themselves. They overlook the wrinkles and the quirks of a person and love them just as they are. This love transforms their followers into a team of people who are willing to go outside the walls of the classroom to take a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name. And people lives are changed and transformed. What a great reward!
Churches are desperate for teachers to accept their role as shepherds and leaders. These teaching-shepherd-leaders who follow Jesus’ example are focused on accomplishing the task through ready and able followers. These leaders understand that it lifts the organization when members are formed, conformed and transformed into a mighty army for the Lord. What a great reward!
David Francis and Ken Braddy, authors of 3 Roles of a Group Leader, conclude their book with the statement, “The reward is great for the one who guides a group well as a teaching-shepherd-leader.”
Lead in such a way that Jesus will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” The greatest reward of all!
Mark Miller is the Sunday School specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Mark is married, has three beautiful daughters and has been known to enjoy a round of golf occasionally.
Mark also has his own blog at drmmiller.org.