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  • Writer's pictureJulian Clark

Leadership vs Discipleship

Leadership or discipleship ~ which comes first? Was Jesus making disciples when he asked 12 young men to follow him or was he developing young leaders? If they do, how do these compliment one another?

We are not defined by our title or position, we are defined by our relationship with Jesus and everything He has done for us. When God sees us He doesn't see the title, He sees us as redeemed, set apart and made righteous by the work of Jesus on the cross.

'The primary purpose of our leadership is to make known the glory of god by leading others to flourish in God's design'

In other words, there's more to this leadership lark than just getting stuff done. As Christians who are also leaders, maybe God's expecting a little bit more from us. Perhaps, it becomes less about us and our success, not that God doesn't want us to be successful, and more about others, and seeing them flourish, in their relationship with God and the plans and purposes He has for them.

So, the big question is how can we do the leadership discipleship thing better?

Understand we are followers first. Out of the strength and health of this key relationship, all other relationships will be impacted for the better. The influence we allow Jesus to have on our lives will have an impact on the influence we desire to have on others. We cannot lead to our fullest potential by not being the best follower first.

To follow Jesus is our primary calling, while what we get to do as a career or in ministry is secondary.

Remember being with God always trumps doing for God – Pete Scazzero says this is in his book Emotionally Healthy Leader. The worry is that if we become too task-focused we are in danger of getting everything mixed up. God does have a desire for you to succeed but more than that, He has a desire to spend time with you. If in doubt, remember, being in His presence wins every time.

Lovingly allow God to have full access to your life. This is the essence of being a follower of Jesus and in all honesty, we do this well and very often, we don't do this well. We love that Jesus is our Saviour, yet we struggle to allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives. We forget how our lives are not ours we have been bought for a price.

Let God in, give way to His leadership in every part of your life, no holding anything back, no trying to cover up, and no keeping secrets. Such a lifestyle is exhausting and in reality it's not possible either but we all do it. In all our doing, let's endeavour to be more open to God moving in ALL of our life.

Stay rooted in the Bible and directed by the Spirit. I love to read leadership books and they are helpful, there is a lot of wisdom and ideas in them. My personal challenge is to not read them at the expense of reading the Word, or hearing from God, or asking for His leading, to know what He wants and to be led by the Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 1:7a in The Message version tells us to 'Start with God - the first step in learning is bowing down to God'. Plus James encourages us to ask for wisdom when we need it because as much as we need earthly wisdom, we need godly wisdom more.

Be marked by servanthood. Anyone can be a leader because anyone can serve. People are not resource, they are people, with real lives and with real issues going on. Let's be leader who drive them less and be more focused on coming alongside them. Be active about knowing them better, about understanding what's going on in their world.

When was the last time you prayed for them? How could you serve them today? When we ask these questions of ourselves we will be less likely to complete tasks at the expense of your friendships and relationships with those on our teams.

Be a disciple who leads. Be a leader who disciples others. Be a leader who is helping others to grow and flourish in every aspect of their life. It is the best kind of leader to be.

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