What does the Lord want me to do with my life?
Does God have a plan for me? How can I serve Him? Soon after conversion, such questions about God’s will in the life of a new believer begin to tug at the heart.
We all possess God-given natural talents and at salvation when we place our faith in Christ the Holy Spirit equips us with unique spiritual gifts. Endowed with such abilities we begin to find fulfillment in the abundant life through our labor in Christ as we serve God and others in ministry.
Notwithstanding these individual talents, gifts and calling, there is one particular mission the Lord Jesus Christ entrusted to every believer in His church. We find it in Matthew 28:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
-Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV
Observe that the imperatives to “go” and “make” are more than just requests, they are commands.
The church’s mission, therefore, is clear: we are called to reach the world for Jesus one person at a time. In other words, the body of Christ is mandated with the Great Commission and every believer has a personal responsibility to participate in the mission to go and make disciples.
With such a command from the Lord placed upon every believer’s obedient heart, the words of the prophet Isaiah are as relevant today as they were in his time.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.””
- Isaiah 6:8 NKJV
But before we go… we need to clearly understand what making disciples entails, particularly the leadership responsibilities associated with it. Failure to do so would be like going into battle without a plan.
In the secular world a leader is identified by position, status, benefits of office, and title. Leaders are expected to possess certain traits such as honesty, integrity, confidence, courage, accountability, and teamwork, to name a few.
But God does not determine a leader based on qualities that appeal to the popular choice of man. Looking, for example, at God’s choice of David as the next king to replace Saul (1 Samuel 16:1-13) we can get some insight into God’s thinking.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””
-1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV
The same is true of our Lord Jesus – His notion of leadership as expressed in His teachings and exemplified by His choice of disciples adheres to the same concept.
Every leadership role, as a function of its mission and goals, requires unique abilities. The commander on the battlefield needs courage and stamina; the Chief Executive Officer of a corporation must possess a strong business acumen; the aircraft captain must be skillful and remain calm during in-flight emergencies; the pastor of a church must be grounded in the Word of God, always caring lovingly for his flock, and leading with a humble heart.
So it is for the disciple maker who must also possess specific attributes to address the special needs of the Great Commission.
Learning from the Master
In all aspects of the Christian life, our primary source of wisdom and knowledge should always begin with Christ – our perfect example. As Jesus launched His ministry we see him hand picking every disciple and, over the course of the next three and half years, he transforms them into disciple makers perfectly equipped to train others to carry the precious message of the Gospel.
The Lord’s method for training and leading his disciples into becoming such bold proclaimers of the Truth was simple and effective. Proof positive of His success is evident in that, to this day, the good news message of salvation continues to propagate to the ‘end of the earth’ and new disciples are made every day.
In Leadership Qualities of a Disciple Maker (Part 2) we will turn to our Master Teacher and see what we can learn about how He applied His leadership style to His simple plan.