Last week we talked about the Church as a Leadership Factory – a place where we make disciples. Disciples? Well, those are, according to the Greek of the New Testament to be “students,” “pupils,” “apprentices” to a great religious teacher. In the Christian realm, it means we are students of Christ.
He calls us to be disciples – first to come to Him in salvation, second to become more like Him, and third to continue to make disciples. We are supposed to be disciples…and make other disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). This is our calling.
Interestingly, this would be most difficult to do if we were not leaders.
Leaders – now that is a term we should probably understand as well. First, being a leader does not always mean we stand in front of and give guidance to large groups of people on a regular basis. It does not necessarily mean that we hold some position or title. It simply means that we live out our lives the way we are called, and through that we lead others to Christ. This is our primary objective as Christians.
Me? Well, when I was young, I thought for sure I would be a missionary. I knew it in my heart. Telling the world about Jesus in another country? Now that would be awesome! We all know that I am a military wife – not what I would consider an amazing foreign missionary the likes of Corrie Ten Boom. I struggled with this for a while – wasn’t I supposed to tell people about Jesus?
I have a wonderful friend who set me straight. She is a missionary – the kind I dreamed about being. We had a chat one day as I listened to her amazing adventures. We also talked about friends from college who had gone on to pastor churches, lead women’s ministries, and all-around do amazing things for the cause of Christ. I was feeling a little inferior. Here I am – just a military wife.
JUST A MILITARY WIFE.
That is when she figuratively bopped me in the head. I am a missionary, I do share Jesus with others – my mission field just looks a little different than theirs. I am a leader in the place He has planted me. I may not stand in front of thousands of folks or travel to far off lands, but I still lead. I lead in the way of Christ.
He led too. Do you remember?
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:1-17)
He led right to the feet of the apostles. He led by serving.
We lead too, whether we like it or not. People are watching – what do Christians do? How do Christians act? Where do Christians go? We can lead others to Him or away from Him. We simply have to choose.
God calls us to follow His example, to become more like Christ and leading others to our Savior. The church? Well, the Church is supposed to be developing those leaders, disciples, helping and challenging Christians to become more like the One who saved them. We become leaders by learning to serve. Loving people because God loved them first.
We are leaders – all of us – wherever God has planted us. Missionaries. Pastors. Parents. Friends. Military Wives. Are we leading others to Him? Are we part of a church that is doing the same?
How would you define leaders? How would you define disciple? Who are you leading and where are you leading them to?