Raising up other leaders lightens your load and multiplies your impact.
Although it tremendously eases our work load down the road, the reason why we often hesitate to invest in potential new leaders is because it increases the amount of our work this week. It’s easier right now to do things myself. It takes time to invest in others and involve them in ministry and leading. But if we don’t invest in potential leaders now, our work load will grow as our influence grows.
Jesus’ life demonstrates the power of investing time and attention in others. He poured his energy into a very unimpressive handful of people and through them changed the world. Are you following his example and strategically investing in future leaders?
You might be thinking, But how do I do this? What does this look like?
I am going to address two questions—the “Who?” and the “How?” I’ll talk about the “who” in this post, and we’ll look at “how” in the next one.
The most pivotal question related to multiplying your impact is, “Who should I invest in?” Here are four important principles that I have learned are pivotal in choosing who to invest in.
- Look for several future leaders, not just one. The apostle Paul told Timothy to invest in “reliable people.” (2 Timothy 2:2) Notice that this is plural. Don’t invest in just one person. Who are several people that you can develop? We often think of leadership development as a one-on-one process, but it’s not. It is more effective and more efficient to do one-on-three-or-four.
- Look for reliable people. Paul used just one adjective to tell Timothy what to look for in people. We are to look for reliable people. Who reliably shows up for your small group or your ministry team? Vineyard leader Rich Nathan says, “A lot of ministry is just showing up.” Who can you rely on? My former boss Ralph Neighbour used to tell our team, “The greatest ability is dependability.” Don’t look for amazing gifting. Look instead for consistent reliability.
- Look for hungry people. I like the way that discipleship author Greg Ogden puts it. He says to look for people with “spiritual velocity.” It doesn’t really matter where they are on the spiritual growth continuum. What matters is that they are hungry for more of God and his purposes for their lives.
- Pray. Jesus spent a whole night in prayer before choosing his twelve disciples (Luke 6:12-16). Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to lean on God instead of our own understanding. Don’t just go on your own hunches or intuition. Choose who to invest in prayerfully and carefully.
Aside from taking time with God, investing in future leaders may be the most strategic investment of time you can make.
Who do you sense God calling you to invest in? What questions and insights do you have on raising up new leaders?