Wisdom is different from information. In our internet-fed culture, information abounds but wisdom is seldom seen. When my two kids were in middle school and high school, I took each one separately to school one morning per week. We stopped for a quick breakfast at a fast-food restaurant and discussed for 15 minutes or so, a few verses out of Proverbs. We did this for all their years in these two schools.
Why did I do this? First it was for the relationship of a father with his growing child. Second it was to impart timeless wisdom. Check out Proverbs 1:1-7 to get an overview of what is available in Proverbs.
Below are just a few verses from Proverbs. Take a moment to read what is below and then ponder the questions.
“He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor Than he who flatters with the tongue. He who robs his father or his mother And says, “It is not a transgression,” Is the companion of a man who destroys. An arrogant man stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper. He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered. He who gives to the poor will never want, But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses. When the wicked rise, men hide themselves; But when they perish, the righteous increase.” (Proverbs 28:23-28)
Reflect on each verse then consider these questions for each verse
How does this verse apply to one of your current circumstances?
MentorLink was envisioned at a small gathering of thirteen leaders from twelve ministries. We met for four days and our goal was to answer the question, “How do we accelerate the development of Christlike leaders in the Body of Christ?”
We noticed that while the emphasis of most ministries was on gaining new converts and new churches, there was little intentional emphasis on building new leaders to disciple new converts or shepherd new churches.
Globally, the Body of Christ was and is in a leadership-shortfall crisis, and most are unaware.
Why is this happening? Because we are not following Jesus’ model of intentionally developing leaders for our ministries.
Jesus came to offer salvation to the world. He had such a burden for the whole world, the billions that have been and will be born, that He intentionally focused on building the twelve. His vision was for the masses who come from every tongue, tribe, and nation.
Yet Jesus did not develop leaders by the now-popular model of “content transfer” in large groups. He did not seek to mass produce leaders in large numbers through exposing people to His brand of leadership. His model was simple. He intentionally picked a few and invested deeply in them.
Intentionally building leaders is His heart and strategy. Should we do anything different?
The twelve were with Jesus. They saw how He did ministry and how He treated people. His tenderness, gentleness, and compassion for the poor and oppressed were evident. They saw His heart for the lost sheep and the masses without shepherds. He rebuked hypocrites and false leaders. They were with Him when He healed, raised the dead, and cast out demons. They learned sacrifice, suffering, obedience, and servanthood. They went through faith tests of being in a storm on the sea about to down and then saw Jesus still the storm.
Jesus didn’t focus on how-tos (programs, methods, or skills) but rather on heart, character, values, motives, faith, and leading in light of eternity among other things. We would do well to emphasize the same in our equipping. Then He commissioned them. There was an end to His training.
When Jesus began His public ministry, He knew the end from the beginning. He knew His season of public ministry would be short. He knew when and how He would be sacrificed for the sins of the whole world. He was not hurried but moved and operated with purpose. He was intentional about developing disciples and leaders. Many followed Him, and He turned none away who sought the kingdom.
He knew leaders could not be mass produced but could be developed with intentional effort. So He chose twelve from among His many disciples to be leaders and began intentionally training and equipping them. They began the internal process of becoming kingdom leaders. Among the twelve He also gave special attention to the three – Peter, James, and John. This was not by accident.
Take a moment to ponder this: Jesus was not hurried but moved and operated with purpose. How do you move and operate in your daily life? In what way(s) is God challenging you when it comes to the principle of intentionality?