Unless you are a leader of leaders you are not great. You are not the best. You might be smart, might be capable, might be charismatic, might be charming. However, if you are not leading leaders you are not reaching your potential. Your greatest calling is to raise other people to become leaders.
I will tell you the number one reason that most leaders do not raise up leaders. That most pastors cannot point to another pastor they have raised up. The answer is simple and stark: laziness. It is hard work to do it.
John Maxwell tells the story of a pastor who quit the ministry, and because of links to the funeral industry, started a new job as a funeral director. He said “I spent three years trying to help Jimmy, but Jimmy was still an alcoholic. I spent a year trying to help Steve and Susan’s marriage, but they still divorced. I spent two years trying to get Rob off drugs, but he is still on drugs. Now, when I sort them out at the funeral home, they stay sorted”. Yes – dealing with the dead is harder than dealing with the living, but it is not as rewarding.
Living humans need constant work. Just when you think they are getting somewhere they take a step backwards, and listen carefully – developing and raising up people is a whole magnitude harder than just nurturing and comforting people. Any fool can prophesy, but to pastor and raise up pastors takes energy, will, effort and care.
We must go beyond caring for people and helping them grow. We must stop focusing on people’s needs and focus on their potential. It’s more than relationships, it’s transformationships we need – relationships that transform people and bring them to the next level of leadership.
I am not a manager, I am not a repairer of broken machines, I am a pastor, and I am a leader and I raise up and bear the fruit of leaders. I am not here to maintain Tree of Life until I die, I am here to multiply it, I am not here to establish anything, I am here to release something. That is the challenge for every leader and pastor, and one we absolutely must take seriously.
It’s great to help people but how about we mentor them. It’s great to meet needs, but let’s shape characters. Some people will sulk when you give them what they need not what they want, do it anyway. It’s about growth that spans generations. Too many churches pass away when leader #1 passes away, but the truth is there is no success without a successor.
It is hard work to do this but the survival of the church is utterly dependant on it. Stop being a poor leader and start being a great leader. Help others be their best self, develop good character, and reach potential.