“Let your life be a stepping stone to Christ and not a stumbling block.” 1 Cor. 8:13 & 10:31

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify God who is in heaven." Matt. 5:16

Leadership is Integral to Discipleship

By Bruce Witt

Discipleship is fundamental about leadership. Every disciplemaker fills the role of leadership as a “Paul” for the “Timothy”, yet the true leader is Jesus Christ working and using the Paul to teach, train, and ultimately transform the Timothy. The Paul is a vessel or conduit for the Lord to flow through to bring love, grace and the word to another man’s heart. Leaders are God’s instrument to bring the gospel to the world through the process of disciplemaking.

Paul was very clear in 1 Cor 3:6,7, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”  Literally the verse we are nothing outside of playing a role, but it is God who causes the growth. He makes the transformation possible. We participate in God’s bigger plan and purpose. Those who we disciple are the Lord’s disciples.

Jesus taught in the upper room about who does the work in ministry (discipleship and evangelism), John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”  Apart FROM Christ we can do nothing!! As a disciplemaker we are simply branches through whom Christ flows to bear much fruit.

Too often we take on too much of the responsibility and/or ownership of the discipling process. We think we bring more to the table than is reality (if we don’t do it – who will? The Lord needs me!). The Lord has the disciple’s best interest at heart far greater than we do and He is working all the time to bring about growth and change. The Lord uses disciplemakers (leaders) who are available and willing to invest in others.

Discipleship happens when we allow Christ to lead through our brokenness and surrender, modeling a process of following, serving and influencing. God goes to work growing up the next generations of disciples. This gives greater meaning and context to the passage from 2 Timothy 2:1,2, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

We so often quote 2 Timothy 2:2 as THE verse for discipleship – and it truly is a picture of how discipleship works – one person investing in another to 4 generations. Interestingly, we also need to consider the context of the verse in two ways as it relates to leadership:

  1. These were Paul’s very last words to Timothy, the very last letter. Paul was a leader investing and giving his final instructions to Timothy who was already a leader at this point. The letter is an encouragement for Timothy to step into and fulfill the role of leadership that Paul is leaving behind. This was leadership development. (Leader to leader and life to life)
  2. Paul tells Timothy in verse 1, to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus”. This speaks to intimacy and spiritual depth as a disciplemaker and implies that it is Christ who will be working through them to impact the Timothy. Spiritual work and ministry comes from a source of intimacy.

Leadership and Evangelism

All of what we say about leadership and discipleship applies also to our role in evangelism. The Lord is the one who draws the lost and He is the one who gives eternal life to the saved. Christ is the one who died on the cross for all sins - offering forgiveness to all. (John 3:16)

God uses us to point the way to another person of how to be saved from death and destruction, we are the light in the darkness, yet, He is the light in us shining through us (Matthew 5:16). Again we participate and the Lord uses us in a role of leadership / evangelism while He is the source of power, life, and growth.

Leadership Revolution’s vision and mission is to transform each of us to be the servants and vessels for God to have full use of to bring a lost and dying world to Himself.

We unleash the life, leadership, and power of Christ and the gospel through every follower to transform lives, families, businesses, and communities. We provide a revolutionary experience, message, and process of mentoring, coaching, training, and roundtables. Your life and impact will never be the same as Christ leads in and through you to reach a world in desperate need.

Bruce Witt is Director of Leadership Revolution – Establishing Christ As Leader