Apostle Paul was comfortable using various analogies to describe how he interacted with people ranging from being a father, a mentor and even a mother to many! His apostolic building mandate included investing in others. Whilst we would probably all agree that conferences and programmes have their place, nonetheless we would also assert that our churches grow by investing in people and as we seek to help them achieve their leadership potential we will see growth. The following are just a few principles on how we can create a ministerial framework to invest in people and see our people develop as Kingdom communities.
Apostolic leaders invest the following Ten Graces into their people!
1. LOVE GOD AND GIVE HIM PRIORITY
There is no more potent a “draw” than the presence of God in the midst of His people. If we give God precedence, then we can expect that Jesus will draw men, women and children to Himself. A church devoid of God’s presence will not be attractive to seekers or believers! Valuing God’s presence will cause our churches to be Christ-centred, God-reliant and transformational. I place the context of valuing God’s presence in light of Christ’s teaching concerning the two great commandments to love God and to love people (Mt 22:37-40). God’s presence releases His glory in our midst and His glory transforms lives and nations.
2. LOVE PEOPLE AND PRIORITISE PEOPLE ABOVE PROGRAMMES
It seems an obvious thing to say but loving people is an essential element of church growth. It is ever true that people are not interested in how much we know until they know how much we care. It is not enough just to assign people to ministry task if we truly want to see them develop. What happens in the pulpit is important, but making time to be with people beyond the platform is essential. For instance, taking a mentoree to lunch can be every bit as significant in developing relationship and helping that person attain their full leadership potential. People are not pawns to meet our ministry ends no matter how noble those ministry objectives may be. We are entrusted to develop maturity, calling, gifting and character in others. Christ’s words are a strong NT exhortation to respond to the command to love others (Jn 13:34).
3. MODEL WHAT YOU HOPE OTHERS WILL REPLICATE
Who we are in Christ is what we will reproduce in Christ. As leaders we have a responsibility to love God, self, and others. We ought to model commitment to spiritual disciplines e.g. prayer and the Word of God and obedience to God’s will. Our character should reflect a servant heart, mercy, grace, diligence, self-discipline, fruits of the Spirit, integrity etc. We need to make room for the unique expression of Christ in others that we mentor, train and parent. It’s important that we are secure enough in our own walk with God that we do not coerce others into becoming “mini-me’s” in ministry. When Paul told Timothy to imitate him, it was in the context of becoming Christ-like not for the purpose of creating a diva-esque caricature of himself. Paul spoke as a spiritual father and the apostolic ministry embodies this same heart and mind. A teacher will train you for success but a father will train you to be his successor. Apostles are concerned with generational succession and with creating spiritual legacy.
4. MAKE DISCPLES NOT CONVERTS
Jesus instructed us to make disciples not coverts but all too often people make commitments to Christ and enter the Kingdom only to be left in the hallway of conversion and tragically they are not ushered into a full and fruitful life of discipleship of knowing Christ and making Christ known. As leaders we need to remain strategically intentional and active about equipping, investing, training, mentoring, modelling, coaching and delegating those whom we invest in. This means we must also employ wisdom in how and to whom we delegate. May our barometer for ministry “success” be measured not in church numbers but in church health.
5. LOVE PEOPLE ENOUGH TO TELL THEM THE TRUTH IN LOVE/GRACE
It takes the love of God to speak truth to others – both truth that affirms and truth that might sting like cathartic healing salt in a wound, still Jesus teaches us that we are to be salt and light. When Simon Peter understood by revelation that Jesus was the Son of God, he was commended by Christ and the Lord affirmed him and went on to declare his destiny. Conversely, when Simon misunderstood significant spiritual truth just moments later and contradicted the “things of God” Jesus rebuked him sharply. There was no lack of love in Christ’s latter words to His disciple. Jesus’ relationship with Simon created a grace space from which Simon could be mentored in truth and love. Like all of us, Simon needed a reality check in his perspectives from time to time and Jesus loved him enough to be a rudder in the storm and keep his zealous young disciple on track. As leaders we must also love our people enough to speak with the Father’s heart. Oversight and Holy Spirit insight are entrusted to us as we raise others up in the Kingdom.
6. BE AUTHENTIC AND COMPETENT AS A LEADER: WALK THE WALK AND TALK THE TALK – BE REAL
Fake leaders are miles away from being true Kingdom disciplers – they are all noise and no substance. Competency and authenticity mark a man of woman of God in maturity. Our willingness to create opportunities for accessibility with those in whom we invest is an important element in their spiritual maturation especially those whom we view as spiritual sons and daughters. I am not just interested in my spiritual children, I am invested in them. I don’t just know them, I know about them. I have been in their churches and homes, I have met their families, I have preached in their churches. We have prayed together, laughed, wept and contended for the Kingdom together. They are written on my heart and are the result of the ministry God has entrusted to me. Like Apostle Paul, we must recognise in humility that our competence as leaders comes from God (2 Cor 2:6)
7. HELP PEOPLE TO DISCOVER THEIR CALLING, GIFTS, SKILLS AND FULFILL KINGDOM POTENTIAL
Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, “As a prisoner of the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” (Eph 4:1) Many people are unsure of their calling. The apostolic perspective and leadership skill set enables gifts and calling to be identified and nurtured in others. When a person understands their calling they will pursue their destiny with vigour and faith and will enter into receive breakthrough quickly. Notwithstanding God allows us seasons of preparation such as he did for Joseph in the pit, Potiphar’s house, the prison and finally as Prime Minister over Egypt.
8. RAISE MATURE SONS AND DAUGHTERS IN THE FAITH (NOT BABIES)
Ephesians 4:11-13 clearly outlines that Jesus has given the full representation of Himself to the church in five ministry “offices”, which are given to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up , brought to unity in faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and attain maturity. God is not looking for babies; He is looking for mature sons and daughters of the faith and it is incumbent upon apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists and teachers to ensure that those being prepared in ministry reach maturity in Christ. Maturity is an indicator of an ability to be a weight-bearing Christian. Those who are mature can be entrusted with responsibility and authority in God’s Kingdom to raise mature sons and daughters and effective Kingdom teams.
9. BUILD TRUST AND CONFIDENCE INTO YOUR PEOPLE
Moses was a strong leader and during times of intense enemy opposition he led from the front, whilst at the same time mobilising the entire people of God in strategic battle formation. Nehemiah was able to instil trust and confidence in his ministry partners and team. He was confident as a leader that the hand of God was upon him and would enable him to complete his rebuilding assignment. People need their leaders to be a true source of inspiration and Godly vision, wisdom and compassion. When we communicate a clear call from God, with competence and God reliance it has a catalytic effect on those whom we lead and inspires faith and longevity. As leaders we must help people see beyond themselves and to “go into all the world.” We must share vision, develop partners and delegate authority and responsibility with wisdom and discernment and in God’s timeline.
10. RAISE LEADERS WITH A KINGDOM MINDSET AND VISION FOR TRANSFORMATION
Jesus did not say preach the gospel of the church. He said, “And the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Mt 24:14) Whilst the church is God’s main agent for change we cannot limit the gospel of the kingdom to being the gospel of the church otherwise we will fail to positively impact, influence and affect kingdom transformation in each of the seven cultural mountains. It’s important that our vision is not just about what we want to do but that vision also communicates what we are to become e.g. a kingdom movement for transformation. The spiritual DNA of our visions must communicate God’s kingdom.
In the end it’s simple – love God, love people, see potential in everyone and find a need in community and meet it!
- Catherine Brown
Founder/Director Gatekeepers Global Ministries
Co-Founder, Scottish Apostolic Network
Apostle Catherine Brown is the founder/director of Gatekeepers Global Ministries. She is a strategic Kingdom builder who ministers internationally working alongside individuals, churches and marketplace leaders assisting them in discipleship, strategizing, training, leadership development and community transformation. She is a prolific author and has recently published, “Simply Apostolic” Volumes 1, 2 and 3. Catherine is also a businesswoman and oversees a developing beauty, heath, and well-being venture.