Everyone wants to have a fruitful life and ministry. But that's only half of our mandate. God wants us to be "fruitful AND multiply" (Gen.1:28). He desires us to reproduce ourselves in others "after our kind".
Great leaders are able to train others to join them in ministry and thereby multiply their ministry impact. God is calling church leaders to make a leadership shift where they see themselves as equippers, not only ministers. Each leader needs to take on the role of a coach, who empowers others to reach their ministry potential. This is leadership the way God designed it.
Church leaders must also help their congregations make a ministry shift where they see themselves as contributors, not only consumers. God has a vision, a dream and a destiny for each individual person and this includes a significant contribution to the local church.
Jesus is an exceptional example of someone who effectively multiplied his ministry by building a team of ministers (Matt. 4:18-22).
Here are four things Jesus did to multiply his ministry:
- Gather People. Jesus called people to be a part of his mission. He said, "Come follow me." He gathered, attracted and recruited ordinary people to do extraordinary tasks. We too should start by seeking to gather people who have potential. To attract them we must love them and show genuine interest in their lives. Develop an attractive personality. Be someone that people want to be around. Think about what draws you to others and develop those qualities. Think about what repels you from others and avoid those traits. Work on your weaknesses! Become a "people person".
- Motivate People. Jesus then motivated his followers by saying, "I will make you fishers of men." Jesus focused on their potential, not their past. He called them from where they were and gave them hope and a vision to do something significant for God. Today, we live in a world of hopelessness where people often just exist or try to get through life. There is frequently a lack of motivation, enthusiasm or excitement for life. Church leaders need to help people see what they can become in God, not just what they are right now. Believe in people and help them to believe in themselves. People often rise to the level of the encouragement they receive. Church leaders need to be the greatest cheerleaders of the people in their congregation. Help people to see themselves as God sees them. Motivate others by being motivated yourself and through positive words of encouragement.
- Train People. Jesus was committed to helping his disciples reach their destiny. "I will make you fishers of men." He didn't just gather them and motivate them with empty hype. He was willing to train them and help them develop their potential. Here is a simple training model. First, lead by personal example. Do (or be) what you want others to do (or be). Next, give them practical instruction that shows them how. Then give them an opportunity to try it for themselves through personal application. Finally, give them some appropriate feedback. People can learn to do things they never dreamt were possible when someone simply shows them how through effective training.
- Mobilise People. Finally, Jesus mobilised his disciples by sending them out to do ministry. He didn't keep them in school forever. He gave them opportunities for practical implementation of what they had been taught. It's not enough just to gather, motivate and train people. We must put them to work. People need outlet and challenge. Believe that God has a specific ministry for each person. Then help them find their place and begin to function. People need to do something with what they have been taught and make an important contribution. This is not the last step. The act of gathering becomes a regular part of the disciple-making process as you gather people together for feedback and further training. Then the cycle continues with further motivating, training and mobilising. Throughout the process you need to ask questions and give appropriate feedback to coach them in their personal and ministry development.
You will probably have a natural ability to do one or two of these tasks really well. The other tasks you will find more difficult. For example, you may be a good gatherer but not a good motivator or you may be a good motivator but not a good trainer. Effective leaders intentionally strengthen their weaknesses or build a team around them to complement their ministry gifts.
The harvest is huge. The need is great. Jesus did not suggest that we pray for a bigger task or a larger harvest field, as if the Great Commission is not challenging enough. He told us to pray for more labourers – more people who will take up the challenge of working for the expansion of the kingdom (Matt. 9:36-38).
You can multiply your ministry impact through an ongoing commitment to gathering, motivating, training and mobilising others into ministry. Be fruitful and multiply!