God helps leaders fight the good fight and multiply.
Knowing that fighting the good fight requires a multitude of leaders and that leaders sometimes become casualties, great leaders are those who intentionally reproduce themselves.
Eventually, all of us will be called home, so who will be there to take our place?
Paul had Timothy and others prepared to replace him. Elijah prepared Elisha. Moses prepared Joshua and Caleb. Jesus had the Seventy, the Twelve, and the Three prepared when He ascended to heaven.
Great leaders don’t leave behind a vacuum waiting to be filled by the devil’s counterfeits, but they work hard at multiplying qualified replacements who are ready to expand the kingdom of God throughout the world.
My understanding of this crucial maxim once prompted a memorable conversation with my son. As he neared graduation from college, I shared some family history that I hoped would make a point. I admitted to my son that I had failed as his father many times, and I asked him to forgive me.
Then I explained to him that despite my failings, he had been given a better father than I had been given. I quickly explained that the same had been true for me – I had been given a better father than my dad had been given. And his father, who was my grandfather, had been a better father than the father he had been given. I knew this from the history of spiritual growth in our family, which had occurred as a result of Christian discipleship over many generations and God’s merciful faithfulness within a covenant family.
In the same way, the church as the family of God must be committed to the reproduction and multiplication of leadership. One of the main reasons good churches decline in subsequent generations is because they have failed to disciple effective leaders who can take the church and its mission forward to extend the kingdom of God.
Satan gladly fills the leadership vacuum with false teachers who cause the devolution of the culture and a death spiral in the ministry. So leaders who want to see God’s blessings extend ‘to a thousand generations’ must commit themselves to the biblical principle of leadership multiplication.
The mark of great leaders is not the number of their followers, but how they attract and intentionally develop the next generation of leaders.
This book excerpt was adapted from 3D Leadership by Harry L. Reeder III, with permission from Christian Focus Publications.
Dr. Reeder has served for almost 20 years as senior pastor of the 4,000+ member Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, birthplace of the PCA denomination. His radio ministry, In Perspective, is broadcast on stations nationally. Through Briarwood’s Embers to a Flame ministry, Reeder and the ministry leadership team teach, coach, and mentor church leaders across the country and around the world. Pastor Reeder and his wife, Cindy, live in Birmingham, Alabama.
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