Successful Leaders Produce Successful Leaders

Successful Leaders Produce Successful Leaders

Written By Phil Kell

Successful Leaders Produce Successful Leaders

Leadership, in its simplest form, merely requires a leader and some followers; successful leadership, however, requires much more. A great leader must have the ability to recruit other strong leaders and help them succeed. 

Jesus was the ultimate leader. He inspired his followers with his teaching and miracles. When Jesus found someone that He wanted on His team, He challenged them with two simple words.

“Follow me.”

…and most of them left everything to follow Him.

Now I know the customs of the time played a large part in how a spiritual leader enlisted followers in Jesus’ day, but there is a very basic leadership concept found in these two simple words: “Follow me.” A successful leader must believe enough in his or her mission that they are willing to look other gifted people in the eyes and challenge them to “Follow me.”

Paul used the same approach with younger leaders in his day. My favorite example is found in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” (NIV)

So here is a simple question for you.

Do you believe enough in the mission God has given you that you are willing to look other men and women in the eyes and confidently ask them to follow you as you follow Christ?

You should.

My father was a Southern Baptist pastor in California for over 40 years. He wasn’t flashy. He wasn’t a great visionary leader. He never claimed to be anything more than just a country boy who God called to preach. When it came to calling others to follow his leadership, however, my father was one of the best pastors/leaders I ever saw.

The process started with sharing the gospel confidently, which he did. But it didn’t end there. As soon as he led someone to Christ, he began to pray about how that person could help the church fulfill its mission of making disciples. One of those new believers was a young man named Vaughn.

After Vaughn graduated from college, his first job was working with my father in the Humboldt County Probation Office. Vaughn was not a believer when they met, though it wasn’t long before my father was talking to Vaughn about Jesus. In time, Vaughn gave his heart to the Lord and joined our little church.

Vaughn hadn’t been a church member long before my father asked him to lead a ministry for boys called Royal Ambassadors. Vaughn’s immediate reaction was, “I can’t do that.” My father told him not to worry. He would train him. So every week, they would meet and go over the material, then Dad would lead the class as Vaughn watched. Later, Dad let Vaughn lead a portion of each class. It wasn’t long before Vaughn was leading the classes himself.

Though Dad didn’t use the words “follow me,” in essence, that was what he was saying to Vaughn.

Today Vaughn is in his 80s, and he still looks back on his ministry with those boys as one of the highlights of his life. I look back at those years fondly as well because I was one of those boys.

If space allowed, I could tell you of others my father trained up to become leaders in the church. They were just ordinary people, but somehow my father saw potential in each one, and he was confident enough to approach each one with the challenge to follow him as he followed Christ.

Where did his confidence come from? My father wasn’t the most talented pastor. He simply never doubted his God, his calling, or the importance of the local church. So, he was never shy about growing individuals into positions of leadership within the church.

So let me ask you again:

Do you believe enough in the mission God has given you that you are willing to look other gifted people in the eyes and confidently ask them to follow you as you follow Christ?

If not, ask God to give you the confidence and conviction. If He has called you, He will answer that prayer.

And remember, you will never be a truly successful leader until you learn how to produce other successful leaders as a part of your ministry.

About the Author

Phil Kell
Planned Giving and Legal Consultant, CSBC

Phil Kell serves as the Planned Giving and Legal Consultant for the California Southern Baptist Convention. He holds a Bachelor of Science from California State University Sacramento, a Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, as well as a Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) from California Baptist University. He and his wife, Debbie, have been married for almost 50 years, and together they have 4 daughters and 7 grandchildren. Phil and Debbie are members of Woodward Park Baptist Church in Fresno, California

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