I want to share something that has made a huge impact on my life today. This has been something that empowers me and gives me a strong community. Today I want to talk about small groups. Often times we can feel disconnected or alone, and this is a dangerous place to be. Satan loves to prey on the lonely people. I know this because for a long time, I felt lonely. In middle and high school, I didn’t fit in and hadn’t found my tribe. Spiritual attack was more difficult and temptation grew stronger. Then I entered into a small group, a group of brothers my age that loved me and held me accountable for what I was choosing to do. I entered into a circle. See for a long time, the church has just been about rows; listen to the pastor and try to remember what he said two weeks from the message that spoke to your heart. We’re human, we don’t always remember messages, but when we enter a circle, we enter a dialogue. We become an active participant to God’s greater plan for our lives.
The other day I was reading through Lead Small Culture, and there was a section that basically jumped off the page to me. The quote said, “If you believe the scope of your influence is determined by the success of your leaders it should motivate you to empower the leader so they can lead.” Such a powerful statement about our responsibility we all have as leaders, raising up another to have them lead. After this I began reading in Timothy, which is a book of the bible where this idea is shown again. 1 Timothy 6:11 says, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.” The book was a letter written by Paul to his apprentice Timothy, who was essentially being given responsibility to lead the church that Paul could not go to. This relationship is a beautiful picture of how we are to do the same in our own lives, raise up leaders of the next generation so that when we step down, they can take the mantel of responsibility. Now you might be thinking like me and saying I’m too young to raise someone else up because I’m being filled by others. Think through this I came to the conclusion that that’s exactly why we should pour into others! Young, old, extraverted, or introverted, we all can do this. I’d like to share a few of the reasons why we should and its’ value that I think is the reason we should empower others.
We have been called to it.
The great commission was to make disciples of all nations, that means lead others to Christ and empower them to lead. If you eat a good restaurant, most likely you would tell everyone you know to try it. So why don’t we do that with our faith? We have something that blesses us like no other, we need to share it! That’s the first step, and after as you spend time and see their potential, empower them to lead. Everyone has potential, no matter how young or old, they have been made in the image of God. They were made to do great things. That’s why we have been called to raise leaders, so that there can be a continuous cycle of creating leaders to create more leaders. As you empower leaders, it will spread like a virus (in a good way) to those they empower and so on. You have been called to raise leaders.
We won’t last forever.
This is the weird one, but trust me, it’s the truth. At some point in our lives, we will not be as influential as we once were. It’s a hard truth, but it’s also not saying you will be irrelevant, you will still matter. Our ability to influence the majority on the other hand, will start to dwindle. Raising leaders of the next generation will tap into that influence, they are more in touch with the current majority and will have fresh ideas for the church and just general leadership. You will still be influential to those leaders, but you will step out of the spotlight and make room for the next generation of leaders, all while helping them do what you know they can do. When do you begin to fall away from the high level of influence to the majority? I don’t know, I am currently twenty years old, I am a young leader who is still growing himself. I don’t have all the answers, but I believe God has given me discernment to see what will happen to myself as a leader, which is why I am mentoring students and I believe they will become great leaders as I move away from the spotlight. Don’t wait to raise leaders when you feel like you are losing influence, start today.
We will help build the kingdom.
This is the last and most important reason, raising leaders will build and strengthen the kingdom of God. This is so important leading back to the great commission that Jesus called us to, we need to build the kingdom by raising up leaders and mobilizing them into their lives to share the word. That’s the mission we all have, to share with others how Crist has moved and shaped our own lives. As a small group leader in both elementary and high school next gen ministries, I love helping students take the next step in their faith. Whether that means beginning a relationship for the first time, getting involved with serving, or even just learning how much God loves them, all of it drives me to be the best I can be and help them in any way. You can help the people around you take the next step that God has set out for them. It will take courage and wisdom of Christ’s word to do it, and you will see the effect it will have.
I hope this encourages you to look at those around you that you have the ability to influence and empower. Some first steps to doing this would be leading a small group or mentoring someone that you think has potential to do something great. They don’t have to be students either, that’s the ministry that I have been called to. For you it could be your children, a new co-worker, or a friend from church that looks up to you. Remember that we have been called by God to make disciples of all nations, I am thankful for the people that believe in me and mentor my walk in leadership, people like my dad or Seth Tanner. Even the people who guided me in the past like my middle school pastor Marshal Johnson or my eighth grade small group leader Mikey D, all of these people led or are leading me in my walk into leadership and ministry that my heart yearns for. It was simple things and the fact that they go out of their way to speak life into me. That is why we need to empower others, because they will change the world, and they will change it because they are made in the image of God.