Once a farmer found an abandoned eagle’s nest. To his surprise, there was still one egg left inside. Upon touching it he realized it was still warm, so he took the egg back to his farm and laid it in the nest of one of his hens. The egg hatched and the baby eagle grew up along with the other chickens. It pecked about the farmyard, scrabbling for grain. It spent its life within the yard and rarely looked up. One day when it was very old, it lifted its head up and saw above it a wonderful sight—an eagle soaring high above in the sky. Looking at it, the old creature sighed and thought, “If only I’d been born an eagle.”
The tragedy of this story isn’t that a chicken wished it could be an eagle, but that an eagle spent its whole life thinking itself to be something that it was not and wished it could be something it actually was.
Try This! ❯
Have at least one conversation this week with one of your leaders about the Christian life being one big “game” of “follow the leader.”
About now you may be wondering, “What does this possibly have to do with ministry?”
There are an overwhelming number of people and ministries who fail to see themselves properly. They look up wishing they could be something else and forget what God has made them to be.
Who you model matters. The Christian life can be understood as one big “game” of “follow the leader.” As a ministry leader, there are people looking to you for inspiration and as an example. Whether you realize it or not, many of your students and leaders will like what you like, dress how you dress, believe what you believe and live how you live! This is a remarkable responsibility that you have as a leader—the power to influence and demonstrate the beauty and power of a Gospel Advancing life. If personal evangelism and relational discipleship are priorities for you, personal evangelism and relational discipleship will be priorities for your students and leaders. If prayer is a priority for you, then prayer will be a priority for those who follow you.The Christian life is one big “game” of “follow the leader.” Click To Tweet
Follow the Leader
The disciples spent three years following the one true leader, Jesus. Once they were indwelt with and empowered by the Holy Spirit, they exploded onto the scene as replicants of Christ. In fact, they left such a deep impression with the people they met that they were given a nickname—Christians. The term Christian means to be “like Christ.” To be called a Christian within the first century meant that someone considered you to be like Christ. What an honor!
In order to be a good leader we need to follow Christ. But as we are following Christ, we must encourage others to follow our own example as well. Paul explained it this way to his own followers in Corinth: “imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). He understood that Christianity is about following the leader. Jesus also followed the leader. Jesus followed the Father: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does” (John 5:19).
As leaders, we need to figure out ways for our students and leaders to follow in our own examples. If you want your students to learn and grow in relational evangelism, try inviting them to an evangelism opportunity, then lead. (If you need help prioritizing evangelism in your ministry, click here). Remember, we can’t expect for our teenagers to know how to prioritize prayer and evangelism in their own lives if we aren’t modeling a Gospel Advancing lifestlye ourselves. This is why Jesus served as the perfect example. He showed His disciples what it meant to advance the gospel, be a servant leader, love the lost and live a life that glorifies God.
Set the Pace
It’s up to you to set the pace. For instance, think of a runner training for a 5k. If they are trying to get a good time for the race, they need to set a goal. When they run, every second counts towards achieving their goal. If they aren’t getting the right numbers, they need to recalibrate their timing in such a way that as the minutes roll by they are achieving the right amount of distance. In a similar way, you want to be setting the pace for your ministry. The goals are always the same—Gospel Advancement—but the pace that you are going at can be different.
Maybe you are starting a brand new ministry or are walking into a ministry that has been stagnant for years. Start small by introducing new ideas and opportunities. You could start with THE Cause Circle or teach the GOSPEL acrostic to your students.
Following the leader isn’t a trendy ministry strategy, it is a lifestyle committed to Christ. Help your students and leaders raise their sights. They are more than just chickens! Show them that “those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles…” (Isaiah 40:31). The beauty of a Gospel Advancing Ministry is its power to radically transform the lives of anyone who comes into contact with it. Take some time this week discussing the importance of following the leader with your own leaders, so that all of you actively modeling how to follow Christ as He follows the Father.