Every spiritual leader is responsible to develop the Timothies in their lives. Spiritual leaders have an obligation to lift those they love and lead. The very definition of “Spiritual Leadership” implies the function of helping people discover God’s purpose and calling upon their lives. In episodes 115 and 116 we discussed the first two of three vital relationships every leader must have, and this week we discuss to need and the obligation to lift the next generation of leaders.

Continue reading for the article and episode notes…

Three Vital Relationships Every Leader Must Have: Someone You are Lifting

Spiritual leaders have an obligation to lift those they love and lead. The very definition of “Spiritual Leadership” implies the function of helping people discover God’s purpose and calling upon their lives. In episodes 115 and 116 we discussed the first two of three vital relationships every leader must have, and this week we discuss the need and the obligation to lift the next generation of leaders.

Ministry is always done in the context of a relationship. Discipleship, leadership development, mentoring, lifting “Timothies, whatever you call it, is not something we can do only from the front of the room. It involves personal contact and involvement

So, who are the Timothies in your life? How do you speak into their lives and make yourself available to them?

Jesus Modeled Disciple Making and Leadership Development Through Mentoring

Jesus modeled disciple-making and leadership development in the way he called and developed his disciples. He first invited them into close proximity with himself so they could observe his character (John 1.38-39), then he called them to commitment (Mark 1.16-20), next he called them to apprenticeship to learn ministry (Mark 3.13-14), and finally he called them to draw from the strength of the vine and multiply (John 15, Matthew 28.19). The Gospels not only tell the story of how Jesus developed leaders, but sets the pattern for how spiritual leaders today are to develop the next generation of leaders. It goes to mission: Every leader must seek out “Timothies” into whom they can say, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (I Corinthians 11.1, NIV).

A “Paul” Desires Success for Those They Lead

A “Paul” desires the success of those they mentor and lead. A father or mother seeks opportunities to pour something into a son or daughter. A father or mother looks for opportunities to bring correction for strengthening without crushing. A spiritual father or mother cares about their stewardship over the flock of God, but not to the exclusion of his or her son or daughter. Our motivation toward a son or daughter in the faith, be it in correction or in encouragement, is love and growth.

Think about this, even though Paul was Timothy’s mentor (and leader), in six New Testament epistles Paul poses his introductory remarks as coming from both he and Timothy, thus positioning Timothy as a pastoral leader to the recipients (2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon).

Bruce Winston in Be a Leader for God’s Sake, stated, “You must love someone so much that, within the framework of employment, you care enough to learn the gifts of the individual and draw out from them what is good and what fits the needs of the organization.”  

A spiritual leader’s calling is equipping, that is, developing other leaders to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4). Take time to speak into the lives of the leaders you are called to develop, it is non-negotiable for that individual’s ministry and relational success.

Typical Concerns in Mentoring/Coaching Timothies

#1 Identify your Timothies and the Nature of your Relationship with Them

As we work with people at different levels of development, it actually lifts us personally.  A “Paul” needs “Timothies” in his or her life to provide reverse mentoring. Seeing things from a less experienced persons perspective, or a younger person’s perspective, is of great value to a leader. 

Where are those we need to pour into? 

  1. Our daughters and our sons
  2. Staff members or employees
  3. Those who might benefit from our life, leadership, and spiritual experience
  4. Our “bullpen” — those we are developing for leadership assignments

Will your relationship be formal or informal?

Formal relationships require parameters, schedules, and intentionality. Informal mentoring relationships may be “catch as catch can,” or initiated one meeting at a time and left open ended. 

Determine the nature of the relationship, what both “Paul” and “Timothy” are trying to accomplish, and then proceed accordingly with an intentional plan. 

#2  Formalize your Intentions

Key considerations in formalizing a process include:

  1. 1.What you are trying to accomplish?
  2. 2.How you will know when “it” has been accomplished?
  3. 3.The path you plan to take to accomplish your goals.
  4. 4.When and where you will meet?
  5. 5.How often you will meet?

What are you trying to accomplish?

You cannot “coach to the wind.” Mentoring and coaching are different, but in both cases, you have to have some sense of why you are meeting and what you are trying to accomplish. 

When establishing a Paul/Timothy relationship, determine the goals of both the Paul and the Timothy and write them down. Those goals can develop and change as the relationship changes, but you need to know what you are trying to accomplish. 

How will you know when you accomplish it?

A Paul/Timothy relationship grows and changes over the duration of the relationship. The leadership and personal development journey includes teaching, mentoring, coaching, and releasing

What paths must you take to accomplish the goals?

The “Paul” and “Timothy” will work together to determine appropriate paths. The path may include the reading of books, times for reflection and planning, templates and guides for transformation, and other spiritual and personal leadership development tools. 

When and where will you meet?

If something isn’t on the calendar, in a regular slot, it is not going to happen. Once you determine what you are trying to accomplish through the mentoring and coaching, schedule appropriate time for the investment. 

How often will you meet?

For staff members, an hour every other week seems a minimum. For some mentoring relationships, an hour a month may suffice. Consistency is critical for the transference of values and vision and for the development of a leader. 

You can teach hundreds by delivering information in a non-interactive setting, but you can only mentor and coach a few at a time. 

#3  Be Holistic: Concern yourself with The Entirety of their Life and Leadership

A spiritual leader must concern themselves with the health of spirit, soul, and body. We are many parts, but every part contributes to the whole. It may be that the discipleship will focus on just one area or aspect of their lives, but usually all areas of a person’s life interact. This is not prying in a person’s private life it is holistic application. 

Use a life plan template and encourage the “Timothy” to consider carefully their values and vision as it relates to each of the following areas:

  1. Spiritual life
  2. Life passion (vocation, calling, and personal mission)
  3. Resources
  4. Relationships
  5. Life Path: Life development and strategic plans
  6. Life Practices: The actions, habits, and practices necessary for forward movement

#4  Follow Christ’s Example: Intentionalize their Four-Fold Development

Discipleship involves teaching, mentoring, coaching, and releasing. Discipleship, in the context of a Paul/Timothy relationship, is leadership development.

A disciple-making leader needs to define the paths for teaching, mentoring, coaching, and releasing. 

  1. Teaching: Usually high in directives and low in relational interaction. How will the necessary information be delivered to or obtained by the Timothy. Paths include classes, seminars, educational pursuits, self teaching, small groups, etc. 
  2. Mentoring: Usually high in directives and high in relational interaction. How will the disciple be mentored? Who will mentor them? Paths include observation, one-on-one interaction, mentoring groups, etc. 
  3. Coaching: Usually high in relational interaction and low in directives. Coaching is helping a disciple process what is already in them. How will the coaching be delivered and who will provide it? Coaching considers actual situations and responses for adjustment and refocus. 
  4. Releasing: Allowing the disciple to engage in ministry (or life) with minimal directives and with less ongoing conversation. 

#5  Recognize Success: Define the Parameters for their Release

Defining release parameters includes defining expectations, their present reality, and the path between where they are and where they hope to be. 

Templates and Paths for Intentional Paul/Timothy Relationships

The following questions might help facilitate the regular one-on-one meeting.  

  1. Tell me what is happening in your spiritual journey?
  2. What is God saying to you? Tell me about a scripture that is really speaking to you right now?
  3. Have you been taking your weekly Sabbath?
  4. What is happening with your family? Are you giving them adequate attention? What adjustments do you need to make?
  5. Tell me about a couple of victories you’ve encountered over the past couple of weeks?
  6. What are your top three agenda items for the next two weeks?
  7. What can I do to help you move those things forward?
  8. What questions do you have of me? How can I help you?

In addition to these sample questions, the senior pastor might want to assign a book for the development of the staff person for discussion in their meetings over several weeks or months. 

Consider your pastor/staff relationships. Are they like employer/employee relationships or do they take on a position of love and mutual concern? Some relationships simply do not lend themselves to a father/son kind of relationship, but every pastor/staff relationship should, at very least, reflect the developmental intentions of a concerned spiritual leader.

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