• Jesus taught the multitudes, and that was one component.
• He mobilized the 70, which is another component.
• He trained the Twelve, and He confided in three.
• Pastors need an intentional strategy for investing in others.
Nearly two decades ago, the WWJD? craze swept the nation. Books, buttons, wristbands, paperweights, posters, shirts and dozens of other products in the Christian market challenged believers to think about a single question: What would Jesus do?
While the fad has faded over time, the question is still worth asking. According to author and leadership expert Michael Hyatt, understanding Jesus’ approach to leadership can make a big difference in a pastor’s ministry.
“Jesus didn’t appoint pastors to do all the ministry,” Hyatt says. “Ephesians 4 says that He appointed some as pastors to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. And when you jump over to 2 Timothy 2:2, you find leaders who are faithful pass things on to other leaders. The only way to scale is with a team.”
The principles of building a team are incredibly important for effective ministry leadership. Pastors are leaders, but they are also human. That means their resources—including time and energy—are limited. To increase their personal ministry impact, they need to invest in other leaders and create more hands to carry the load.
Hyatt points out that while this approach is practical, it’s also biblical. To find out “What would Jesus do?” in the area of leadership, you only need to look as far as the gospel accounts. Jesus was the master of personal investment and delegation.
“Jesus basically had a four-pronged leadership strategy,” Hyatt points out. “He did teach multitudes, and that was one component. He mobilized the 70, which is another component. He trained the Twelve, and He confided in three.
“It didn’t look like it made a lot of sense for Jesus to give as much time as He did to the Twelve when there was such a vast multitude that had needs. But He realized that if He did that, He would ultimately change the world.”
The challenge, of course, is discovering where each person fits in the strategy. You don’t want to miss out on an “inner circle” kind of person, but you also want to avoid giving a “multitude member” more access than is appropriate. Those kinds of decisions can be tough, but Jesus’ own example encourages leaders to be proactive rather than passive.
“Jesus didn’t wait for people to come,” says Hyatt. “He went out and chose the Twelve. He took the initiative. As a leader, you have to do that. You don’t just take anybody who walks in your door.”
Hyatt practiced what he preaches when he worked through an intentional process to identify a group of 12 people he would mentor. The potential mentees had to fill out an application to express interest. Then Hyatt prayed over the applications to seek God’s wisdom—much like Jesus did before He called the Twelve. Finally, he whittled the list from 80 prospects down to the list of 12.
Following Jesus’ example leaves room for pastors to continue reaching out to the masses and equipping the 70. That’s important. But it also ensures that one’s greatest amount of energy will be focused on the key leaders who will extend the ministry—and 12 and the three.
“As a pastor, you’re ministering to people,” Hyatt explains. “You’re talking to anybody and everybody. But that’s very different from the people you’re going to mobilize, the people you’re going to train, and the people you’re going to confide in.”