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The lack of attention and energy placed on leadership development is most discouraging to me. Remember, the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. In our travels around the world, my friend and ministry partner, Tamrat, and I continually face the same everywhere. Leadership development is possibly the greatest need. We believe this need is best me through giving ourselves to the process of making disciples of Jesus. We are clear and stubborn about this in our thinking.
Sadly, ministry workers around the world believe the ‘gold standard’ for leadership development is to be found in what’s happening in US ministries, yet it is not happening as they believe it is. This is only a rumor emanating out of the wealthy United States. There are mega Churches where you can point to thousands of followers, but where are the leaders? (And, even the number of followers has had no net growth in decades!)
This is why I’m unpacking the faulty mindset that exists in the US Church model-the consultant mentality and the show mentality. Now, let’s move into the 3rd ingredient that makes up this faulty mindset. When I ran my observations by another close friend and ministry partner, Dr. Jim Schmook, he readily agreed and added a critical insight. Jim says: “A celebrity consultant has no time, nor will want to devote the time, to truly develop leaders and true followers of Jesus. That takes time and commitment. These guys are often seen as awesome Bible teachers. They may have never trained or led any disciples or leaders personally, because that requires a very different type of commitment. As you repeatedly point out, ‘Jesus committed 3 years of his time to work with only 12 guys, leaving behind a group of catalysts who could carry on the message of building the Kingdom here and now.'”
Jim goes on to say: “Our society, including Churches, is moving rapidly toward simplistic, instantaneous solutions. We have moved from a Search for Meaning into a Search for Mediocrity, and a fascination for, and entrancement with, “talking heads”, in media, in politics, and maybe now even in the pulpit. No depth needed or wanted; surface veneer is acceptable; no comprehensive competency required; celebrity consultancy is acceptable. They are wanting simple and easy, when actually, the right answer is simple and hard. Jesus plus nothing is Simple, but Hard. You have to work at it. It’s not just saying I’m a follower of Jesus. It’s living every day as a follower of Jesus.”
We’ve surrendered to the toxic poison of the soul. It’s called mediocrity….