I work with some really great national guys. Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pipen, Balin, and others are some of the best. We often talk about discipleship in our line of work. Discipleship is what we are commanded to do- we have to be a disciple and we are called to make disciples. To be a disciple of Jesus is to be a follower of Jesus. It means to walk in His ways, to do His will, to have faith in Him that whatever happens His plan is the one we are sticking to. In order to be a disciple we have to know what His ways are. We have to study under Him to know Him well. Too many people stop here. They learn about Jesus but they don't walk His walk. Knowledge without life is more than useless, it is death. We need to learn about Him so that we can act just like Him. In the West too often discipleship is thought to be a one hour Bible study or reading a good book. These things could lead to discipleship but as yet they are far from it. Following Jesus actually becomes real as we make decisions based on our relationship with Him. This has far more to do with going left instead of going right for the sake of Jesus and His Kingdom than how many Scriptures one has memorized. I have seen many very good men and women pour their lives into others only to see them become dependent, hesitant, faithless, gutless non-followers of Jesus. Why?
I think the crux of the issue is this; we make followers of Jesus and not followers of ourselves. I have told all the guys who work with me that we are not to refer to other people as 'our' disciples. We are to make disciples of Jesus. The best way to insure this is what some people call high trust. High trust means that we invest others with a lot of trust and control. We do not control others, we pray for others and let Jesus be in control. If you think about the kind of leader that Jesus was I think you will understand what I am talking about. Jesus sent out his men to do ministry long before they were what we would call ready. He taught them truth, lived truth in front of them and then sent them out. They went out proclaiming the Kingdom and healing and casting out demons even before they saw his resurrection. They let him down, they were faithless, they even deserted him, but that did not stop Him from entrusting the ministry to them. They taught, healed, baptized. It is impressive if you think about it. This is the kind of leader, discipler I want to be.
One day I was out with the team and we saw a house burning. We stopped and it was an amazing scene. Two rooms of a large home were engulfed in flames. Two boys- perhaps teenagers at most- were pouring buckets of water on the fire. A huge crowd of at least thirty or more neighbors were gathered around standing there watching with their hands in their pockets. I surveyed the situation and then I called the guys as they came in behind me. I had them get all the neighbors into a bucket brigade and then I found the breaker box and turned off the electricity (it turned out to be an electrical fire and no one had thought to turn of the fire source). We put out the fire before the fire department even arrived. We left and the guys took away a lesson far better than a one hour study could provide. Since that time we have helped in two other fires, taken countless sick men and women to hospital, and generally served wherever we have seen a need. I say we but really the guys have done most of this without me. Each week I send them out to do the projects, share their faith, and make a difference in the villages we work in. I hold them accountable but I trust them to do the job, spend the money, get the receipts, and make the reports. I modeled for them and now they do- and do and do and do.
In many ways this sounds simple. But in reality this was years in the making. It took time and hard work to follow God and let Him create for us a situation where we could work together like this. I credit my own leadership as well. It was Southern Baptists who sent me out with a God-sized task of getting to Gondor and impacting it with the Gospel. My boss did not think I could do it but he believed fervently that God could and he sent me out with his blessing. Over the years I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. I have been held accountable for how I spent it but I was always supported to spend it how I thought it would be most beneficial. Sometimes we did things that were illogical or appeared non-strategic, but if I said that God was moving us to do something then I was supported to do it. This is high trust. The result has been that I am more than I was when I started this job. The men I have worked with are certainly more than they were when we began working together, and the men and women they work with are becoming the Children of God even as I type. High trust comes with high risks but if you want to see God move in peoples lives there really is no other way to do it.