Raising Next Generation Leaders
By Pastor Jong Duterte
E.M. Bounds, in his classic book on prayer declares, “What the church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Spirit can use – men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men –men of prayer.”(E.M. Bounds, POWER THROUGH PRAYER). This is still true in our generation. When churches and organizations are looking for newer and more effective methods, we seem to forget that the key is still the leader. God is still asking the question the prophet Isaiah heard – “Whom shall I send?” God intervenes in history by choosing a key person who shall be his follower, leader, spokesman, prophet. The impact that we are going to have in our present generation will depend on the kind leaders we have today. The survival and continued growth of WIMO will depend on the kind of leaders we raise tomorrow.
THE LEADERSHIP OF JOSHUA:
THE KIND OF SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP WE NEED
IN OUR GENERATION
I do not have to elaborate much when I say that we live in desperate times. All the institutions that have provided stability to our society are deteriorating. The Family as we know it, is disintegrating: two out of three marriages end in divorce (in the Philippines we have a softer term called annulment), there is an ongoing battle to change the definition of marriage, etc. Many children in the Philippines are growing without full parental care because of employment abroad by either or sometimes both parents. The government is plagued with corruption and a continuous cycle of scandal upon scandal.
The church has suffered the same fate. Warren Wiersbe, in his book The Integrity Crisis, said “before the church told the world what to do and how to behave, we are living in a time when (because of the scandals) the world is telling the church what to do and how to behave.”
We are losing influence in our generation! Facing the problems of our time, we can try to search for new solutions and new methods or we can go back to the same question and strategy that God used – “Whom shall I send?” We need to start asking some serious questions: like “What kind of leaders do we have to be in order to have an impact in our generation?” And “What kind of leaders we need to raise in order to ensure our future strength and growth?”
The Bible character that is the inspiration for this study is Joshua. What is so special about Joshua that makes us realize we need more of this type of leader and worker in our midst? First of all, Joshua was a man called by God and trained by Moses.
HE WAS A LEADER CALLED BY GOD (Joshua 1:1-8)
The kind of leader that would impact our generation must have a strong sense of God’s calling in his life. This calling would provide the leader with the inner strength that would be necessary if he is to have influence.
A Leader with a Promise from God (Joshua 1:3-4). Joshua exercised confident leadership because he received a promise and an assurance from God. His success will not be because of his own efforts but because he is a person called by God. As leaders, we are also given the promise of God’s presence and provision, this sense of calling from God should give us confidence as we go and fulfill our mandate.
A Leader with a Mission (Joshua 1:6) “….you will lead these people to inherit the land I will give them”. The mission given to Joshua was to bring the people to a position wherein God’s purpose will be accomplished in their lives. Oftentimes we are tempted to be everything to the people we serve to the point of burnout, exhaustion and exasperation. The mandate to Joshua should be a reminder to us that our main mission is to bring the people nearer to God. We just have to trust God that He will do his work as we do ours.
A Leader with Strength and Courage (Joshua 1:6-7). Battles would be a staple part of the life of Joshua. He was first mentioned in the Bible as Israel was about to fight Amalek. Since that time, Joshua would be fighting battles until they settled in Canaan. As leaders, we too would be facing battles and struggles. The question is not if but when. Any cause or mission that is worthwhile must be fought for. We should expect battles on many fronts : from within us as we battle temptations, from among us we deal with sin, ego, different personalities and interests; from outside of us as we deal with ungodliness and injustice. This is a certainty: the leader who makes an impact for God’s cause will be attacked! God’s encouragement in these verses is not just for Joshua but for all of us. Be strong and of good courage!
A Leader with Discipline (Joshua 1:7-8). The inner strength of a leader comes from his spiritual disciplines. Here Joshua was commanded to set his priorities straight. The real battle of a leader is not what happens on the outside but that which happens in the heart. Joshua was commanded to talk about the Word, to obey what is written in the Word, to meditate on it at all times. These spiritual disciplines will ensure that God would always be at the center of his heart, his actions and his words.
A Leader Rewarded with Success (Joshua 1:8). In the life of a believer, success is the result of faithful obedience to the will of God. “In whatever man does without God,” wrote Scottish novelist George MacDonald, “he must fail miserably, or succeed more miserably.” We must remember that the standard for success in the kingdom of God is different from the world. As far as God is concerned, the successful life is the life lived in dependence upon God and obedience to His word. The promise of God for his leader is that it is He who rewards our faithfulness and we can be assured that nothing escapes His notice. In the end, God will accomplish the purpose by which he sent you as His leader.
We, as leaders, need to go back to the spiritual principles set forth in the Word. We need to go back to our calling, re-examine our mission, revive our spiritual disciplines, find our inner strength and courage and believe that God will reward us with success as we set out to impact our generation.
THE DISCIPLESHIP OF JOSHUA:
RAISING LEADERS WHO WILL IMPACT THE NEXT GENERATION
Everyone who makes it has a mentor. – The Harvard Business Review
Joshua, as great a leader that he was, did not achieve success on his own. He was mentored and guided by another great leader named Moses. It would be safe to say that he owes a great part of his achievement to this godly man who nurtured and trained him.
” Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: “I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’” (Deuteronomy 31:1-2, NIV)
…. “Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8, NIV)
THE CHARACTER OF MOSES
Through forty years in the desert, Moses guided, nurtured and trained this young warrior to someday take his place. Sadly not all leaders are as effective as Moses in training people who will come after them.
What made Moses effective in mentoring Joshua? Here are some of his qualities:
- He had an intimate relationship with God. (Exodus 33:11)
- He worked in partnership with God. It is recorded several times in the Bible that the actions of Moses towards Joshua were prompted by a leading from God.
- He knew that God’s program extended beyond him. He knew that his leadership was subordinate to the glory of God and the plan of God for His people.
- He did not look at himself as indispensable. He knew that his time of service is limited and He took the necessary steps to ensure that the realization of God’s plan would continue beyond his life.
- His security did not depend on his position. He did not look at Joshua as a threat to his significance as a leader. His significance rested on his relationship with God not on his position as a leader.
THE PROGRAM OF MOSES
The relationship of Moses and Joshua demonstrates several principles of nurturing leaders.
Selection: The process of training Joshua started when he was chosen by Moses among the leaders in Israel (Numbers 13:1-2, 8). Raising leaders begins with the selection of a few people having the heart to follow God. You need to identify who your leaders are and who among those you lead have the character to rise up in leadership.
Association and Demonstration: Moses took Joshua, developed a relationship of trust with him and allowed him to observe as he demonstrated up close the ropes of his ministry. “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.” (Exodus 33:11 NIV) These close encounters between Moses and God would definitely impact his ministry and leadership later on. Two principles of mentoring would emerge from this passage: 1) The nurturing of leaders happens in the context of a personal relationship. Discipleship is caught, not merely taught. 2) Demonstration is the transference of attitudes, skills, and knowledge. The transference happens as we ourselves live these out in the observance of our disciple.
Delegation: Moses gave opportunities for Joshua to practice his leadership under his authority. In the Battle with Amalek, Moses would demonstrate to Joshua that the key to victory is not what happens on the battlefield but what happens on the mountain – on the spiritual level. As a principle of raising up leaders, delegation means leading the disciple to a guided experience by combining helpful information with actual practice. So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him. Numbers 27:18-20 (NIV)
MULTIPLICATION: He let go
Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: “I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ Deuteronomy 31:1-2 (NIV) This may be the most difficult part of raising a Joshua – releasing our authority and letting our disciple take the reign and accepting the fact that our part is over.
“That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel;
and they revered him all the days of his life,
just as they had revered Moses.” (Joshua 4:14, NIV)
“A work originated by God and conducted on spiritual principles
will surmount the shock of a change of leadership
and indeed will probably thrive better as a result”
(J. Oswald Sanders Spiritual Leadership, p. 132).