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Leading by Mentoring


A mentoring leader leads by leading people through a one-on-one ministry.  The mentoring leader is the teacher who makes disciples.  Elmer Towns defined a mentoring leader as one busy “training others who will someday continue the work he has begun.  This leader believes his work will be better accomplished if several people are trained as leaders rather than one person doing all the work himself.”  Therefore a mentoring leader pours his life into the lives of others for the purpose of raising additional leadership.  Jesus modeled the principles of mentoring leadership.  The leadership principles Jesus demonstrated are critical in mentoring others to become effective leaders.   Jesus gained loyal support and obtained great influence by personally investing into other’s lives.

The Significance of the Mentoring Process

Christ could draw a crowd.  Within the biblical narrative, numerous accounts indicate how multitudes gathered to hear the teachings of the Lord.  However, the majority of the Lord’s ministry was centered on the mentoring of 12 individual men.  Jesus considered His personal investment in the lives of 12 ordinary men very significant, if not absolutely necessary, if the world ever have a chance to hear a faithful presentation of the gospel.    No doubt the Lord realized that people would hesitate to minister to others if they were not prepared.  Surely Jesus also understood that equipping others would multiple the efforts of ministry greatly.  Mentoring others to lead in ministry is the only way to realistic way to evangelize the world in one generation.  Clearly, the Lord knew what He was doing for some 2000 years later His movement lives on.

How Jesus Modeled Spiritual Leadership

            Jesus modeled mentoring leadership.  In Coleman’s book, The Master Plan of Evangelism, he identifies steps Jesus used to teach His disciples.  First, Jesus identified men with great potential and personally selected them to be His disciples.  (Luke 6:13)  Jesus did not wait for His students to approach Him; He singled them out individually and invited them to join Him.  Second, Jesus gave considerable time to those he was investing in.  (Mark 3:14)  Christ desired an authentic relationship with those He poured into.  Third, Christ expected those who followed to be faithful.  (Luke 9:23)  Obedience was the litmus test for true love and devotion.  (John 14:15)  Fourth, Christ modeled mentoring leadership by demonstrating His love for them.  (John 15:13)  The love that Christ demonstrated was an unselfish love that gave regardless of the recipient’s goodness.  (Romans 5:8)  Fifth, Jesus led by example.  (John 13:15)  The Lord would only ask of His disciples what He was not willing give.  There was no double standard exercised in His life.  Sixth, empowered his disciples and gave them opportunity to share in real ministry.  (Matthew 10:5)  Jesus knew the power of delegation.  Delegating relieves part of the heavy burden for one and instills confidence to perform for another.  Seventh, Christ overlooked the ministry of His followers.  (Luke 9:10)  The Lord positioned his disciples for success.  He would never leave them to struggle on their own nor forsake them to wallow in their failure.  He always kept a watchful eye.  Finally, when his disciples had been faithfully trained, the Lord commissioned them to reproduce themselves by mentoring others.  This process of multiplication has shown to be the Lord’s method of influencing the nations for His cause.

Principles of Mentoring Leadership

Jesus implemented principles to effectively lead by mentoring others.   These principles are easily identified.  To mentor effectively one must first identify one to be trained and invite him to participate in training.  Once someone has been selected, spend significant amount of time with the individual with hope leadership characteristics can be identified and immolated.  Next, seek a commitment to the cause for which one is training.  Once this commitment is secured, invest.  Invest time, share knowledge, communicate experience and impart wisdom.  Demonstrate how to lead others by leading well.  Modeling effective leadership can teach what to do just as exhibiting poor leadership will instill what not to do.  Allow the student to gain confidence by delegating responsibility.  Oversee the students work but do not overshadow their work.  The idea is to allow the disciple to take personal ownership in order to gain needed experience.  Training is not completed until a commitment to reproduce themselves is embraced and implemented.


Jesus led by leading people through a one-on one ministry.  The leadership principles Christ implemented are critical in effectively mentoring and can be used today to make faithful disciples.  Mentoring leadership allowed Christ to gain influence and achieve loyal followers.   Much can be learned by the Lord’s example.  Christ purposely sought out men to train as disciples.  Jesus identified their leadership potential and invited them to learn under His authority.  Christ spend many hours investing into there lives.  He imparted all that He could and challenged them to do the work that He had taught them to do.  Once their initial training came to an end, the Lord commissioned his disciples to make more disciples.  “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”  (Matthew 28:19-20)  Today, the Lord continues to oversee the work of His remarkable mentoring ministry established years ago.