Dr. Al Mohler is the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His interests appear to include: reading, classical music, ties, and world affairs.
Jay-Z is one of the most prolific rappers of the last decade. Jay is known for his platinum albums, flashy lyrics, Illuminati allegations, and being a hip-hop mogul.
Yet, these two men share a common skill. Although these men have pursued radically different goals, and have vastly different worldviews, these men have the unique ability to raise up leaders. They both share a reputation for identifying promising talent and then putting time, energy, and resources into developing these future leaders with the hope that one day they will go on to do great things.
Jay-Z has helped to provide a platform to cultural celebrities such as Kanye West, Rihanna, and Young Jeezy. Just to be clear, these artists do not represent the best that common grace has to offer in promoting the true, good, and beautiful. Regardless, they are massive influencers in the world of hip-hop and pop culture around the globe.
Dr. Al Mohler has been pivotal in identifying and shepherding leaders that now find themselves in key positions of leadership across the evangelical spectrum in America. Mohler has worked to raise up leaders such as Owen Strachan, executive director for CBMW, Russell Moore, the President of the ERLC, and Greg Thornbury, the President of King’s College.
The pursuit of biblical manhood rests on the assumption that a man has decided that he wants to lead well. God has designed men to lead out in all areas of life and he has ingrained multiplication into his creation. In the home, men are meant to lead out in multiplying through procreation and demonstrating discipleship to his family. At work, men are meant to lead out in multiplying by being faithful stewards of the resources and people entrusted to his care. In the church, men are meant to lead out in multiplying by making disciples and training up the younger men as Paul trained Timothy.
Godly men are committed to, among many other things, the pursuit of identifying, training, and raising up other men to lead well. Dr. Mohler applies this insight to leadership within an institution in his excellent book, The Conviction to Lead, in discussing “the Leader’s Legacy.” He says, “The leader bears the responsibility of building a leadership team of outstanding individuals who fully share the leader’s convictions and vision.” (Conviction to Lead, 210)
So, what’s the difference between the kind of leadership development we see from Dr. Mohler and the leadership we see from Jay-Z? Jay-Z develops artists so that they can increase his influence, wealth, and brand. Dr. Mohler is developing leaders that can extend deep Christian conviction and vision into all spheres of life.
So, how do we bear the responsibility for training up leaders and releasing them to be men of conviction who lead well across a variety of spheres? How can we share in the privilege and responsibility of seeing holy convictions perpetuated among those we seek to encourage, train, and send?
1.) We Identify Leaders
I do not mean to suggest that there are only a select few that deserve our attention. Rather, I want to remind you that you cannot be a formative influence on the lives of everyone. You will need to be strategic with how you identify leaders.
Begin by looking at home; the children that the LORD entrusts to you are your first priority. Your sons and daughters have been given to you so that you can lead the way in demonstrating what it means to treasure Christ, be wise in your dealings, and live with open hands. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Then look at your church; there are young men who need you to speak into their lives. Surely Paul encourages the young ministers, Titus and Timothy in his letters to them both. He also challenges them to set aside leaders who can teach and disciple future leaders.
Then look to your community and career; whether you choose to mentor the fatherless or encourage the young employee, God has entrusted you with leadership so that you might develop leaders in the context where God has placed you. James 1:27 urges us to be mindful of caring for “orphans and widows in their affliction.” Orphans and widows represent a segment of the marginalized, and in these days where fatherlessness is epidemic, represent an opportunity for men to mentor, love, and provide for the most vulnerable in our cities. Consider joining a mentorship program and playing the long game of discipleship and relational investment. Or, think on the young men who work in your office. How could you serve these guys while being watchful for those that gravitate to your leadership?
2.) We Train Leaders
We demonstrate that leadership is a lifestyle as we encourage young men to lead in every sphere of life. I serve in vocational ministry, but I disciple guys who are in art, business, seminary, both married and unmarried. If I demonstrate by my actions and words that God only cares about leadership in one sphere of life be it the home, the church, or the community, they will be left with a lopsided view of leadership. Their ministries, callings, and ability to lead well will be thwarted by my example.
Many of the disciplines and rhythms of leadership are common to all spheres of life. The discipline of daily time with God will give confidence to the leader as he leads his family, leads his employees, or serves the church. The discipline of stewarding our finances well will give us the ability to provide for our family, meet ministry needs as they arise, and give faithfully to the work of God in our local churches. When we discipline our body, we increase the vitality and longevity of our leadership.
Training leaders is much more than giving them a few books. Training leaders is more than giving them your time, for you can spend all your time with a young man and never begin to work intentionally to see his character formed. Training leaders is a process by which we actively seek to see those under our care reach a place where they can exert a kingdom influence over those persons and resources under their care.
3.) We Raise Up and Release
Bad leaders can’t get anyone to follow them. Good leaders can get people to follow them. Great leaders can help develop other people worth following.
If a leader assembles an organization of gifted men and women, only to never allow them to take the reins of leadership, he has lost the potential of perpetuating the convictions he helped shape. As Mohler reminds us, “There are no indispensable people, only indispensable convictions. The convictions came before us and will last when we are gone. Truth endures when nothing else can.” (Conviction to Lead, 202)
If we identify leaders and pour time into cultivating them, then we must be prepared to release them. When Jesus released the disciples, he was sending out leaders who He had called and equipped to preach the Gospel. When we plant churches, we are sending out leaders who have been called and equipped. When we send missionaries, we are sending out leaders. If we are not committed to the task of leading those under our care, taking the time to develop them into leaders, there will be no one to stand up and say, “I will go.”
Will you be counted among those who take the time to identify and develop leaders? Call it childrearing at home, call it discipleship in the church, call it professional development at work; whatever you call it, be a part of extending the influence of “indispensable convictions” for generations to come.
Kyle Worley is Connections Minister at the Village Church in Dallas, TX. He is the author of Pitfalls: Along the Path to Young and Reformed and blogs regularly at The Strife. He holds a double B.A. in Biblical Studies and Philosophy from Dallas Baptist University and an M.A. in Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is pursuing a M.A. in Religion at Redeemer Seminary. You can find Kyle on Twitter @kyleworley.
The CBMW National Conference is April 8, 2014 in Louisville, KY. Speakers include John Piper, David Platt, Albert Mohler, and more!
Registration is just $30. Find more information here.
You, too, can help support the ministry of CBMW. We are a non-profit organization that is fully-funded by individual gifts and ministry partnerships. Your contribution will go directly toward the production of more gospel-centered, church-equipping resources.