There are two types of leaders…
- Those who elevate information as their primary tool.
- Those who value imitation as their primary gift.
Informational leaders are full of instructions. They will lecture and direct all day long, assuming their followers will hear, understand and innovate based on their words. They take the stance that “the more you know, the more you grow.” If one of their followers fell in a river, they would pull the perfect manual for the situation and walk along the bank, shouting encouragement and directions on how to get out of the river.
Imitational leaders, on the other hand, value information but understand that words often don’t translate into life change. They will roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty as they guide their followers through the process. They believe that the best teachers, mentors and coaches study, work and sweat right alonside their followers. If one of their followers fell in a river, they would kick off their shoes, dive into the water, take a hand and lead the way to the shore.
Jesus was an imitational leader. He chose 12 men as His followers and “jumped into the river with them.” He invited them to travel with Him, camp with Him, work with Him, laugh with Him and lead with Him. He could’ve preached to them daily and sent them home but He knew that words don’t guarantee growth and change.
When things got tough, He didn’t just shout instructions from the safety of the shore. Instead, He walked with them through their fears and failures. And because He was in the middle of the mess with them, His information took root and blossomed into a movement is changing the world.
This is the picture of discipleship…
Jesus -> Imitational Leader -> YOU -> Your Follower
Growing disciples need a leader to imitate and a follower to mentor.
As you learn and grow, who are you imitating? And who is imitating you?