Five Key Ways Jesus Developed Leaders

“We want more and better leaders faster.”  

That was what one leader asked of me.  Requests like that underscore some leadership thinking we hear like:

“Leaders can be manufactured with the right processes.”

“All we need is to find the right leaders and our plans will succeed.”

“Faster is better.”


Identifying, inviting, developingequipping, releasing, and empowering leaders is a key need (some would say THE key need) in nearly every strata of society today, especially in business and ministry.

If that need is so important, why do so many organizations struggle with leadership issues? 

There are many variables to consider as leaders try to find answers.  I would identify organizational culture as the number one issue. In fact, as I answered the person who made the “more, better, faster” request, I agreed with the need but then responded that our organization did not have a culture that could develop leaders well.  He didn’t understand what I meant, which validated my perspective. We’ll look at developing a healthy, encouraging, empowering “fit and flourish” culture in future posts.


So…how do we get to the heart of developing leaders?



As always, we do well by looking to Jesus and learning from Him.  I’ve appreciated learning from many studies on Jesus discipling/developing approach. Here’s another way to look at how Jesus developed leaders: He…


1.Met them where they were but saw them as they could be  

Jesus found Andrew, Peter, James, and John while they were on the job, then invited them to the adventure of following Him. Jesus meets us as we are…but sees us as we could be! He invites us, sees our potential and speaks destiny to us. 

 “Follow Me….and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:18)   Come and see.


2.  Modeled the heart and skills He wanted for them

Jesus used all of life as an opportunity for discovery and development.  He showed them how with on-the-job ongoing training.  Leadership was more caught than taught…Jesus gave them a pattern to imitate more than instructions to read.

“…that they might be with Him… (Mark 4:14)  Watch Me.



3. Did mutual ministry with them 

Beyond inviting them, He included them in what He did.  A wonderful example involves feeding of thousands of people.  Often Jesus provides the miracle, and we as His apprentices get to provide some muscle...what a high honor!

“He gave the food to the disciples to set before the people…” (Mark 6:33-42)  Do it with Me.


4. Mentored/coached them

He sent them out with His authority and allowed them to apply what they had been learning.  When they came back, He debriefed with them and developed them more by coaching (listened to them and asked what they had learned so they could discover new insights) and mentoring (poured in wisdom and teaching).  

“And the seventy returned with joy, saying…and He said to them…” (Luke 10:1-24) Now you do it…how did it go?


5. Multiplied them

Jesus completed His mission on earth.  Then gave His authority to His disciples as He commissioned them to continue doing what He had done…everyday, everywhere, with everyone!  The power of love from a pure heart as the Holy Spirit kept cleansing and filling them moment by moment as they imitated the attitude and practices Jesus showed them made multiplication possible…and His mission continues today through us!

“All authority is given to me…as you go, make disciples….and I will be with you…” (Matthew 28:18-20) Go…do as I’ve done.


Coach Yourself Forward

1. As you reflect on how you view people, how do you compare to Jesus?  How can you develop a better sense of seeing potential in people and inviting them toward their destiny?

2. Which of these five keys to developing leaders are you already implementing?  What needs your attention? What will you do to better develop leaders the way Jesus did (and still does)?