TRAINING LEADERS AND FOLLOWERS
Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:
C Write the Key Verse from memory.
C Explain the purpose for training leaders and followers.
C Explain why training others is an important responsibility.
C Identify six principles of selection used by Jesus.
C Identify eight principles of training used by Jesus.
C Give a Biblical example of a leadership training model.
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully taught will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40) Revised Standard Version
Leaders must have followers and followers must have leaders. In an average church, no one is designated to develop leaders and followers, yet the future of the Church depends on them. The training of leaders and followers should begin in childhood preparing
youngsters to take their part in the body of Christ. Training should immediately follow conversion at any age.
You have learned that God gives to some believers special gifts of leadership. Others are born with natural abilities to lead. Some people seem to be natural followers. Everyone is called to be both a leader and a follower.
Whether naturally talented or gifted by God, leaders and followers need training. "Each one teach one to reach one" is God’s answer to the leadership shortage:
And the things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
(II Timothy 2:2)
In this chapter, you will learn how to train leaders and followers.
Everyone is a follower. Paul speaks of himself as a follower of Jesus and calls upon the Corinthians to follow him :
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (I Corinthians 11:1)
Similar instructions were given to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:1; Philippians (Philippians 3:17); and Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 1:6).
Each believer should be trained to be a good follower. Many of us do not want to be followers. We would rather be leaders. But a good leader is first a good follower. A leader is always responsible to someone else, so he is also a follower. We lead
successfully by following successfully.
To be a good follower you must obey your leaders and submit to their authority so their work is a joy:
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they
watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you.
Followers should follow their leaders only as long as they follow Christ. When leaders stray from the truth of God’s Word , do not follow them .
Not everyone is called to a leadership position in the Church , but each person leads in some way from time to time. For example, a man may not be called to leadership in the Church, but he is the leader in his home.
A believer may not have a spiritual gift of leadership but because of needs in the church may find it necessary to fill a leadership role occasionally. For these reasons, all
believers should be trained in leadership.
AN IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITY
Training others is an important responsibility because …
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully taught will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40) Revised Standard Version
The people you train will be like you! You have an important responsibility to set a proper example by your conduct and lifestyle .
THE PURPOSE IN TRAINING
The reason we train leaders and followers is to fulfill the commission given by Jesus:
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.
We train leaders and followers for the purpose of going to all nations, teaching the
Gospel, baptizing, and then guiding converts on to spiritual maturity through further
teaching. People must hear the Gospel in order to respond, repent from sin, and be born again. Such teaching is also called "evangelism":
Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19)
New believers are sometimes called "converts.” A convert is a believer in Jesus who has
been born again by faith and has become part of the Kingdom of God. But a new
convert must be trained to be a follower. New converts are to be instructed in all Jesus
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. (Matthew 28:20)
The plan of Jesus is that we lead converts on to discipleship. The word "disciple" means a "learner, a pupil, someone who learns by following.” A disciple is a follower who is established in the basics of the Christian faith and capable of raising up new converts and discipling them. As he does this, he becomes a leader. As this process is repeated, new followers and leaders are continuously raised up to extend the Gospel of the Kingdom .
CONVERTS, TO FOLLOWERS, TO LEADERS
How do you lead people from being converts to become disciples (followers) and then leaders? You must train them. Winning new converts is important, but only by training them as followers and leaders will they be able to reproduce spiritually.
Jesus demonstrated this as He selected followers and trained them to become leaders. He
had only 3 ½ years of ministry in which to do the work God had given Him . He was able
to visit only a few places during this short period of time and reach only a limited number
To assure completion of His mission, Jesus made training followers and leaders a priority. He knew those He trained would reach multitudes of villages and cities that He would never have opportunity to visit.
PRINCIPLES OF SELECTION
You are just one person with only so much available time , so you cannot train everyone .
This means you must select those whom you will train. How will you select those you
will train ? You could choose on the basis of education, experience, tests, or by trial and
But the best way to select is to follow principles Jesus used in selecting His disciples.
The record of His selection is given in Matthew 5:1; 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; and Luke 10 :1-16. Here are some important principles Jesus followed which you can use in selecting those you will train:
DEPEND ON GOD:
Jesus depended on God. He said:
I can of mine own self do nothing… because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)
MAKE IT A MATTER OF PRAYER:
Luke 6:12 -13 records that Jesus spent the whole night in prayer before selecting His disciples . Pray to God for wisdom to select faithful men and women for training.
TAKE THE INITIATIVE:
Jesus took the initiative to call His disciples . People will not flock to you to become followers or leaders. You must take the initiative to call them .
LOOK AT POTENTIAL, NOT PROBLEMS:
When Jesus selected disciples, He called common men. Some were uneducated and they all had faults and failures. It has been said that if the original 1 2 disciples were reviewed
by a church mission board in the present time, they would be turned down for missionary service.
But Jesus operated on the basis of potential, not problems. He did not choose men and women because of what they were, but because of what they could become. He looked beyond the problems to their potential.
MAKE THE COSTS CLEAR:
When Jesus selected disciples, He made it clear what it cost. A true follower or leader must forsake all:
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)
He must deny self by taking up the cross:
Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my
disciple. (Luke 14:27)
He must follow Jesus:
Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow. (Matthew 16:24)
The Kingdom of God must become his main priority:
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?…
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:31,33)
God has promised to supply all your needs if His Kingdom is the priority of your life . A follower must become a servant to all:
The disciple is not above His master, nor the servant above His lord. (Matthew 10:25)
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister:
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant;
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:26-28)
SELECT THOSE WHO MEET BASIC REQUIREMENTS:
Paul told Timothy to select faithful men and commit to them the things he had been
taught. These faithful men were to have the ability to teach others. The basic
requirements are faithfulness and the ability to teach others. If a man is not faithful, he will not fulfill his responsibility of spiritual reproduction . If he is faithful but does not know how to teach others, then he will also fail.
Faithfulness involves spiritual maturity. Paul spoke of believers who should have been able to teach others but had not yet matured spiritually. These people are not yet ready for true discipleship . They must be further instructed in the basics of the faith.
Faithful men are not necessarily faultless men. They are believers who are in the process of developing Christ-like qualities in their lives . Even "faithful men" have problems and weaknesses to overcome, as did the original disciples.
The world takes talented men and attempts to give them character. They focus on
creating professionals. God said to take "faithful men" of character and He will empower them with spiritual talents and abilities . Faithful men are available to accomplish God’s purposes. When Jesus called Simon and Andrew, they "immediately" left their nets. The word "immediately" reveals their availability.
When you select men and women to disciple, they must be available. They must be willing to make discipleship the priority of their lives. Faithful men are motivated by spiritual vision . When Jesus gave Peter and Andrew the vision of catching men and women, it motivated them to leave their nets.
Faithful men have a hunger for the Word of God , as did Christ’s disciples. Their "hearts burned within them" as He shared the Scriptures (Luke 24:32,45). They were willing and eager to be taught. Faithful men are marked by a love for God and man. They take
seriously the first and second greatest commands:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength : this is the first commandment.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31)
PRINCIPLES OF TRAINING
After selecting His disciples, Jesus demonstrated eight important principles in training them :
When Jesus called His disciples, He called them to "be with Him .” He shared His life
intimately with His disciples. He spent time with them in both formal ministry situations and informal circumstances. You cannot train followers and leaders through committee meetings or Sunday worship services alone. There must be close association with those whom you train. You must share your life with them . You must come to know them , their problems, their spiritual level , etc .
Out of association with Jesus, consecration developed. Jesus called His disciples to
consecrate to a Person, not a denomination or organization. Such consecration to God called for absolute obedience to His Word and purposes. (See John 4:34; 5:30; 15:10; 17:4; and Luke 22 :42).
Jesus motivated His followers by giving them spiritual vision. He called them to a task greater than the routine of every day living. He called them to be fishers of men
(Matthew 4 : 19 ) . He gave them a vision of worldwide spiritual harvest (John 4 : 35 ) . He challenged them with the revelation of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13) .
Without vision, people perish (Proverbs 29:18). They have no direction and no
motivation. As you train others you must communicate spiritual vision to motivate the mission. The vision is worldwide conquest with the Gospel of the Kingdom. Never be distracted by a lesser cause.
Jesus spent a great part of His time teaching His disciples. His instruction always related to the vision He had given them. If you are to train disciples following the methods of Jesus, then you must teach what Jesus taught. This is part of the command of the Great Commission (Matthew 28 :20).
Emphasis should be on the teachings of Jesus and what was revealed as these teachings were put into practice in the first Church. This means the focus of teaching should be on the Gospels and the Epistles of the New Testament. (Harvestime International Institute curriculum provides such training. Harvestime also offers a course entitled "Teaching Tactics" which trains you to teach using the methods of Jesus.)
As you teach what Jesus taught, you teach the entire revelation of God’s Word because it is based on the Old Testament. Jesus said:
…These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me…
…Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:44,46-47)
Jesus did not teach through verbal instruction alone. He demonstrated what He taught . Jesus taught healing and demonstrated it by healing the sick. He taught the authority of the believer over Satan and demonstrated it by casting out demons. He taught concern for the poor and illustrated it by feeding the multitudes.
The disciples were not only students, they were eye witnesses to the demonstration of
God’s power. They later said they were teaching "That which we have seen and heard" as "eye witnesses" (I John 1 :1).
Jesus taught by example. He demonstrated what He said by how He lived and ministered . He said:
For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. (John 13:15)
The demonstration of God’s power makes people listen to your message :
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. (Acts 8:6)
Paul spoke not only of the truth of the Gospel (Galatians 2:5) but of the power of the
Gospel (Romans 1:1 6). He declared and demonstrated the Gospel (I Corinthians 2:1 ,4).
(Harvestime International Institute has a course entitled "Power Principles" devoted to this subject) .
Mere knowledge is not enough. To be effective, knowledge must be applied. There comes a time for action. The disciples not only listened to the teachings of Jesus and observed the demonstrations, they also participated . Teaching a subject is not enough to assure learning. Teaching alone is like trying to learn to do surgery by reading a book.
Disciples must have actual experience in what they are learning . They must gain
experience in how to share the Gospel, how to pray for the sick, how to cast out demons, etc . Jesus provided such opportunities for His disciples. Read Mark 6:7-13 and Luke 9:1-
6. Jesus sent His disciples out to experience what they had been taught. Those you train become doers of the Word and not hearers only.
When the disciples of Jesus returned from their ministry trip, Jesus evaluated their efforts
(Luke 9:10). Throughout the entire training process Jesus supervised His disciples. They
were not left alone in their struggles. He was there to correct, rebuke, and encourage
You cannot assume that the work will be done merely because you have shown a willing
worker how to do it and sent him out with glowing expectations. You must supervise. As the worker faces frustration and obstacles, you must teach him how to meet these
Supervision is sometimes called "follow -up.” Paul supervised or "followed-up" on his disciples:
And after he had spent some time there, he departed and went over all the country of Galatia, and Phyrgia in order, strengthening all the disciples.
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)
The final stage of the discipleship process was when Jesus delegated His followers to become disciple-makers themselves. He gave them the task of spiritual multiplication
throughout the nations of the world.
THE EXAMPLE OF EPHESUS
Read Acts 19:1-20 in your Bible. This chapter describes the ministry of the Apostle Paul at a city named Ephesus. When Paul first arrived in Ephesus, he sought out believers who lived there . These men and women had already accepted the Gospel and become
followers of Jesus (Acts 19:1) but they needed further training in order to minister
effectively in their city.
Paul taught them through experience. The first thing he did was lead them into a new
spiritual experience which was the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:2-8). Paul taught
them through demonstration. They witnessed many great miracles done in the name of
the Lord (Acts 19:11-12). Those who were not true followers of Jesus were exposed and
repented (Acts 19:13-17). New converts were won to the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 19:17-
When opposition to the Gospel arose from traditional leaders, Paul established a training center at Ephesus:
But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he (Paul) departed from them, and separated the
disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. (Acts 19:9)
Ephesus is an excellent example of a model program of leadership training. Paul did not remove students from their native environment to receive training. He trained them in an environment which was natural to them. They remained in their own community and learned in their own language.
The center Paul established offered a two-year training course for disciples. The purpose of the school was to multiply disciples who would spread the Gospel message:
And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus Christ, both Jews and Greeks.
This training center knew no cultural lines. Students ministered to both Jews and Gentiles (other non-Jewish nations of the world). The school had no geographic boundaries. The students not only ministered in their own city of Ephesus, they reached the entire
continent of Asia.
The Ephesus example is a good model of training because those trained taught others…
…So that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus Christ, both Jews and Greeks. (Acts 19:10)
So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed. (Acts 19:20)
The Ephesus school trained disciples and equipped them for the work of the ministry.
The purpose was to spread the Gospel geographically (throughout all Asia) and culturally (to both Jews and Gentiles). New converts were then trained as disciples in a continued process of multiplication.
STARTING A TRAINING CENTER
The need for training centers similar to the Ephesus model exists today. As converts
multiply, it is important that they be trained as followers and leaders who are challenged with their responsibility of reaching the world with the Gospel.
The training center at Ephesus did not replace the church. Believers continued to meet in the synagogue, which was one gathering place of the early church. Believers also
continued to meet in churches in their homes. The Ephesus school was an extension of the church and not a replacement for it. The purpose of such a training program is not to replace any existing institution actively spreading the Gospel.
If you are interested in starting a training center similar to the Ephesus model, instructions for doing this are provided in the Harvestime International Institute course entitled
"Multiplication Methodologies.” It explains how to select a location, set a budget, recruit students, select teachers and curriculum, and publicize and conduct sessions.