Because leadership involves the leader with other people, the level of SpiritFirst leadership in which a leader can function depends upon the spiritual maturity of the people the leader is leading, not just the spiritual maturity of the leader.
That is, in order to mature in spiritual leadership, the leader must mature the people, not just mature his own spirit.
In many cases, the leader continues to mature personally while the leadership does not: the people involved in the assignment remain immature, so the level at which the leader can communicate, operate, function, and implement remains juvenile.
In many cases, the leader spends a great deal of time rolling his eyes with frustration, appearing arrogant or aloof, when the reality is simply that his leadership has failed to mature the people he leads so that his own personal spiritual maturity can be expressed in his leadership. Usually, the leader remains unaware of this fact.
A great spiritual awakening has begun! In terms of momentum, maturing leaders in kingdom leadership must be the priority of every kingdom leader. Why? Because Awakening comes through leaders, matures through leaders, and gains momentum by producing new leaders who can function at the level of maturity at which the originators of Awakening function.
This is sense in which we must understand the prophetic phrasing, “this move of God won’t be about a few super-saints.”
We have not fully understood the prophetic message, and we have invested ourselves in producing a greater volume of people who can “do the stuff” of kingdom power while dumbing down the level of spiritual maturity in which people who “do the stuff” live and lead.
In fact, we haven’t really been that focused upon qualifying people as mature leaders, allowing people to represent kingdom who are not kingdom leaders, or not kingdom leaders maturing at the same rate or at the same level as the originators.
The Fathering Anointing
Here in lies a glaring weakness in our discussion and design of fathering. We have fallen prey to the spirit of the age, measured fathering with natural thinking, and relabeled much of what we were doing or failing to do in the previous spiritual generation with the title “fathering.”
To recognize this failure, we simply ask ourselves the question, “Am I preparing successors or inheritors?” Moving away from denominational and corporate leadership models, we began to embrace the idea that the next leaders should be chosen and prepared by the present ones; however, we took upon ourselves a “I chose my successor” mentality that is foreign to the discipling design of Jesus.
The fathering anointing prepares inheritors, not successors. Successors are positioned to maintain what the previous leader built or expand upon the same foundation. Some do well. Others expand upon the previous foundation. In this way, attrition claims the inheritance in many situations.
The fathering anointing prepares inheritors who can do what the father did and then do it better, multiplying the previous generation’s influence and impact. Jesus never had in mind that He would be the limitation of ministry in terms of time and scope of influence personally: He didn’t reach out to any other nations, and He didn’t have a long ministry run.
In stead, Jesus had a vision of fathering many leaders through shared spiritual experiences so that they could inherit a share of the kingdom, expand that share with their own inheritors, and influence the cultures of the earth. Jesus was never about “white smoke,” in the sense of passing on the baton; He was about inheritors so that leaders could do what He did and then do greater.
Accumulating Believers or Preparing Inheritors
In the book, Fathering: Transforming Individuals and Nations, I write about this Bible pattern of fathering, moving past many mentoring and coaching models that tend toward humanistic “be all I can be” measurements of achievement and toward spiritual “get God what He wants” measurements of assignment.
As I develop this theme, I recognize the fundamental difference between the design of Ecclesia in the mind of Jesus and the present-day church-anity that redefines “church.” We now define “church” as the accumulation of believers. Jesus defined “ekklesia” as called together assembly of kingdom leaders. We now define “church” without mention of “kingdom” as if spiritual authority and power are unnecessary. Jesus defined “ekklesia” by its ability to displace the authority of hell and institute and install upon earth what was already instituted and installed in heaven.
So, our definition of “discipling” has a goal consistent with our faulty definition of church as the accumulation of believers when Jesus defines discipling in terms of producing leaders who can disciple nations!