Is there a leader who is motivated, willing, and ready to identify their successor(s) upon commencing a given role? Is there a leader who will actually identify successors and allow them to observe all the ups-and-downs, ins-and-outs of their leadership tenure? Is there a leader who begins training their successor(s) while seeking to build their persona in the very position? Is there a leader who is so invested in the continuity and longevity of their service, that they intentionally, actively seek out a replacement—someone to mirror and succeed them? Is there a leader who equips, empowers, and positions their predecessors to outdo them (do greater works)? Is there a leader who takes up a position, and brings their chosen successors to most job appointments? Is there a leader who, like the plantain/banana palm, allows other, multiple younger “suckers” to grow, thrive, and develop in their own “root system?” (See the December 2019 Gleaner, p. 19.)
The common answer to the aforementioned questions is yes; seven times, yes. Yes, because there is a leader who seamlessly performed His duties in alignment with all the expressed inquires. Yes, because He is a leader whose ways are above ours. He declared, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts”—Isaiah 55:8, 9 (KJV).
Jesus demonstrated a few unconventional keys of prepping for another season.
1. Prayerfully Identify
When He commenced His public ministry, Jesus took steps to carefully choose the leaders that would succeed Him; those who would continue to fulfill the “Great Commission.” Rather than callously selecting a successor based on friendship, educational accomplishment, socioeconomic, or political status, He was submissive to the will of the Father.
Accordingly, He spent time in personal communion with God. In the solitude of the mountains, He convened a one-man, overnight prayer session. “He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles”—Luke 6:12-14, NKJV. Thus, intense intercessory prayer preceded the selection of the apostles.
His chosen successors were invited to be present, and to share in the experiences that stood out as highlights of His ministry. He consistently modeled an intimate relationship with His heavenly Father, as well as positive leadership and service skills.
They were present to receive extensive, on-the-job-training, to truly experience the tools of the trade. They were called to observe His ministry steps, His humility, total dependence upon God the Father, servant-leadership style, selfless sacrificial service, openness to cultural diversity, unconditional love for all, purity of character, and laying down all—even His very life, for the salvation of His children.
Jesus assured the disciples that all the power they needed to serve others, to fulfill the Gospel Commission, was available to them (Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:8, KJV). He also affirmed that they were called to do what He did, and even greater works (John 14:12).
Today, Jesus challenges His leadership representatives to follow His amazing, anointed example, to have His mind. His word asserts, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children”—Ephesians 5:1, KJV. Furthermore, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”—Philippians 2:5, KJV.