Jesus’ Model for the Disciple’s Journey

Rodney Swope

Rodney is VP of Learning & Development at OCEAN Programs.

Many entrepreneurs keep their eye on business news. Market trends. New products. Openings, mergers, closings. Publications about effective leadership are a large share of business news. The range of topics covers a broad variety of leadership practices, styles, skills, and philosophies. The overarching theme is that effective leadership drives positive outcomes. But great leadership drives great outcomes! Jesus is a great leader.

What were some of Jesus’ accomplishments or outcomes as a leader?
Jesus understood that his impact, however profound, required a team to have an exponential impact. He didn’t manage his team. He discipled his team. He was so intentional and so effective, that he called them to deliver exponential growth.

John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12, New International Version)

Jesus left us a model on how to create disciples. He selected the men who became his disciples. Very importantly, he did not select from the elite. His model transformed ordinary people into gifted leaders who delivered exponential growth.

1. Developing people into disciples begins by understanding their journey.
It is important to note that this journey isn’t unique to the spiritual or religious sense of “disciples.” This journey is true of anyone who is seeking to learn new things or grow in an area of life, whether that is you trying to learn how to do your bookkeeping, a new employee trying to learn new tasks and skills, an investor learning how to water her investment or any number of other learning and development processes.

2 Timothy 2:15 “Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple.” (2 Tim. 2:15, The Message)

2. You’ll have to consider the capacity you have to develop others
and what it will take to lead them through this process. This is your opportunity to positively influence your community. Examine each disciple within your flock and assess where they are on the Confidence and Competence scale.

Romans 12:2 “Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.” (Rom. 12:2, The Message)

There are a lot of different qualities that are important to find in others and are also important for you to have in yourself. Use Jesus’ model to find your place and your role as a disciple and that of each of your team.

These two frameworks are combined in the model above. The Center is the cycle of the journey that every disciple goes through. Even you! The outer circle is the Style of Leadership the disciple needs in each stage. As a leader, you will need to decide the best style to apply to those under your care.

The Disciples’ Journey is for you and those you are called lead to deliver exponential impact!


For more information on this topic and other ways to lead through a biblical lens, check out Genesis Entrepreneurship Training here.

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