Don’t Just Tell Them What to Do

“According to some estimates, 80 percent of what is learned comes through imitation and 20 percent by instruction. The 20 percent is crucial because it establishes what ought to be imitated and how to conserve it, but most of what we learn is acquired by imitation. Therefore, being a model with character integrity is a priority.”

Reeder III, Harry L.. The Leadership Dynamic: A Biblical Model for Raising Effective Leaders . Crossway. Kindle Edition.

It’s no accident that the New Testament uses the term “pastors” because of the similarities of the duties of Christian leaders and the herdsmen of the time. The pastor or sheep-herder/shepherd was to constantly be among his sheep, tending them, feeding them, watching over them, leading them, and caring for them personally.

I know there are some fundamentalists that like to call the leaders of the local church the “preacher” and those training for ministry “preacher-boys,” but the Bible doesn’t use these labels for those that lead the church. Preaching or proclaiming (Gk. kerusso) is only one responsibility (albeit a very important one) of those who lead the flock of God, but it is not the only one, and those that hold the opinion that they are simply to preach and God will do the rest will find that the sheep need more than simply a preacher-boy.

When writing to the churches he ministered to, the Apostle Paul often spoke of the personal influence he had through more than just teaching. Teaching was a part, but it necessitates that the disciple is able to follow an example. To the Corinthian church he wrote: “For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.” (1 Corinthians 4:15–16, ESV)

For Paul, being a spiritual father meant more than simply preaching. The Great Commission demands that we train up these spiritual children in the way they should go, to borrow from Proverbs 22:6. And like every other child, they need to have a model to follow so that they can see what the instruction they receive is supposed to look like.

So, make sure that your teaching times are also supplemented with plenty of personal interaction with the sheep so that they can learn to become imitators of Christ by watching you and the other spiritually mature believers walk in obedience to Christ.

One thought on “Don’t Just Tell Them What to Do

  1. Pingback: Don’t Just Tell Them What to Do (weekend repost) | Always Reforming

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