344 Paul’s Leadership Pipeline: Empower Them 

February 22, 2023  

Paul carefully chose those who would follow him, he deliberately prepared them for their assignment, and he used his own life and leadership to show them how to lead. All those steps laid a foundation for Paul to begin developing the leadership capacity of Timothy and others on his team. Paul then empowered Timothy and others to develop their own leadership capacity. Consider these words written near the end of Pauls’ life and after a 20-year relationship with Timothy.  

1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry (2 Timothy 4:1-2, 5, NIV).  

Paul empowered Timothy to perform many leadership tasks. And under his leadership Timothy developed into a church leader, troubleshooter, and co-author of six of the letters that became scripture (see note*). Paul’s example demonstrates that serving leaders share power, they are in power to empower others. The results speak for themselves.  

Empowering leaders multiplies proficiency. 

Paul challenges Timothy to “preach, correct, rebuke…” He had modeled these tasks to Timothy, and he empowered Timothy to do the same. Paul was not only interested in having someone help him carry out his mission; he wanted Timothy to grow. For growth to happen, Timothy needed some space to spread his own wings, exercise his own leadership and make his own mistakes. Paul was not threatened by Timothy’s growth as a leader. He intended for Timothy to grow and become skillful in his work.  

Some leaders want to be the only ones who can do a task. They feel threatened to think that someone else may do it as well or better than they can. But serving leaders want to see everyone empowered to skillfully use their strengths.  

Empowering leaders multiplies people.  

Because Paul empowered his team, they were able to multiply. Near the beginning of Paul’s missionary journey, he was able to go on to Athens, leaving Silas and Timothy behind in Berea and Thessalonica. Just before he wrote these words Paul instructed Timothy to pass on to others what had been learned from him (see 2 Timothy 2:2). By empowering Timothy, Paul impacted multiple generations of leaders.  

Some leaders seek to expand their team by adding people to do a task. Serving leaders seek to expand their people by empowering them. As they do this, they multiply people.  

Empowering leaders multiplies power.  

When Paul wrote these words Timothy was in Ephesus, leading the church that Paul had planted there. Paul recognized that giving power away did not diminish his own power but multiplied it. By empowering Timothy and others Paul multiplied his influence.  

Some leaders believe that giving others power will reduce their own, so they hold tightly to their power and authority. Serving leaders realize that as they empower others, power is multiplied.  

For further reflection and discussion: 

  • Who on my team am I strategically empowering to grow as a leader? How does the example of Paul challenge me to multiply those who can do what I am doing?  
  • What task am I currently doing that someone else on my team could and should do? What steps will I take to empower that person and when will I do it?  
  • Have I empowered leaders around me long enough to see a second-generation impact where they begin to empower others? If so, how can I strengthen this multiplication? If not, what can I do this year to move in this direction?        

Until next time, yours on the journey, 

Jon Byler 

* Timothy’s name appears as the co-author on 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon. 

In the next issue, we will look at how Paul developed his leadership pipeline by stretching them.  

#343 Paul’s Leadership Pipeline: Show Them

February 8, 2023

We have observed how Paul chose and prepared Timothy, one of the emerging leaders on his team. As Paul invited Timothy to join him on a leadership journey, he was beginning a deliberate process of showing Timothy how to lead. They would walk together, work together, talk together and share life together. By his example, Paul would show Timothy what leadership looked like. Many years later, near the end of his life, Paul wrote these words to Timothy confirming that he had accomplished this task:  

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings (2 Timothy 3:10-11a, NIV).  

After many years Paul was able to say to Timothy that he had shown him these nine elements of his life. Paul’s life was an open book for Timothy. He demonstrated the good and the painful parts of leadership. He is able to tell Timothy that he knew everything about him as a leader. Serving leaders learn from Paul’s example the importance of showing those they lead the ups and downs of the leadership journey.  

Serving leaders show the way.  

Some elements of leadership require instruction and Paul spoke about “my teaching.” But Paul went beyond instruction to demonstration. He showed Timothy his “way of life.”  By his example he showed Timothy the way to plant churches in new locations, the way to lead in crisis situations, the way to deal with adversities, the way to raise up other leaders, etc. Paul understood that more leadership ability is caught than taught.  Some leaders tell others what to do without demonstrating how to do it. But serving leaders show others; they model the way. This does not mean that a serving leader needs to do every task, but they are willing to roll up their sleeves and show the team the way it is done. They recognize that developing other leaders requires showing them how it is done.  

Serving leaders show the purpose.  

Paul’s modeling to Timothy included not only his external actions, but his purpose. He was able to tell Timothy that he knew “my purpose.” Paul’s purpose was the ‘why’ behind the ‘what.’ Timothy undoubtedly heard over and over the story of Paul’s conversion, of God’s call on his life and his passion to reach the Gentile world. Timothy helped Paul write Colossians where Paul says his purpose is to “present everyone fully mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). Paul made it clear to Timothy why they were doing what they were doing. Some leaders only demonstrate how a task should be done. But serving leaders explain the purpose of that task and tie all leadership actions to the purpose or mission of the organization.  

Serving leaders show the cost.   

Paul not only showed Timothy the positive elements of leadership, but he also revealed the cost of leadership as he showed Timothy that leadership involved “endurance”, “persecutions”, and “sufferings.” Timothy personally witnessed the price Paul paid for his leadership and he likely experienced a time in prison as well. (See Hebrews 13:23). Some leaders call others by revealing the benefits of a role or position without disclosing the costs. But serving leaders learn the importance of showing those they led the ups and downs of the leadership journey from Paul’s example.  By showing the cost they prepare the emerging leaders to have the fortitude to finish the journey.  

For further reflection and discussion: 

  • Are there areas that I tell others what to do but have not shown them how to do it? Does my leadership balance my teaching and showing? Would those who follow me say they know about my “way of life” or do I hide elements of who I am from those I lead?  
  • Is the purpose of the organization I lead clear to all who follow? Do I clearly tie the purpose of my organization to every leadership action I request others to do? In what way can I improve in this area?  
  • Do I make the cost of leadership clear to those I am developing as leaders or do I tend to hide my own pain and struggles? How can I be appropriately honest about what leadership costs?         

Until next time, yours on the journey, 

Jon Byler 

In the next issue, we’ll examine how Paul developed his leadership pipeline by empowering them.