February 21, 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,
* 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.