#348 Paul’s Leadership Pipeline: Encourage Them

April 19, 2023  

We have reflected on several deliberate actions that Paul took to develop his leadership pipeline strategically moving people from one level to the next in their capacity. One action that Paul continually practiced was encouraging those he wanted to develop. Consider these examples from his communication with Timothy:

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands (2 Timothy 1:6).

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel(Philippians 2:19-22).

We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith (1 Thessalonians 3:2).

Paul provided Timothy with both private words of encouragement and public affirmation of his gifts and calling. He understood that encouragement results in better leaders and his example shows serving leaders what encouragement produces.

Encouraging leaders produces growth in others.

Paul encouraged Timothy to grow and develop, to “fan into flame” the gifts that he had. Imagine the impact it had for Timothy to hear from Paul that he had a gift within him. An emerging leader often does not even imagine their leadership capacity and it takes someone else to point out their gifts. When an established leader points out the gifts of an emerging leader it is a great encouragement and provides a desire to grow. Paul also called forth what was to become a flame, likely only a tiny spark at the time. But Paul focused on what Timothy would become. What a motivation to grow and develop! Some leaders point to their own gifts but serving leaders highlight the gifts of those they lead. As they do they develop leaders who are growing.

Encouraging leaders produces confidence in others.

As Paul encouraged Timothy, he became a strong leader that “proved himself.” Paul’s public encouragement of Timothy’s strength must have inspired confidence in him. What a confidence builder to know that a mature leader believes that I can do this!

Some leaders believe that pointing out the weaknesses of others will help them become strong. Serving leaders don’t ignore weaknesses, but they encourage and affirm signs of positive growth. And as they encourage, serving leaders build confident leaders.

Encouraging leaders produces reproduction in others.

Paul encouraged Timothy and it is not surprising that Timothy would “strengthen and encourage” the believers in Thessalonica. Encouragement cascades from one leader to another.

Some leaders think they can reproduce leaders by training. But serving leaders reproduce by their example, they model the way. They recognize that leadership is more often caught than taught. So they encourage, and reproduce encouragers!

Do you want growing, confident and reproducing leaders? Lead with encouragement!

For further reflection and discussion:

  • Would those who follow me describe me as an encouraging leader? Why or why not?
  • Do I more easily offer private words of encouragement or public words? What step can I take to balance both?
  • Which person who follows me would I like to encourage? (When you have identified that person answer the following questions about him/her.)
  • What gifts do I see in that person?
  • What will these gifts produce in the future?
  • How can I communicate this privately?
  • How can I communicate this publicly?
  • When will I do this?

Until next time, yours on the journey,

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

#347 Paul’s Leadership Pipeline: Follow Them

April 5, 2023

Serving leaders empower others and are thrilled to see people developing and released, but they are not blind to the need for accountability. As Paul worked with Timothy and others in his leadership pipeline, he released them, but he also followed them to ensure that they were moving in the right direction. In the initial stages of his development Timothy followed Paul, living and working together. But then Paul released Timothy to pastor the church at Ephesus. Timothy was now leading on his own but Paul didn’t leave him alone. Paul followed him, writing letters to Timothy that provided appropriate accountability and guidance.   

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers (1 Timothy 4:15-16, NIV).

Timothy at this point was on his own, but he was not alone. Paul was continuing to mentor and guide him on his leadership journey. And it was effective! Paul later declared:

But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel (Philippians 2:22, NIV).

Serving leaders learn the benefits of following those they empower from Paul’s example.

Following leaders provides accountability.

Paul acknowledged that Timothy had “proved himself.” This implies that there was a time of testing and evaluation of this leadership capacity as he developed under Paul’s guidance. Paul released Timothy to lead on his own but made it clear that he was still accountable to him for his work.

Some leaders release those under them with little or no accountability. Others delegate responsibilities but micromanage what the emerging leader is doing. Serving leaders successfully manage the delicate balance between empowerment and accountability. They release, but don’t abandon, the emerging leader.  They follow by establishing accountability that is appropriate for the leadership level of the one that they release.

Following leaders produces accelerated growth.   

Appropriately following an emerging leader actually accelerates their growth! The mentor is able to share life experience and wisdom in ways that help the younger leader to move forward more quickly on their own leadership journey. Timothy could have learned some things on his own through trial and error. But Paul followed Timothy to accelerate that growth. He expected everyone to see Timothy’s “progress.” Some leaders release others and expect them to learn on their own. Serving leaders follow those they are developing to accelerate their growth.  

Following leaders produces higher quality leaders.

The result of Paul’s continued mentorship in Timothy’s life –was “that Timothy has proved himself.” Paul’s leadership pipeline produced a proven leader who had journeyed with Paul as a son. Timothy was a high-quality leader as a result. Some leaders release others to be on their own and hope for the best. Serving leaders continue to serve those they are developing by following up with them to ensure quality results.

For further reflection and discussion:

  • Do I have an older leader or mentor who follows me to see how I am doing in my leadership journey? If so, what can I do to show appreciation to them today for what they have invested in my life? If not, who is someone I can ask to hold me accountable for my own leadership development and when will I talk to them about this?
  • For those leaders that I am developing, is my tendency to release without accountability or to micromanage? What do I need to change to find the right balance?      
  • Have I had conversations about levels of accountability with those I release to do different tasks or assignments?  Am I adjusting the level of accountability expected as leaders under me grow and develop?
  • What do I do to demonstrate to those I lead that while they are on their own, they are not alone?
  • What quality of leaders are developing under my guidance? What can I learn from Paul to produce higher quality leaders?  

Until next time, yours on the journey,

Jon Byler

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