A Guest Post by Dexter Gordon
One of the most effective tools of strategic discipleship is intentional and authentic leadership. Jesus mirrored the meaning of being intentional and authentic in the provoking of the disciples and staying true to his purpose. This set the stage for us today to walk in His footsteps. So, why reinvent the wheel?
Being intentional is simply being deliberate, focused and consistent. While authentic is being original, unique or genuine. The intentional and authentic nature of Jesus contributed to his effectiveness as a true discipler.
Even his enemies knew that Jesus would never misrepresent himself. After he had been arrested, mocked, and beaten, Jesus was brought before the council leaders and elders. Luke records the conversation that transpired: “If you are the Christ,” they said, “tell us.” Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You are right in saying I am” (Luke 22:67-70). Even in the face of criticism, Jesus remained shamelessly authentic. There was also no false pretense in the life of Jesus. When he was sad, he wept; when he felt compassion, he healed the multitudes. People who interacted with Jesus knew where they stood with him. A centurion asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant, and Jesus said in Matthew 8:10, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” When Peter told Jesus that he would never be killed, Jesus cried out, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23). Jesus called it as he saw it, because he was intentional to his purpose and authentic in his leadership. Often times, unbelievers expect the worst from disciples of Jesus. They watch us, waiting for us to make a mistake or to mess up, as to add validity in their thoughts that Christians are fakes and frauds. We often foster that notion among unbelievers that “believers” are insincere and disingenuous. But we must realize we are not here to prove our calling, but here to make disciples. With all of our own faults, shortcomings and failures; we must recognize the need for fellowship with other disciples of Jesus. We need the mentorship, support, and encouragement from others. We can no more follow Jesus in isolation, than we than we can play football by ourselves! We must live by “The ISI Concept” (Iron Sharpens Iron) and show authenticity in our discipleship process. If we mirror our lives after the intentional authenticity of Jesus, by being deliberate and genuine at the same time in every instance, we too will gain the respect of others despite any theological disagreements. Our authentic lifestyle will encourage others to be like us and follow the plan of Jesus. Let’s be intentional and let’s be authentic as a leader should be.