Raising others up cannot be accomplished by your effort. Raising others up is only accomplished by your availability coupled with their effort. In fact, raising others up requires intentional removal of yourself. The only way for them to lead is for you to diminish.
The trap in leadership development is when the leadership developer remains the focus. The focus of leadership development (discipleship) should be the leadership that is being developed and it’s release. There is no way for it to shine in your shadow and your shadow will be prevalent if your are constantly overseeing.
A noteworthy ministry leader died in a plane crash this week. Myles Munroe had much to teach about how to raise up disciples and there is a video he made just before his death regarding the measure of a leader and disciple maker. He makes the point that a leader is successful only where there is a successor. The absence of the leader is the condition that determines the success of the leader. Success is evident only where there has been an investment in people who now carry the leader’s investment, operate in it and multiply it beyond the direct involvement of the leader. Jesus said, Myles points out, “I must go . . . ” and at another point clarifies with Peter that he knew what to do (“feed my sheep”) as He hands off the keys to the Kingdom and departs.
Within this measure of success to be determined in your absence is the necessary ingredient of desire by the successor. Disciple making depends on the desire of the one that is being raised up. If it’s driven by the one that is offering the investment of time, knowledge, wisdom and care then it won’t survive in the absence of the source of the force the propels it.
If you’re mentoring others, it’s not about you and the task at hand is to invest in and release others to multiply the thing that they sought out which you are carrying. It’s relational but that is true in a way that requires your departure along the way. They have to pursue, receive, activate, perpetuate and multiply for there to be sustained movement of a certain set of values or beliefs. The measure of your success is not only in what you have to offer but also who wants it enough to do something with it regardless of your presence.