Leadership Teaching of Jesus Christ
The leadership teaching of Jesus’ disciples began by first sending them out “two by two.” In the gospel of Mark, chapter 6 verses 7-11, Jesus laid out a strategy for his disciples to share the Gospel. It was never the plan of Jesus to ask his followers to work alone.
Up to this point in the Gospel of Mark Jesus has encouraged his disciple to “come and see.” Now it is time for these men to “go and tell.” This action of Jesus sets the foundation for the development and expansion of the Gospel into the world.
Take Only What You Need
As Jesus sent his disciples out, he instructed them to take only what they needed for the journey. Mark 6:8-11 says that Jesus said,
- Do not take supplies
- Take a walking stick
- Do not take any food
- Do not take a traveling bag
- Do not take any money
- Take a pair of sandals
- Do not take any extra clothes
As one reads these instructions of leadership teaching, the question may be asked, “Why did Jesus tell his disciples not to take supplies and resources with them on this journey?”
Some people believe that he was calling his disciples to an action of faith. They were to trust that God would take care of them. However, these instructions of Jesus to his disciples on working together would also apply to the owner’s where they would be staying. This type of service that the disciples were training for was the same kind of servanthood that the homeowner would be called upon to share.
One of the primary goals of this mission effort was to teach followers of Christ how to work together in sharing their skills and resources.
Connect and Disconnect
Jesus also told his disciples that while they were on their mission, they should practice two fundamental principles when staying in someone’s home.
- Be a guest in only one home v. 10
- If any home will not listen to you or welcome you leave that home and shake off the dust from your feet as you leave.
The mission that Jesus sent his disciples to fulfill was one of purpose. He was not sending his students out to be accepted by everyone. His goal for these twelve men was for them to invest their lives with those who were willing to listen.
Connecting with people can be a challenge. However, Jesus told his disciples that there is nothing wrong with moving on to the next person if the one they are talking to shows no interest.
The phrase “shaking off the dust from your feet” is a symbolic act that denotes a complete break-up of a relationship. This action also means that there is no further responsibility in that household. This response does not mean that Jesus was encouraging his disciples to be cold and indifferent to someone; it only meant that they were to invest their time in an area and with people who welcomed their message.
Jesus encouraged his disciples to invest their time with people who welcomed their message. Christ may have been saying,
“When you meet disappointment, don’t let yourself get completely stopped; just close that chapter and start the next. There are other towns, other efforts to be made. If the first act doesn’t turn out as you hoped, go on to the second, whether there or somewhere else. God is rich in resources. You are not responsible for results, but you are responsible for efforts.” (The Interpreter’ Bible, Gospel of Mark, p. 732)
8 Basic Principles: Jesus’ Leadership Teaching
Jesus invested in 12 men who helped to change the religious culture of our world. In a three-year period, Jesus taught these men basic truths about leadership and servanthood. In Mark 6:7-12 there are eight core principles in Jesus’ training of his disciple:
- Jesus never intended for his disciples to perform alone. All ministries need a partnership.
- Provisions for the disciples were going to be produced by the Lord and other people. The disciples were called upon to develop a deep trust in others.
- Mobility is a sign of a healthy team member. The journey the disciples were to engage in was a “marathon” not a “sprint.” The support of a “walking stick” gives evidence of a commitment to a long process.
- Food (provisions) was to be provided by the Lord and other people. This action is an extreme exercise of faith.
- A travel bag was to be left at home. Self-provision does not engage nor request the help of others. Jesus called his disciples to put self-provision aside and to rely on providing of God.
- NO MONEY! An ultimate test of faith for a follower of Christ is for the disciple to trust the Lord in daily provision. This type of behavior is a great challenge in a wealth driven world.
- Take only one pair of sandals. This statement has two meanings: 1) We are called to carry a light load and 2) We are to trust the Lord in taking care of our basic needs —like footwear.
- Do not take an extra coat. This is another indication that the Creator does not ignore his children. This statement is assuring the disciples that God is in control? Could Jesus have been saying, “You need not worry about the weather, I am in control, now go and do what I have called you to do.”
The ultimate key for team leadership and the development of Jesus’ disciples can be seen in Mark 6:7
Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority….
There is power to be found when a group of people work together “like a team” and follow the leadership teaching of Jesus.