Equip & Release Leaders

basketball court on green chalkboard

I love March Madness – the time of year when 64 college basketball teams get the opportunity to make a run at the NCAA title. The stories, players, and coaches that emerge are incredible. I can remember watching many of the famous matchups and incredible buzzer beaters that have occurred over my 30 years of following the tournament.

Even though I am not a Duke fan, there are very few coaches on the planet I respect more than “Coach K”, Mike Krzyzewski. His leadership on the floor and knowledge of the game is incredible, and yet what I respect most about him is something very few notice. Coach K is an incredible disciple maker of the game of basketball. Six of Coach K’s former players are now NCAA college basketball coaches (there could be more but that was all I could find). What a great testimony as a coach, your former players go on to invest in the lives of other young men.

Our 6th essential of a disciple making church is to equip and release leaders. Of all the essentials, this one is the dearest to my heart. A key component in developing people is to release them to go out and be who God made them to be. Like Coach K, I love to give people the opportunity to get in the game and learn how to become great players. From there they learn and can become great coaches or developers of people. There is no greater reward in my mind than to see people develop other people so that they too can go and influence others for Jesus Christ.

Jesus modeled this principle for us and we see the early church carry it on as Christianity grew. Jesus gave his disciples the opportunity to be involved in the ministry. They were able to get off of the bench and get in the game. Whether they ministered to the crowds or were sent out to preach the good news of the Kingdom, Jesus let them play. Often in the church people are told to sit, spectate, and watch the pastor(s) perform. Not so with Jesus. He was developing disciples to know how to go and make disciples. He was letting them play so that one day they themselves would be great coaches of other players.

I think about this principle all the time with my own kids and those that are in my church. I often ask myself, am I developing them not just to be disciples but to also go out into the world and make disciples.

I want each of my kids to know exactly how to make a disciple. I want a church filled with people that understand and know how to make disciples of Jesus so that they are not dependent on me. They are spiritual coaches that can develop players. When we understand that and commit to it, we then develop stronger families and churches.

Our churches become filled with people like Coach K and a legacy is left with the Kingdom of God, a kingdom impacted by what we contributed.


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