A successful leader is someone who trains other leaders. The Assembly leader must begin to work for the production of the leader of the next Assembly. If I want some- one else to lead, he will go on retreat with me. He will see me wait before God, and we will wait together. There is one person in whom I invested time systematically to make him into a disciple. He is J. P. A For one year, we met regularly week after week. I also started a systematic meeting week by week with Brother T. L Even when he was appointed minister, I was prepared to adjust and fit into his new charged programme till he gave it up. I also invested several days a week praying with Brother J. Y Very often we left there with the man broken and in tears. The fact that he was a Director General didn’t matter. I was dealing with a disciple and had to break all that needed to be broken. It was out of those meetings at the Gospel House in Mvog Ada that the vision to produce the books dawned on him. There was also a time when I met with Brother Joe Mbafor to pray. For one and a half years, I met regularly with H. M at the prayer chain. There was a time when Brother D. N, Sister E, Sister H. M and myself withdrew to the House of Prayer for seven days of prayer. If I remember well, I didn’t go home for those seven days. We were locked up with God. There is no substitute for that if there will be a transfer of vision.
You see, Joshua was taken by Moses to the mountain. In that way, Joshua saw the heavenly model of the tabernacle, so that when God put Moses aside, there was only one person who could take over – Joshua – and his leadership could not be contested.
So, if the leader is out to build the Kingdom of the Lord, and not his personal kingdom, he will, without telling the others, begin t o train the leader of the Assembly that they will give birth to, and begin to create faith in him. If he is mature, he will go on retreat with him and know how to separate himself from the presence of the younger person and commune with God as if no one was there, and let the other person just watch. The other person may not know much, but he will begin to receive spiritual impressions. Then, little by little, he will introduce him into the art of waiting before the Lord for each believer, and how to pray back what is received. Someone said 5% of leaders are born, 95% are made.
If there will be leaders for the 250 House Churches, they will have to be made. Even natural leaders will have to leave their natural capacity to lead on the altar, so that it goes through fire in order to be malleable in God’s hands.
The leaders of the future are born through prayer. You can know a man by listening to him when he is off guard, if I may say that; when he allows what is on his heart to flow out, but the best way to know a man is to pray with him. After some time, I found that when I prayed with Sister E. K and Sister H. M, they wrote down what I was saying to God. It was so that their praying for me might be the proclamation of the same thoughts, of the same vision and of the same burden. It is one thing praying about what you think is the burden on a man’s heart; it is quite another thing praying about what his burden is. You may be praying for where the Cloud was last week, whereas the Cloud has moved.
Heart identity is something that God carries out mysteriously as people pray together, because in praying together they are totally open, and there is unusual blending, unusual sharing without words, unusual binding, and unusual transfer. Obviously, that cannot happen when you pray for 5 to 10 minutes, because every- one is still very conscious of himself. It is one thing to pray with people in a prayer meeting. It is quite another thing to pray with them one by one. It is one thing to have family worship when everybody prays together. It is quite another thing to pray one by one. It is one thing to pray once or twice. It is another thing altogether to pray 20, 30, 40, 50 times, giving room for the barriers built by self to be shattered.
So you see, Joshua had to go through the experience of 40 days on the mountain. There was such harmony between them that Moses knew that Joshua would not be talking when he was silent, and that they would not be quarrelling on different things. He did not take Aaron because Aaron would have arranged for compromise. He did not take Nadab and Abihu; they were going to be judged for their sin. He took the one who had another spirit and wholly followed the Lord and him. Joshua’s following of the Lord was manifested in his totally following Moses. Praying together intimately does not just happen. Communion has to be established; for praying together is the overflow of communion. I am saying that there is a critical step for heart identity that many want to jump over and go on to activity. And, because God looks at the heart, He will not jump over that in order that He may have another leader for the Assembly. It is, first of all, the heart. If your disciple maker is not highly exalted before you, in your own eyes and in his own eyes, he will have no liberty to come and pray with you. Who would take a rebel to go and pray with him? Who will pray privately with his critic? I want to add one more thing. As the leader of the Assembly in a home, it is true, the leader must build the next leader, but do you have what it takes to produce the next leader? A dwarf can take somebody and say, “Now I will make you into the next leader.” If you are at the same level or almost at the same level, what will you impart to him? You build people by imparting what you have to them. And if you have spent the time running away from the price he has been paying, what type of leader can he make you into? Where do you resemble him? In what do you resemble him?
Although we are giving the practical help, they are things based upon profound spiritual experience that is spelt out in the book, “The Ministers and Ministry of the New Covenant.” It was written in February 1988. Brother J, you read this book recently. Could you say something about it?
Here is what Brother J.Y says: “I read the book recently and I was deeply touched by the fact that the book is for now. It is as if this book was written now in this missionary era. It is the foundation of missions. That is what is written in the book. It is impossible to read this book and not be laid hold on by the burden for missions. Especially striking are the sub-titles:
- The missionary
- Who is a missionary?
- The training of the missionary,
- What are his spiritual qualifications?
There is a chapter in the book on the competent minister of the New Covenant. Such a minister is not a theoretician. He is not someone who comes to recount what he heard said somewhere else, if these things have not been produced in his life. That is part of what you will get from the book. It is a call to enter into reality with God.”
That is what we are asking for, that the next leader should come out of a similar experience with the Lord God Almighty. Joshua had to have entered into Moses’ experience of being on the mountain for 40 days. Though unnamed, he had to have gone through 40 days in God’s Presence. But, above all, his was a heart’s attitude that was blameless. He had no dream of taking over from Moses. His vision was to help Moses to lead God’s people to the end. He buried himself in Moses. He loved Moses. He stood with Moses through thick and thin. He was Moses’ lover. At the World Conquest prayer night last Monday, I prayed that God should give me people who love me, because those who have served me from a head determination have deserted me somewhere.
For the lover, even when the head is mistaken, the heart is fixed. For the lover, even when the head slips, the heart clings. And therefore the relationship can stand through the times of tumult. The lover has a way of coming back after the greatest folly and after the greatest rebukes. I think about the people immediately around me: Brother J, Brother E, Brother D, and Brother J. G – to the best that I know people, these are people I have rebuked without mercy, and even when their hearts rose in temporary rebellion, they came and opened up to confess it, and things have gone on. I have never heard someone come and tell me that Brother J, Brother E, Brother D.A or Brother J. G were saying, “Oh! Why are you hitting me so hard?” They are not perfect people, but they are people who have decided that God will have His best at any cost. They are people who share their worst failures when they could have covered them. So there is a work for the Elders to do in producing the leaders of tomorrow and there is the divine element – the heavenly element – that the House Church leader cannot himself produce, even after he has done all that he could do. When a man is battling with, “Shall I share this? Shall I not share it? Shall I tell him all or tell him only part?” he has reached his limits. He is not yet mature. This is where the Elders need to be very very careful before God, so that the burden to produce 250 Assemblies does not outclass the need to produce lovers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Elders will refuse to say, “Let us manage, provided we have the 250,” for it will never work that way.
HOW DO YOU PRODUCE THE NEXT LEADER?
You produce the next leader, first of all, by being what you are; by being the present leader before God, by being a man approved of God. A leader will, without effort, produce another leader. On the other hand, a real leader who invests himself will produce many other leaders. Before I went to Asia last time, I felt the inward pressure to leave the charge of the Work to somebody formally. As I sought the opinion of those of my house, beginning from my wife to Mary and to E. K, all of them said, “Joe Mbafor.” I asked them to convince me. They said, “He is the one person who would ask: ‘How would Brother Zach have handled this situation? What would he have done?’ and on that basis take the decision.” Since my family is made up of people whom you do not convince easily, it settled the whole thing, and it is settled until 2045.
When a man says, “When I become a leader I will tear down everything the former leaders have built, and build new structures,” he should never become a leader. Why? Because it is very easy to tear down. It is very difficult to know what to build and how to build it. It is very easy to criticize, but to bring out practical workable alternatives, it is difficult.
My head of department, Professor SONDENGAM, made a profound statement years ago when he was made Vice Chancellor of the University. Obviously, every- body knows the anglophones with their radicality. But he told me, “90% of it will not be altered. I will try to change 10%.” Those are the words of a leader. If under the first leader they were having the meeting at 3:00 and you say, “We will have our own just at 3:30,” or they were having it for 2 hours and you say, “No! We know God more, ours will be for 4 hours,” or they came in with their shoes and you say, “No! Everybody shall remove his shoes before entering,” you are not fit to be the next leader. The next leader is the person who will keep to the same pattern, unless it is sinful; and it is rare to find that in the practice of the church. This is important, not only at the level of the Assemblies, but also at the level of the Elders.
Someone, I think it was William Law, said “The call to be a Christian is a call that eliminates all other calls. If you have said you are a Christian, all the other calls are overthrown. The call to be a Christian is a full time task 24 hours every day from the day of conversion until the day of rapture.” May God write that on our hearts!