made redundant

7 Mar

There are lots of phrases and words used to describe losing your job—getting fired, being given your pink slip, getting sacked. I want to focus on being made redundant. It sounds like a strange mix of sarcasm and politeness and we hear it used regularly in popular sitcoms. Being made redundant is not technically getting fired. The definition is to be “deprived of one’s job because it is no longer necessary for efficient operation.” I don’t suppose you have ever considered working toward redundancy. But that is just what I want you to do.

There is a model in Jesus’ discipling that we can consider (as described in InterVarsity’s Leading Edge training material). There are four stages to this discipling. In stage 1 Jesus is A LIVING EXAMPLE. He allows the disciples to come and see, to observe and ask questions. And it is up to the disciples to decide to follow. In stage 2 Jesus acts as A PROVOCATIVE TEACHER. He now asks them questions and gives them insiders’ explanations. He challenges their assumptions and allows them to wrestle with mental conundrums. And they become his assistants (as in the case of feeding the multitudes) because he is interested in multiplying his ministry. In stage 3 Jesus is A SUPPORTIVE COACH. He delegates, sending his disciples to do ministry with clear instructions, clear authority, and clear expectations. He develops in them competence and confidence, even as they at times face their own flaws. In stage 4 Jesus is THE ULTIMATE DELEGATOR. His last days and hours on earth are spent considering his disciples’ needs. He gives them a model of servant leadership. He expresses his love for them and prays for them. And he calls them to the mission with an explanation and promise of equipping and empowering.

I’m not Jesus. Neither are you. We can’t do all of these things. But in a student ministry context we do need to make ourselves redundant, that is, when you graduate will there be a hole in the ministry or will someone else step in equipped and encouraged to continue God’s work? Here are a few questions to help you make sure you are making yourself redundant.
1. Who is watching your example?
2. Are you challenging someone to wrestle with their assumptions and see another perspective?
3. Are you giving someone the opportunity to share the tasks of your ministry role?
4. Can you leave your ministry role confident that God is equipping someone to carry on after you?

If you would like to see the Leading Edge training material let me know and I can email a copy to you or better yet sit down with you (and maybe your team) and talk it through together.

Jeremy Hamilton

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