Leadership provides a person with the opportunity to both manage people and mentor people. If you're like me, you might get a little squeamish when you hear the manager label tossed around. Many of us have endured seasons in life where we have felt micro-managed, leading us to perhaps reject the idea of managing altogether. Mentoring, on the other hand, may seem more appealing to those who wish to pursue a relational connection with their leaders.
When we look at the life of Jesus, and specifically the interaction He had with His team of disciples, we can see Jesus utilizing both a manager and mentor strategy for the growth and development of His team.
Jesus was a manager when He asked His disciples to complete tasks, give reports and grow in their personal understanding of who He is and what He was sent to do. Jesus was a mentor when He allowed His team to ask questions, make suggestions, try things and learn from failures.
In terms of discipleship, the manager/mentor dichotomy is a critical understanding. There are times when we need to challenge and hold one another accountable. There are also times when we need to empower and release others to grow in the process of discipleship. The mark of a great disciple-maker is someone who is able to identify and adjust his or her style of leadership based upon the unique needs of the ministry context, scenario or individual disciple. This doesn't mean selling out to the demands of your surroundings. It does mean being willing to serve and lead in the process of discipleship by both managing and mentoring when the season calls for it.
To be a manager or a leader, you need to be a mentor. To be a mentor, you need to understand how to lead.