Leadership Essential #4: The Art of Imitation


As a young man I learned how to shave by imitating my father as he shaved.

I practiced driving by imitating whoever was driving.

I began singing by imitating others as they sang.

Imitation.  It’s natural.  It’s the way we learn a behavior.

How do people learn to follow Jesus?


Immediately after that amazing mission experience in Luke 10 where Jesus sent out the 72 with nothing but each other and prayer, the disciples make this request of Jesus:

“Lord, teach us to pray…”

Here’s what’s really interesting:  Just before that request we read in verse 1:  “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.”

Jesus was modeling prayer for His disciples.  He allowed them to get close enough so they could SEE HOW He did what He did.  Jesus wasn’t just praying to His Father.  Our Savior was modeling prayer for them.  And then when His disciples were curious, Jesus taught them HOW to pray.

There are two fundamental questions that every Jesus-follower ought to be able to answer:

How are you following Jesus?  (What practices are you engaged in?)  And…

Who is close enough to you to observe and become curious?

How do you pray?  How do you read the Word?  How do you journal?  How do you give?  How do you build friendships?  How do you serve?  How do you recognize where God’s working?  How do you teach your children to follow Jesus?  How do you choose what to read in the Bible?  How do you have a “quiet time” so you can receive from God?  How do you construct a personal retreat so you can hear from God?

We teach the Art of Imitation at the Church by encouraging people to do these five things with their friends:  (Adapted from I Once Was Lost, pg. 128 “New Habits Within the First Eight Weeks”)

  • Pray with them.
  • Study Scripture with them.
  • Live in community with them.
  • Discover your stories together.
  • Serve with them.

Are you letting anyone get close enough to you to be able to imitate you?  if so, what are you modeling for them right now?




Other posts in this Series:

10 Basic Leadership Essential and Missional Leadership

The Art of Following

The Art of Obeying

The Art of Invitation