Fathering Leaders: Testing The Leaders You Train as Fathers with Burden-bearing

dr don preaching“Leaders always carry more burdens than their burdens.”

Fathering leaders train leaders to father. Fathering leaders carry the burden of fathering, so they must train leaders to bear the burden that fathers carry.

That means fathers must decide how much of the burden a leader learning to father can carry without experiencing overload. All leaders carry loads for others: by that we mean they are burdened with passion and compassion for other people, and we say they share a portion of other people’s burdens to relieve them or share their responsibilities.

Leaders always carry more burdens than their burdens. They are not walking about with only their concerns on their shoulders. On the other hand, they do not bear all burdens available to them.

As a fathering leader, you carry more burdens than those you are fathering. You protect them from burden-bearing, relieve them of burden-bearing, but you also train them to bear burdens by allowing them to be sacrifices of passionate love for you, others, and the assignment. You assign burden-bearing at the leadership level to the leaders you train to father. You let them hurt. You allow them feel the pain of betrayal. You put them into situations in which they must endure. You refuse to protect them from the reality of ministry.

You hear Dr. Don say, “Welcome to ministry” when you experience what fathering leaders experience.

If you do not, you are not training fathering leaders. You are not training leaders at all. You are not even training that much because training involves severe discipline, the stretch of the soul and its powers by pressure, pain, and perplexity. If you are training leaders, you test them with painful pressure to set a baseline for their present maturity. If you are training fathering leaders, you check them for sacrificial servanthood, to be poured out wine and broken bread for others.

Focused Preparation Leads to Narcissism

Remember that focusing upon the individual calling, gifts, and Providential pathway of a kingdom leader during their training will walk them right into narcissism. Your fathering will created a demand within them. They will define your fathering by what you can do for them, how you can produce their destiny, what doors you can open, and how much thrust your influence can give to launching them.

This kind of narcissism is directly opposed to the fathering leader’s posture as a kingdom leader, and it must be stomped into the ground, buried in a hole with the dung of selfish pride, and ground into the powder of a shattered idol for them to drink, tasting the bitter pithy poison of covetousness.

In other words, you ain’t daddy to make little darlings and divas happy. You ain’t daddy to turn junior into a star. You ain’t running a Kingdom Idol show to discover the latest and greatest of the generation’s entertainment and stage ready conference performers.

You are a father. You are testing them to see if they will quit when asked to fight a battle, carry a burden, wash dirty feet, continue to care for a rebellious lamb and do the stuff that real fathers do.

My Experience

Most of the moderns, like Paul with Timothy, end up with the same syndrome that plagued fathering two thousand years ago. A remnant cares for the things of Jesus. The rest care about themselves.

You asked them to meet and share some coffee, and the next two hours is an “I finally got him now” sales pitch for their delusions. You could stop the whole thing with a sharp needle point thrust, popping the balloon, but you need to sit there and listen so you can determine where to point the pressure of authentic painful discipline next.

I know that sounds negative and Joel Osteen ain’t gonna preach that or write about in his next motivational book (yes, that is exactly what I just said), but that is as Biblical as it is gonna get, honey! Love Joel and those like him all you want, but they are not fathering leaders.

If you think kingdom leaders grow on trees, you pick them when they are ripe, and find a way to keep them in your bushel basket, so you orchard gets AAA ratings, you ain’t ready to be a fathering leader.

Burden-bearing Quitters

I asked them to work with an immature, confused person. After one meeting they come back and tell me that they quit. “I ain’t got time to waste with people who don’t want to change.” Of course, they are so proud that they have no clue they are saying, “I don’t want to change either.”

I asked them to lead a prayer meeting. They turn it into a teaching session or a healing revival or a prophetic lineup where the people learn to spectate instead of interceding. They are thinking that everything in the kingdom of God is about their anointing, gifts, and calling.

I ask them to preach, and they decide to alter the entire direction of the apostolic assignment with one message about “How I Would Do It If We Could Only Get Dr. Don to Move to Brasil.” They expect the entire house to scream and give them a standing ovation because they are so obviously awesome. They share their experiences at the last conference when Bill Johnson touched their left earlobe and sighed a meaningful sigh – the interpretation of which they have expanded into “I am that I am” is my new name. (Bill was trying to decide if he should speak deliverance to the demons.)

My point? They cannot bear burdens at all! They can only perform after sitting in the ready room until two moments before they hit the pulpit with the most Maria Woodworth Etter host of heaven and seven realms of Glory anointing.

They never seem to hear that subtle “fizzle.” If they do, they scream louder. Then, they become offended and say foolish things like, “Dr. Don, make these people follow my leadership.” (I giggle even now.) Or, “Dr. Don, these people are following you. It is your ministry. It is sad that they dishonor me.” (Roll your eyes. Have someone roll them back. Reinsert them into your eye sockets. Sigh deeply with intense sorrow.)

Maturing the Immature

Put as much burden upon them as they will bear. If they sign for too much, you have a rare opportunity to develop an authentic inheritor. If they limit themselves to what they think is required, they will always quit too soon, carry too little, and murmur about the whole thing. If they quit the moment you strap on the saddle, you know they are never going to be a part of the inheritance – at least, they won’t until something radical happens within them.

Measure the burden you put upon them. Measure it by your discernment of submission and trust. Why? Because submission is the key to rest and peace, and trust is the gage of submission.

Watch the limited submission manifestation. The mule will hump his back to shake off the burden. Stubborn, self-willed (that means they will only do what they want to do), and ready for the spotlight more than the lamplights.

Watch the limited submission manifestation. The mule lies down and stays immobile. Avoidance behavior to the extreme. This is a person’s way of saying, “I ain’t here to be your slave.” As if. “Carry one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” is slavery. And, if it is slavery, give the chains Jesus designed for my wrists and ankles.

Watch the performance manifestation. The mule attempts to prove that he can carry every burden you can. This happens in over-achievers who think all anointing is the same. This happens in delusional quitters who quit when they fail because the problem is the burden or you or the saddle or the terrain – anything but them.

Watch the authentic leaders because if you do not watch them, you will miss what they are doing. They carry the burdens without seeking applause, constant affirmations, or advantage over other burden-bearers. They just do it. Watch because they will take on as much as you allow them, and you must temper their authentic passion as you train them.

Never allow any person to carry a burden that does not belong on their shoulders! Break that yoke! Bust that bubble! Clear off that spot for a mantle!

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