Imitating anyone or anything typically draws lawsuits more than praise in individualistic Western culture. It sure draws a lot of kudos, however, if you read the New Testament.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul writes, ‘Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ,’ and in 2 Thessalonians 3:7, he adds, ‘For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example.’
But the grandaddy of all the imitation verses is this one from the pen of Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:15-17:
In Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
What has me all blogified about this today was an email from Mission Increase Foundation Los Angeles Regional Giving and Training Officer Matt Bates, who was water-cooling it with two of our Giving and Training Officers, Tracy Tucker in Northern California and Jonathan Roe in Arizona:
We had a nice discussion about the concept of imitation and how that should impact ministries’ decisions to hire directors of development. If they really commit to TG, then they will look for mature champions of the cause with the skills and passion to lead others on a discipleship journey—more of a pastoral bent than you would usually find in a typical development candidate pool.
I couldn’t agree more. I’m dying to receive correspondence from a ministry I support that says:
In Christ Jesus I became your coach in this Kingdom cause we share for the sake of the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my Director of Development whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of how I approach the cause in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach to each of our partners and champions.
Did you hire your development director because they were a mature champion in your cause? Normally these are the folks we put in “program” positions, not in the development department!
Unless, of course, we come to recognize that the frontline of any nonprofit ministry is always the development department.
What would a job description for a Development Director look like if it were based on 1 Corinthians 4:15-17?
For your download here–susa-dopacd2–is the first DOD job description of which I’m aware that is self-conciously styled around that verse. I wrote it for Seoul USA, the ministry my wife and I co-founded.
(The Seoul USA Director of Development position is now ably filled by Amy Karjala, whom we love, who is faithful in the Lord–she helped write the Coach Your Champions book, after all. She reminds our Seoul USA champions how my wife and I approach the NK cause in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what we teach to each of our partners and champions…)