15For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers.
For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.
16I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
(1 Corinthians 4:15-16)
Paul wrote these words to encourage the church at Corinth in how they should live, not according to what they consider to be correct, but to live according to what he taught them and ultimately what Christ taught. When he said, imitate me, he was not inviting them to copy him or be exactly like him, but rather (as a spiritual father) follow his lead. As Paul was completely dependent upon Christ, they should be as well. As Paul was completely surrendered to Christ, they also should come under His rule. His desire was to raise up children of the faith, who take seriously Jesus commands and love Christ above all things and who go raise up others who go do the same. (Luke 14:25-33, Matthew 28:19-20)