How could eleven men replace Jesus and begin the most important movement in human history? It sounds impossible and yet it happened. This small band of leaders were used by God to begin the church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, but the genesis for their leadership happened three years before.
And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. (Mark 3:13-15 ESV)
The Father had a plan. His Son was to train twelve men (even the one who betrayed him was within this plan). Eleven of these men were to pick up the ministry when Jesus ascended to His Father. Jesus had given them all they needed.
Our calling is the same. We need to be developing those around us in such ways that the ministry can continue unabated in our absence. Discipling others is the most important thing we do.
Notice the elements of Jesus’ training of others…
The heart of true discipleship is spending time with those we are training. Discipleship is more caught than taught. There is simple no substitute for time. If you think discipling merely happens in a class or seminar you are not following the method of Christ and will not raise the kind of men He developed.
1) to equip them to know and communicate God’s word and,
2) to wage spiritual warfare—to recognize and understand and be able to exercise spiritual authority over the enemy.
Their offensive training was to advance the Word, but their defensive position was to be equipped to stand against the enemy.
We cannot improve on Jesus’ plan. Finding people that we can be with, invest in, and intentionally train is His method and the most important thing we do in our ministry. Obviously, our first disciples should be our own children. We must see them, first of all, in this discipling light.
Have I prayed all night about those I am to mentor? Have I approached them? Am I willing to spend all the time necessary to develop them? Am I intentional—preparing them to know and communicate God’s Word and exercise spiritual authority? If not, I may blaze in my service for a season, but I am assuring a short legacy and weakened ministry.
(copyright 2011, Bill Elliff)
2ProphetU is an online magazine/website, started by Warren Wiersbe and Michael Catt, to build up the church, seek revival, and encourage pastors.