When is a disciple ready to lead in ministry. When can a person be sent out to plant a church? We have many metrics and they each serve a purpose (seminary, pastoral experience, a clear call from God, etc.). This is a question I have been wrestling with quite a bit. You see, I am a Church Planter in Wyoming which is the least populated state in our nation. Over 93% of the population is not part of a church. We need more than one church, we need a couple of hundred more! I moved from another state and so have others…yet, in the Mountain West context, it seems best to see people rise up to plant churches from within the indigenous population. The impatient side of me says, ‘That will take too long!’. This is why I have been reading John Chapter 1. Follow this process along with me briefly.
On day #1 in our adventure John the Baptist identifies Jesus as God The Son which means that these folks had zero knowledge of Christ up to this point. The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!…And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” John 1:29 & 34
On day #2 John once again points to Jesus and encourages his men to follow Jesus instead of him. The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” Still on that same day, they chose to come with Jesus without any long discourse recorded in Scripture.
On the same day, as they followed Him, Andrew evangelizes his brother Simon and the little group began to grow. So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). John 1:35-42
On day #3, Jesus brings Philip into the team and Philip quickly recruits Nathaniel (with a bit of supernatural Jesus power for confirmation). The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” John 1:43-49
You just witnessed the beginning of a multiplying church…all in 3 days time. Now, one can argue that we will make all kinds of messes by expecting a shorter ‘incubation period’ for new disciples. That’s true. Ministry can be a glorious mess and we shouldn’t just send people out un-cocked or half-cocked. However, one could also easily argue that the ‘goods and services christianity’ we see all around us is fueled by a long incubation period before a disciple gets to do anything. When we sit at a destination and soak up only someone else’s time in the Word then we will likely become sour. When we come to know Christ and study to show ourselves approved while living out our faith ‘along the way’ then we begin movement. Movement keeps ministry going.
Who do you have in your life that is ready for some movement? Is there anyone who has taken a seat on the bench of ministry that you can invest in and get up and at it?