It was like a light bulb went on for me. The preacher was speaking on an all too familiar text, Jesus appointing the 12 to be his apostles (Mk 3:13-19) when a little line (that I must have read hundreds of times) jumped out and punched me firmly between the eyes.
Mark 3:14 says,
He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him.
That little phrase, “that they might be with him” is the essence of Jesus training strategy. It is not complicated. It doesn’t involve huge resources. You don’t have to be brilliant or particularly gifted to pull it off. In fact it is incredibly simple. The essence of training is sharing your life with them. It doesn’t require classrooms or formal curricula or expensive buildings. It is just presence – him with them. He shared himself with them. They were together for three years. They must have talked about the Scriptures, talked about people, talked about ministry, talked about politics and ethics. They surely prayed together, kicked a ball, laughed and wept together. He taught them what to do with his words and they watched him do it himself. As he did ministry they saw the way he handled people and how he handled the Bible, they saw how he lived and they saw his heart…because training is more than knowledge. Training is knowledge and skills, but the most important part of training is the training of the heart. Christian ministry must flow out of a heart that is deeply in love with God.
The strategy isn’t complicated but it is costly. Lorne Sanny says,
Sometimes we don’t want to get involved. We don’t want the phone to ring at night. We want to pull up the drawbridge around our little home so nothing disturbs our peace. But if you’re going to share your life with people, it’s going to disturb your peace. That’s the cost. It will tear you apart. But it will also thrill you…
6 thoughts for training…
- Training is very simple. It is simply sharing your life and ministry. Anyone can do it.
- You can’t train if you won’t give yourself. Don’t even try.
- Do as much as you can with your trainees. Take them with you.
- Share your life with them. Share your joys and struggles, your successes and failures. Let them watch you do it.
- Let them catch your passion for God.
- Centre all you do on the Bible. Make sure you are reading and praying it with them.
Additional reading: The Master Plan of Evangelism, Robert Coleman…a classic and a must read.
Billy Graham says about this book, “Few books have had as great an impact on the cause of world evangelisation…”
Written by Geoff Gertzen