I want to create a scenario for you. I know it’s far fetched but be patient & play along with me for the sake of the point I want to make.
Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist then immediately goes into the wilderness for 40 days. During this time, He is tempted by Satan following which, He is tended by angels & given instructions on His ministry, including how to proceed. Once the 40 days are over, Jesus heads back to civilization & begins His ministry.
Scripture tells us that Jesus called His inner circle of disciples during the early days of His ministry but, in this story, Jesus would instead decide to go it alone. After all, He would know what to do & how to do. He would just ask for volunteers when He needed help.
And He does need help from time to time. Whenever the need arose, Jesus would just announce the need for volunteers to a handy crowd of followers then wait for people to approach Him, offering their services. Jesus would give them brief instructions on what He needed them to do, then send them on their way.
Jesus found He rarely got people to volunteer more than once, sometime hearing quiet comments about the lack of training or instruction before the last group was sent out to do their work. Jesus would just shrug & wonder if the volunteers had problems because of their lack of faith.
Time would go on until Jesus was crucified & then resurrected. Jesus would do the things Scripture tells us He did until it was time for Him to ascend into Heaven. Jesus would issue the Great Commission to the crowd gathered for this event, telling them to “teach others everything I have shown you!” And then He would be gone!
Unfortunately, the people witnessing the ascension would look at one another, wondering exactly WHAT He had shown them! None of them would have spent enough time with Jesus to piece all the parts together. Even worse, who would continue the ministry Jesus began? Who would lead the church? No one would have been with Jesus throughout His ministry, enabling them to continue the work! And we won’t even talk about the Gospels! I can’t help but feel the church would have slowly, bit by bit, died.
Fortunately, this is NOT what happened. Jesus called a diverse group of men to work with Him closely throughout His ministry. He taught them, He trained them, He mentored them. He left them with tools, including the Holy Spirit, to enable them to continue His work, growing the church in the years following His ascension & way, way beyond.
It might have been easier for Jesus to just do things Himself. But the work of the Kingdom was too important not to ensure it continued when He was no long here on Earth. And it is STILL too important for us not to ensure that the work of the church continues even after the current leaders are no longer able or willing to do it themselves.
And yet, we get lazy & fail to train the next generation of leaders to carry-on the work we began or was begun years earlier. Many small churches, & even some large churches, are struggling these days because they find it easier to do the work themselves than take the time & suffer the pain training a new generation of leaders.
The Gospels & the Book of Acts are an instruction manual for the church, showing us exactly what we must do to, among other things, ensure the work of Christ continues in our churches for the next generation.
This year, one area of focus for me is leadership development. I plan to share thoughts, tips, training & more to help potential leaders recognize their call to leadership within the church & community & help the church identify, train, mentor & equip the next generation of leaders for their church.
I will say this again & again, the harvest is great but the laborers are few! There is a multitude of laborers out there, waiting to be called to do the work the Lord wants them to do. Let’s never lose a laborer for the Lord’s harvest!
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