As a great leader, Jesus had already prepared the way for his disciples to follow.
He left heaven to come and preach the good news. Then in Luke 9, Jesus sent his “A”Team” out to do likewise. They were like his spiritual special forces, having walked with him and trained with him.
And now Luke 10 tells how it was time to send out the remaining troops, ordinary people like you and I who he would send as workers for the harvest.
There is so much to learn from what Jesus did here! Here are some keys that we can apply today.
1. Jesus specifically called people, let them know there task and sent them. It wasn’t a general exhortation to his crowd of followers. People were specifically appointed and told to go! Urging the crowd gathered on a Sunday to go will never be as effective as appointing specific people to go.
2. Jesus sent them out in pairs. Two are much better than one. Team ministry always trumps sole ministry.
3. Jesus showed the importance of prayer, and how to pray. He wasn’t praying for openness, conversions or even great conversations. He was praying for the men and women who would heed to call to go and be obedient. The greatest spiritual attack isn’t in the hearts and minds of those we witness to, it’s in the hearts and minds of those who Jesus sends. The problem isn’t with the harvest, it’s with having workers who will go into the harvest field. Nothing much has changed here!
4. Jesus instructed them to travel light. That way they had to depend on his Father to answer their needs. Fear causes us to wait until we have all we need. “I need to arrange accomodation” “I need to know and study a bit more” “I need to…”. Faith causes us to trust in Jesus and go.
5. Jesus emphasised their going to find people, not the people’s coming to those he commissioned. They were sent to look for people and connect with them, and opening a spiritual conversation using the blessing of peace. Those he sent were the ones who took the initiative. As a contrast, many of our programs are responsive; we don’t take the initiative to people but depend on a person coming and wanting to go further.
6. Jesus instructed that the initial receptivity of a person was critical. If they aren’t open and responsive, move on and look for someone else who is. Don’t waste time by trying to convert a person who isn’t open. The more upfront we are early on about the message we bring, the better. The longer we wait, the bless receptive people will be.
7. Jesus told his disciples to find Persons of Peace. They are people who a. are receptive to the disciple, b. are hungry to hear their message, and c. who will use their influence for others to hear the message. Persons of Peace will unlock towns, networks and communities to the gospel. They are the real harvesters who Jesus told us to pray for who will bring in the harvest. They must be immediately equipped and released to share the good news with those they influence.
8. Jesus told them not to worry about rejection or how people would respond, because when people said “no”, they weren’t really rejecting them, they were rejecting Jesus and his Father.
9. Jesus not only tasked them with a commission, but he gave them the spiritual authority they needed. The highest level of spiritual warfare takes place when we share Jesus and they decide whether to follow Him. When we are obedient in sharing, Satan loses. Whenever someone decides to follow Jesus, he loses again! We can defeat Satan through our obedience in making Jesus known and in seeing people come to faith. And Jesus has given us the authority to do this!
10. Jesus then debriefed his disciples. He was coaching them. in so doing, he was holding them accountable, reviewing their work, instructing them further and encouraging them. By appointing specific people, he was also able to be specific in knowing who to debrief.
10 simple principles. Developed by Jesus, tested by his “A Team”, then tested by a bunch of ordinaries. Tried and tested down through the ages. Being applied in amazing ways around the world at present, seeing a great harvest being brought in.
What about you? Here are three simple steps to implementing these principles:
- Go and lead the way by doing it yourself
- Gather and train your “A Team”, your ministry leader sand elder together and send them like Jesus sent the 12.
- Train, appoint and send people from throughout your church
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2
- Tim O’Neill