God wants all stewards to participate in spreading the good news of Jesus. However, our strategies often bear little fruit. Why? I think we ignore the example of Jesus and how He engaged people and aimed at multiplication.
Consider His 4-step approach and how you might multiply stewards at your church or ministry.
1. I do. You watch.
“…He spent the night in prayer to God. And when the day came, He called His disciples…”
In Luke 6:12-16, Jesus prayed all night and then picked His disciples. His “doing” started with prayer. Meanwhile, the disciples didn’t know what they didn’t know. They certainly knew nothing about life in the Kingdom! So, in the rest of chapter 6 and 7, we see that Jesus explained it to them. They had proverbial front row seats.
Think about your ministry setting. If you do all the program delivery, it’s all on your shoulders and you will grow by addition. But if you begin with prayer and identify people to empower, you aim at multiplication from the outset. And it’s alright if the ordinary people we have picked feel clueless. It was the same for the first disciples!
2. I do. You help.
“…through cities and villages…the twelve were with Him, as well as some women…”
As we move into Luke 8, notice three things. First, Jesus took them on the road with Him, going from cities to villages. Both large and small towns mattered. Second, men and women ministered with Him. He had a mixed-gender team to serve communities. Third, the workers themselves funded the mission using what they had.
Now, reflect again. Do your strategies intentionally engage men and women? Do you just minister in familiar territory or do you go to hard-to-reach places or where the people may be different from you? Do you urge everyone to use what they have rather than depend on outside support? This is how to grow disciples!
3. You do. I help.
“…take nothing for your journey… ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers…
In Luke 9 with the 12 and Luke 10 with the 70, Jesus reversed the roles by design. He said to take no money, as money does not fuel mission, God does. He instructed them to pray for workers just like He did. He told them to proclaim the good news and remain in the care of receptive people. After doing it, they reported that it worked!
Do you see the multiplication model of Jesus taking shape? He did not recruit volunteers. As adults experience transformation through experiential learning, He deployed ordinary people on mission with basic instructions. He knew they would figure it out as they lived it out. How might we do this at our churches and ministries?
4. You do. I watch.
“When I sent you out…did you lack anything?” They said, “No, not a thing.”
In Luke 22, Jesus asked the disciples this question, and He already knew their answer. They had to learn first-hand that God would provide as they journeyed with Him. Now, with that insight, they were ready to go on mission without Him. He alerted them to expect opposition and use what they had.
Jesus added in Luke 24 that they were to stay until they were clothed with power from above. Basically, His last words were to make sure the Spirit and not strategy is the driving force of ministry. That’s a great last word for all of us. Do we position the Spirit to serve as the driving force of ministry? Remember, Jesus is watching!
In summary, rather than complaining about a lack of funds and relying on our own strategies which results in growth by addition, let’s follow the model of Jesus. Let’s multiply faithful stewards by praying for workers, engaging them this way, and teaching them experimentally to depend on God as they mobilize others on mission.
This article was originally posted on the Christian Leadership Alliance Blog on 20 April 2022.