Sunday, April 11, 2010

Touching Base! Part 82

12 for 12
(This article can also we found on our website at under the tab called “Blog”)

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God’s Word needs to be discussed in community.

I am sure that many have had the unfortunate experience of seeking to work elsewhere because the person at the top is… er…“broken” (you might have a more descriptive, colourful word). We have all experienced leadership that makes the work environment toxic, and which is lethal for our emotional health. Think about an environment of your own where the leadership contributed to an unhealthy work context. What characterized the toxic leadership? What did it do to your own soul? How did you resolve the issue?

In our text (Luke 9:1-11), there are two very different leaders present. We have Jesus, whose leadership is modeled in the majority of this text. We also have Herod (the son of Herod the Great), who Jesus called a “fox”. The insertion of what Herod is thinking (v7-9) almost seems like an interruption in the main story… until you realize what Luke may have been doing.

Why do you think these comments about Herod are included in this story?
What is it about Jesus that most perplexes Herod? What do you think he most wanted from Jesus?
Based on this text who would you rather have as your boss, Jesus or Herod? Why?

On Sunday, we identified four ministry principles that result from Jesus’ leadership style. Our purpose was to affirm Bethel in how we see some of these principles being fleshed out at the Church. Talk about these principles and see how they apply to your life.

Principle #1 The “12 for 12” principle of ministry

“When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robbins Island for his opposition to South Africa’s apartheid, he was issued a pair of shorts - not long trousers - because his captors wanted his identity to be that of a boy instead of a man. People in power over him wanted him to be a docile accepter of a racist society.” (John Ortberg, The Me I Don’t Want To Be, p.27)

How does Jesus’ leadership style illustrate him putting “trousers” on the disciples, not “shorts”? Notice what Jesus gave them in v1. The word “gave” means “to be supplied, furnished, clothed.”

How many disciples did Jesus have? How many were given power and authority?

In Jesus’ leadership style, if you were on the team, you were to be in the game - 12 disciples=12 ministers. There were no bystanders, spectators, or just consumers. The expectation was that ministry was central to being a disciple.

Philip Yancey once said,

“When I turned 50, I had a complete physical check-up. Doctors poked, prodded, x-rayed, and even cut open parts of my body to assess and repair the damage I had done. At the same time, I scheduled a spiritual check-up, too. I went on a silent retreat led by a wise spiritual director. In those days of solitude, I pondered what I needed to change to keep my soul in shape. The more I listened, the longer grew the list. Here is a mere sampling, a portion of a spiritual action plan for my next 50 years.”

One of those items on the list was....

“Find what Eric Liddell found: something that allows you to feel God's pleasure. When the sprinter's sister worried that his participation in the Olympics might derail his missionary career, Eric responded, "God made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure."

What has Christ given you his power and authority to do?
What makes you feel God’s pleasure?
Why do many Christ followers refuse to get in the game?

Principle #2- Ministry often will take us to places where we can’t touch bottom.

I think people/we have tendencies to find comfortable patterns, gather familiar people around us, and get into habits that keep us far from the edge, a good distance from the deep end. We like to minimize risk, control outcomes, we like guarantees, we like predictability.

What does Jesus do? He puts long trousers on the 12 and then sends them into the deep end.
What did the deep end look like for these disciples?
Check out v.1, 2 - What were they to do?
Check out v.3 - What were they to take?
Check out v.12-14 - How big was the need at times?

Notice in v.3, Jesus says “take nothing for the journey” yet by reading v.1 we know that they are not going empty-handed. They have been clothed with “trousers” (power and authority) which also implies the presence of God. They will need to remember this time and time again when they find themselves in deep water just trying to stay afloat.

Talk about walking in obedience to God’s call and feeling like you can’t touch bottom. What is it about that experience that can make us panic or forget that God has equipped us? What ministry opportunity have you avoided because it was a deep end you did not want to have to negotiate?

Principle #3 Ministry mimics the Master.

On Sunday I talked about how the disciples looked a lot like Jesus in what they did (see v.1-5). However, there is a very important verse that shows us the context of their ministry. Notice v. 6 – in it, the disciples are mimicking their teacher/rabbi in terms of where they do ministry. Statistics show that out of 132 public appearances made by Jesus, 122 of them were in the marketplace. Of the 52 parables Jesus told, 45 had a “workplace” context.

They have seen Him minister in the synagogues and they have seen Him spend a vast amount of His time in the marketplace. “Villages” and “everywhere” certainly included the marketplace to a large extent. Herod saw the marketplace as a context to make a profit. Jesus saw the marketplace as a context to make a disciple.

This is an important point to think about. When we come under the leadership of Jesus we begin to see that the marketplace is where so much life change ministry can take place.

When we come under Jesus’ style of leadership we discover that it is not all about Sunday morning, all about the pastor’s sermon or all about what happens at 11 a.m. or 9 a.m. There is a much bigger picture - do you see your ministry as unfolding in the marketplace? What damage has been done in churches where marketplace ministry is never talked about?

Principle #4 Ministry must (at times) ease up and have clear boundaries set for it

Check out v.10 and notice that Jesus is calling the disciples to withdraw after having been out doing ministry. Notice that this conversation would have taken place amongst a group who were practitioners, not just theorists. “12 for 12” teams generate great discussion and insight. What fresh insights might have been shared? I would love to have been a bug on the wall.

Notice the dilemma that is introduced in v.11. Read Mark 6:30-33 to get an added sense of what is going on here.

When you begin to see the world in which you live as a place to minister, the needs will be unending.

What do you do to ease up and draw boundaries?
Does your “Bethsaida” (a place to regroup, refresh) still work?
What is the most draining aspect of your ministry focus? (Marketplace? Church gathered? etc.)
Who are your “12” that you can talk with, pray with and keep accountable?


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