As I think about and seek to promote biblical, strong, faithful, Spirit-filled leaders, my mind runs to Paul. After the separation of Barnabas and Paul over issues with John Mark, Paul does not try to carry on the ministry solo. He immediately “chose Silas and departed” (Acts 15:40). Paul had a Spirit-given desire to both work with a partner and develop the next generation of leaders.
To accomplish that, Paul looked for younger men he could disciple, mentor, and release into ministry. As Paul and Silas pass through Syria and Cilicia, they come to Derbe and hear of a disciple named Timothy. He was “the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer…well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium” (16:1-2).
You might say, these characteristics were criteria in Paul’s mind as he went from place to place. Not many people lined up with these qualities, but as in the case of Timothy, Paul found a young man that fit what he was looking for. “Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him and he took him” (16:3). This is what we call ‘training in the ministry.’
Does this method of leadership development work? As this newly formed team went from place to place, “the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily” (16:5). Discipling in view of developing leaders who are strong in faith and Spirit-filled will always have this result. Are you working with a team and who are you mentoring into leadership?
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