John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus. After that, Jesus called the first disciple, Andrew (John 1:40). Through his calling, Andrew is inspired to call his brother Simon (Peter) (1:41-42). And so the “twelve disciples” were chosen by Jesus.
Peter, a leader in the early Jerusalem Church was trained by Jesus, and then according to tradition, he trained and mentored Barnabas in the context of the early church in Jerusalem (Acts 11:22-24). So when the early church looked for a key man with godly character to send to Antioch, they sent Barnabas. It is through him that the early church expands to Antioch where a church is established (strengthened) by Barnabas who is joined by the Apostle Paul from Tarsus (11:25-26). The Antioch Church becomes a launching pad to take the gospel to the world.
Starting with John the Baptist and the call of Jesus to the twelve disciples, we will follow the thread of leadership through Peter and Barnabas that connected or held together the expansion of the early church from Jerusalem to the world (see chart below). We will see how leaders, church planters and elders emerged from the church family of God for the next generation.
Carefully compare what we see in the biblical example and how we train and select leaders today. How has the church’s failure to recognize and practice the sufficiency and authority of Scripture in training leaders contributed to weakness in the church today? (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Please send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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