How then did Paul train ministers to jump in the First Century?
He took them with him. Paul traveled throughout all of Asia Minor, training future planters like Timothy, Titus, Silvanus, leaving planters in his wake.
Paul’s methodology was:
- I do, you watch
- You do, I watch
- You do, I go somewhere else and do
Rinse and repeat with every one of the 32 “fellow workers” that Paul mentions in his epistles, and you’ll see that Paul’s OTJT (On The Job Training) was the most effective practice of preparing guys for ministry.
At least Jesus seemed to think so. He did it with 12 disciples for 3 years.
Reproducing himself was such a high priority to Jesus that most of his ministry was to the twelve, not to the crowds.
Paul was a “ninja planter” always on the move like the Ronin of Feudal Japan. In Acts 19, Paul stopped walking the earth like Kane from “da Kung Fu” and began training up multiple ninjas from his church planting dojo headquarters in Ephesus. Acts 19:10 tells us that for over two years Paul taught his disciples in the school of Tyrannus daily, and that the gospel went out into the entire region of Asia. The result was that during that time, Paul sent them out to plant a chain of churches we now refer to as the seven churches of Asia. Paul was training them with hands on application to their seminary lessons.
The difference between a ninja planter and a shepherd is that a planter’s focus is on raising up others who will duplicate what they’ve done in order to rapidly facilitate a vast number of church plants. This is in contrast to a shepherd who focuses on meeting the needs of those already in the pews.
Don’t get me wrong. We need shepherds in the church, but we’re cranking out lecturers from seminaries that resemble Saul of Tarsus more than Paul the apostle. I’ve been thinking that we need more ninja’s in the Kingdom of God. At least that’s what most little boys hoped they’d be when they grew up. I’m confident that if we focused on training ninjas instead of shepherds, things would start to look a whole lot more like what Paul did in the first century.
The stuff that you read about in the book of Acts can only be learnt on the front lines, not working from behind a desk in an air conditioned office as a pencil pusher for Jesus, hoping nobody will come in and interrupt you from your studies.
So, what’ll it be?
Front lines or in a cubicle back at HQ?
In WW2, paratroopers were Ike’s secret-weapon that turned the tide of the war, and ensured victory for the most ambitious amphibious land assault in history. Spiritually speaking, the times are ripe for heroes who are willing to be dropped behind the barbed wire to break the axis of evil. God wants to refashion you into an angel of death, equipped to parachute into a night sky lit up by anti-aircraft shells exploding and tracers whizzing.
It worked in the First Century so much, that Paul asserted that the Gospel had spread into every major city in the sphere of his ministry “so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation” (Romans 15:25).
Recruits, this is what Paul did with one generation! What will this generation do?
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.