When it comes to leading the church, making disciples, and ushering in God’s kingdom, we often wonder where to take the first step.
While thinking through my own ministry experience, I came to a conclusion. It’s not a new one. In fact, it’s been taught over and over again in my ministry career by a variety of voices. It’s a simple question that I have come to believe is the root of leadership, and yet it’s one we often don’t think to ask often enough:
Who will you disciple?
Who will you pour your life into?
Who will you help, encourage, lead, challenge, inspire, and equip?
When you think about it, this question is central to the life of Jesus. With many followers, he chose twelve to be his disciple.
As it says in Luke 6:13,
At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles.
What we might overlook is the verse immediately before this:
Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.
The proximity of these two verses needs to be taken seriously. If in fact they are related, then we are invited into a unique spiritual practice. It seems that Jesus spent all night praying through this rather simple question: Who will I disciple?
Jesus preached to the crowds, regularly. He worked with the sick. He healed the lame. He visited the outcast. He ate dinner with tax collectors and prostitutes. It seems his ministry to the masses was almost unlimited and unfettered.
But he only chose twelve to disciple.
Not twenty. Not thirty. Not one hundred.
There are times in Jesus’ ministry that the ministries to the masses drove him to solitude and prayer (Luke 5:16, Matthew 14:22). But this occasion for prayer seems different. He isn’t getting away to recoup, he’s seeking the Father for who to disciple.
He is not recharging his batteries; he is prayerfully considering which other batteries he hopes to jumpstart.
In a world where everyone clamors for our attention, we often offer what little we have to whoever will take it. But this is not the way of Jesus.
So I leave you, Christian leader, with this challenge: spend an entire night this week praying about who you will disciple.