And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
(2 Timothy 2:2)
Timothy was charged by Paul through the Holy Spirit to think of the next several generations of Christians, specifically those who would be teaching and leading in the churches. It is not enough merely to think of what is going on in our time and who is leading us now, we must look to train and nurture the next leaders.
But at a practical level, how is this done? For today, we will simply consider the point that Paul was “with” these future leaders constantly. Pay attention to words like “with” in the book of Acts and Paul’s letters. He’s pretty much always with someone, isn’t he?
Paul wanted to have him (Timothy) go on with him…
Be diligent to come to me quickly…. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.
(2 Timothy 4:9-12)
This really isn’t that complicated, but in order to influence people you have to be around them! In order for our young men and women to learn how to teach and lead they have to be around those constantly who are doing those very things. Just at the church building on Sunday and Wednesday isn’t enough.
Also of note here from 2 Timothy 2:2 is that Timothy was to be an initiator of this teaching. Don’t get in the trap of waiting for everyone to come to you to learn about the stuff of leadership. We can tell ourselves things like, “Well, if someone has a question or wants to learn something, I’m happy to show them.” You may be waiting a long time for that to happen.
How about this?
- Plan a visit to one of the widows or shut-ins of the congregation, and take someone with you on that visit.
- The next time you visit someone who has not been attending services, take someone with you.
- When you have a study with someone who is not a Christian, take someone with you so they can see what you do.
- Initiate a work day at the church building, and bring some of the young people who may not normally be involved in such things and have them help in the work.
It’s a start, but again, the key is to be with others. If you find that a lot of your mornings / evenings are wrapped up with watching TV and doing projects around the house, you might want to re-evaluate things. How about taking just one of those nights and spend it mentoring the next generation?