The method Jesus used to train his disciples for ministry is a great model for leaders who want to effectively train others. Along with having an intimate relationship with his disciples, Jesus incorporated a three step method of training. For the purpose of our study let’s look at how Jesus trained his disciples in the ministry of healing.
Step one in Jesus’ model was; he healed while his disciples watched. Mark 3:14-15 says, Jesus appointed twelve disciples to be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons. Luke, in his gospel, records that immediately after Jesus chose his disciples, he came down from the mountain, and a multitude of people were waiting on him. He spent the next several hours healing everyone who had a sickness or infirmity. It is as if he were saying, “Okay guys, I have called you to do this and this is how it is done.” Before he sent his disciples to preach and heal he demonstrated or modeled the process for them.
The mentor must demonstrate how to lead worship. This is the first step in mentoring someone to be a worship leader. It is good for the disciple to spend time watching and listening to the mentor. This will open the door for questions and answers that will be valuable when the disciple is released to lead. It also gives the disciple a good foundation, a good place to start. It also gives time for relationship building.
I wrote in an earlier article about my relationship with Gary, a friend of mine. When Gary first came to our church he didn’t play with the worship team. Later when we invited him to play he didn’t lead but played bass. During these first few months Gary watched as I led worship in corporate and small group settings. I modeled how to lead worship as Gary and I built a relationship which laid a foundation that facilitated the mentoring process. I don’t know how long this step in the process took, but I do know that during this time God stirred Gary’s heart and began preparing him to be a worship leader.
Step two in Jesus’ model was; his disciples healed while he watched. After an appropriate amount of training and teaching the disciples were pushed out of the nest. Luke 9:1-6 gives the account of Jesus sending the twelve out to do the works he had taught them. Another similar account is found in Luke 10:1 and 9 where Jesus enlisted 70 others to do the works of the kingdom. He gave them authority then sent them into the world.
Though Jesus was not always physically present when his disciples were ministering, he was always available for them to consult with him. In both Luke 9 and 10 Jesus released the people and they reported back to him. This enabled him to monitor the progress of his disciples (Luke 10:17-20). In a sense Jesus was looking on as his disciples were doing as they had been instructed. There were also times during this process that Jesus and his disciples did the work together.
When Jesus returned from the Mount of Transfiguration he found his disciples disputing with the scribes because the disciples were unable to heal a boy with a demon. This took place after Jesus had commissioned them. The disciples had cast out demons before; why didn’t it work now? Jesus took charge and cast the demon out of the boy. Later, the disciples questioned Jesus as to their inability to cast out the demon. Jesus was available to answer their questions and give advice.
There were other instances after the release of the disciples that Jesus demonstrated the work to which he had called them (Luke 14:1-4). Though scripture does not explicitly say so, we might be safe to assume the disciples made other mistakes while learning to do the kingdom works. By Jesus releasing them before his departure he was able to help them over a few bumps.
It is easy to conclude that step two in the mentoring process is the releasing of the disciple to lead worship under the supervision of the mentor. The late John Wimber used a phrase, “Things are better caught than taught.” The best way for someone to learn how to lead worship is to lead worship. The disciple needs to get out there, make some mistakes and gain some victories.
The way it happened with Gary and I was he began leading worship with me in small groups. I led and he played and sang back up. Later the rolls were reversed. Eventually, he led and I was a part of the small group. Later Gary was released to lead worship in corporate settings. During this entire process I was able to answer questions and give constructive input.
Step three in Jesus’ model was; he left and his disciples healed. In the “Great Commission”, Jesus told his disciples to go and make disciples the same way he had made them. He told them to tell their disciples to do all he had commanded. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)
There came a time when Jesus had to leave his disciples, at least in the physical. Before he left he transferred the authority given to him by the Father to his disciples. In his first appearance to the disciples following his resurrection, Jesus said to them, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)
It should be the thrill of every mentor to release his disciple into the ministry. The whole purpose of the process is to get to this point; whether formally or informally as mentors we have to let them go. With Gary, though I prayed over him several times, it more or less happened informally. He began leading worship in our church without my immediate supervision. Later, a career opportunity moved him to another city and in time he became the worship leader at his new church.
I believe the model Jesus used to train his disciples is one we can incorporate as we mentor future worship leaders. Let’s pray that as we mentor others to carry the banner of worship that they will have the same impact on the world as Jesus’ disciples.