“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” – Luke 10:1-2
This passage reveals two ways in which we can lead like Jesus. We can focus on equipping people and sending them out for ministry, and we can also pray for more people who will be willing to be discipled and be sent out. As leaders, we need to be intentional in discipling others so that we are multiplying ourselves in ministry and not trying to do everything ourselves. We also need to be relying on God, through prayer, to raise up new people for ministry.
Jesus equipped and sent out laborers for the harvest.
If we are going to lead like Jesus, we should be intentionally equipping people to go out into the harvest. We should have a means for discipling and sending people out to reach other people. Discipling may include multiple approaches. Church small groups can be a means of discipleship, as can mentoring relationships, either in groups or one on one. Providing books and other resources for people to use or going through books together with someone you are discipling can also be a means for equipping them for ministry. Providing training opportunities on subjects such as evangelism, teaching, or mentoring may also prove useful for equipping people.
My husband often equates the actions of a healthy church to what happens on an aircraft carrier. Just like planes can refuel and undergo necessary repairs on an aircraft carrier, people should be able to refuel and be equipped for ministry when they are with other believers. The church should be a place of refuge, healing, equipping, and improving. As leaders, we should be providing these types of opportunities for those who are seeking them. We should offer resources for teaching, training, ministering, and equipping people in various aspects of ministry and Christian living. By doing so, we are preparing people to be sent back out into ministry and mission opportunities.
The passage in Luke 10 also specifies that Jesus sent people out in pairs. Equipping people and sending them out to minister together is another method that we can use to aid people in their ministry efforts. Often times people are more likely to succeed when they have someone to be a support for them in their efforts. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 confirms this truth by stating, “Two are better than one, because they have good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Jesus called people to pray for more laborers to be sent out.
Leading like Jesus also means praying for more people who will be willing to be sent out into the harvest. As leaders, we should be leading the charge in the area of prayer. We should be praying for gospel laborers as well as encouraging the people we lead to do the same. Prayer is sometimes seen as a last resort, but it should be our first course of action.
Prayer is often the means by which God moves. As we pray, He is working in the lives of others to rally them to action. Sometimes we try to take matters into our own hands by trying to find laborers ourselves. While engaging people and challenging them to be involved in ministry is certainly not a bad thing, sometimes what we need to do most is pray. God is always working. He is moving in the hearts of people through His Holy Spirit, calling them to action. Amazingly, as we pray, God moves. Since Jesus called us to pray for laborers, and since He himself often withdrew to pray during His earthly ministry, we should be intentional about praying for new gospel laborers to be equipped and sent out.
Leading like Jesus involves equipping people for ministry, sending them out with support, and praying for more laborers who will be willing to engage in ministry. As we pursue these goals, we are leading in a way that will have an eternal impact for the Kingdom.