Leadership In Ministry

I recall back in Dr. George Norris class on Saturday had us to do this exact thing.


Whenever you look for people who are going to extend your ministry and expand your ministry and multiply your ministry,

You start with those who come to faith,

You start with those who have been faithful followers.

You start with those who have been called to be preachers.

And then you put them through a process of training

You then you send them out on short-term internships and

You do instruction as they come back off those experiences.

And finally, you can loose them and let them go. That’s pretty much a model that can follow in any realm of human endeavor.

So here we find them at the point of their initial internship, their first field experience. This will be their first try at sermons and signs.

They were the commonest of men. And that’s what’s so important and remarkable to me. They were just so common. They’re just like us.

And when the Lord goes out to find somebody to multiply His ministry through, it is absolutely true, Paul was right when he said, “There are not many noble, and there are not many mighty, they are the common and the base.” They’re just plain, ordinary people

In fact, in some ways you might think them sub-ordinary and yet chosen by their Creator who knows them perfectly.

And they are exactly the kind of people He chooses to use. It is already half way through His ministry before they’re even sent out,

before their formal training even begins.

They’ve just been listening.

They’ve just been hearing the explanation of parables.

They’ve been getting their theological training and their biblical training.

They’ve been listening to Him exposit Old Testament passages and give the meaning.

They’ve been listening to Him compare the truth of God with the apostasy of Judaism.

They’ve been sorting out their theology,

But now it’s time for formal training to be messengers. And there’s only eighteen months left before Jesus will be gone and they will be on their own. That’s a short amount of time. That’s half a seminary education.

And if you wonder whether that alone was adequate, just remind yourself that when Jesus was taken prisoner to be crucified, all of them forsook Him and fled. And you might have concluded by that that the whole eighteen months was a waste of time.

But, you can only conclude that apart from the Holy Spirit because when the Holy Spirit came, everything changed. In fact, when they saw the resurrected Christ, everything changed, and they were re-gathered and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

With only eighteen months to go, it’s time for them to really begin their training.

So, these twelve, mundane backgrounds, worked with their hands, not their brains, earthly vocations. And yet they’re given the most important task in the history of the world.

There is no second string. There are no backup players. There is no Plan B. And that would be a problem for men. That would be a problem on a human level. It’s not a problem on a divine level because God always accomplishes what He sets out to do. Twelve ordinary men with the most extraordinary responsibility.

The twelve are absolutely unique. Later Matthias replaced Judas, who was a traitor. And later on another man is called an apostle, he doesn’t belong in the twelve, another one, his name is Paul. He was a unique messenger coming after the twelve. These twelve were unique.

They took positions of authority in the early church.

They and their associates wrote the New Testament.

Their teaching became the rule in the church. In Acts when the church was born in Acts 2:42 it says they met together and they studied the apostles’ doctrine.

They were used by God to reveal the doctrine. God revealed sound doctrine through them and eventually that doctrine was written down.

When the Lord chose them, He chose twelve of them. And Why not twenty-four, eighteen, six, seven, three? Why twelve?

And the answer is, in the choosing of twelve there was a link to the twelve tribes of Israel. Israel is constituted of twelve tribes, twelve tribes.

And when the Lord picked twelve apostles this was essentially a judgment on Israel, solidifying, hardening unbelief and rejection of their Messiah.

These twelve, in a sense, constituted the new spiritual heads of the tribes of Israel. They were symbolic heads of the tribes of Israel.

That’s why you don’t find one rabbi among the twelve. You don’t find one scribe. You don’t find a priest. You don’t find a Pharisee. You don’t find a Sadducee, you just find these hoi-polloi, these ordinary guys.

It is a judgment on the apostasy of Israel that the Lord couldn’t find one person in the religious establishment to pick as an apostle. The choosing of the twelve ordinary men then becomes a judgment on apostate Israel.

It is an open renunciation of all the religious men and the structures in which they existed, which was utterly corrupt. The religious leaders of Judaism constituted the core of those who were apostate. They were the core of those who hated Jesus, who hated the gospel, who hated to be indicted for their sin and who sought and achieved His death.

So Jesus picks twelve new leaders for Israel.

Forget the religious establishment. And with the number twelve symbolically pronounces a judgment on the apostasy of that nation.

These twelve apostles literally became the twelve true spiritual leaders of Israel.

They were the true heads of the twelve tribes.

They were the Israel of God.

They are the true penitent believing Israelites.

They also, by the way, became the foundation stones of the church, didn’t they? Ephesians 2:20, the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles, Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone.


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