Picture 100 students in your group. Maybe you know their names (if you’re under 40), but there’s no way you’re personally shepherding each one.
One day a freshmen brings her friend who is brand new saved and ravenous for growth. She asks if you’ll disciple her.
Do you have time?
Multiply her by ten. Do you still have time?
Back in the waning days of World War Two, The Navigators were in boom time with their Honolulu ministry. Thousands of seamen from the Pacific were coming to Christ and looking for growth. Short-handed, the Navs herded them into meetings (think classroom teaching).
But the main product of Bible classes was more Bible classes, with the leaders who studied and taught also getting most of the benefit. [from Daws; pages 262-263]
This crisis of growth prompted the Navs to shift from “feed my sheep” to “teach the sheep to eat.” Generalized instruction has its place, but nothing beats one-on-one shepherding. And no youthworker can shepherd everyone. So The Navigators turned to 2 Timothy 2:2 . . .
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
It may not seem logical, but the fastest and most effective way to reach and teach the greatest number of students is by following 2 Timothy 2:2. Without it, the ravenous girl will drift away hungry. She’ll be referred from person to person until the message gets deleted from someone’s voicemail.
We’re learning some things from this tension, which we’ll touch on tomorrow.