Imagine a coach trying to develop a world class soccer (football) team. Where would he invest most of his time – in the classroom or on the playing field? Would he have his team studying books about the soccer techniques of Pele? No! He would have them out on the soccer field dribbling the ball, passing the ball, making lots of mistakes but receiving his expert correction. Under this mentoring, the team would make far more progress than if they had studied and received Ph.D.s in Soccerology.
When Jesus called the first disciples he said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishes of men.” (Matthew 4:19) He entered into a three-and-a-half-year training program with them to teach them how to fish for men. Notice He did not simply impart to them spiritual gifts or spiritual power, which He could have done. Rather he trained them. Gifting is helpful and power is essential, but an untrained man has no idea what to do with the power at his disposal.
Jesus did not primarily teach His follower about ministry. In fact, there is a very little direct lecturing in the Gospels about fishing for men. Instead, Jesus trained His disciples how to minister. He modeled for them His techniques how to both “be” and “do” the Kingdom of God. Jesus sent them out to copy what He had done. And then He corrected their mistakes.
The point is, skills are developed through mentoring. Whether that be business skills or EV skills we need mentors and coaches in our lives who can model how to do it, plus, rebuke, correct, and train us in righteousness so that we each may grow in the understanding and application of what we observe and learn. Yes, a few special ones will receive His anointing which He gives as distinct gifts to bear fruit, but for the majority of us, we can still learn these abilities and as a result bear fruit.
If we are going to acquire and pass on B4T, EV, discipleship or any kind of skills, we must understand the process of discipling. Developing skills through discipling involves finding a model, copying his example and receiving his rebuke, correction and training. Blogs, books, seminars and videos can help us (especially if they focus on application instead of theory), however, they cannot provide us with feedback. Books and videos cannot correct our mistakes or show us where we might improve in our ability to model and share Christ. Discipling is the Biblical model. If we are to grow in our faith and outreach we must actively seek to apply what Jesus teaches us and have mature, godly people around us speaking truth into our lives. Rebuke, (being clearly told what we are doing wrong), and correction (being taught how to correct what we are doing wrong) are keys to maturing in Christ. (2 Tim 3:16&17) Such humility, such awareness takes a tremendous amount of commitment and self-discipline. All the skills needed to succeed in B4T will only be developed if we are “in the game.” We can learn a lot by watching from the sidelines, but practice (not watching) does make perfect. Only as we are doing our B4T skills can a mentor or teammates help apply the truths we need to hear to improve. In playing sports I have often heard the difference between the winner and loser is `one wants to win more than the other’. Knowing Jesus and being successful in B4T are the same. We succeed – if we are hungry enough. Part of that hunger should include having mentors and coaches in our lives who may help us to grow and mature in the assignments He has given us so that we may serve and glorify Him better.