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 his mentoring, the team would make far more progress than if they had studied and received PhDs in Soccerology.

When Jesus called the first disciples he said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)  The disciples entered into a three-and-a-half-year training program with Him 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.  He lived life with them.

Jesus did not primarily teach His followers 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.  And once they had a basic understanding of who He is, Jesus sent them out to copy what He had done with them. And when they returned, He corrected their mistakes.

The point is, skills are developed through relationship.  Whether that be business skills or EV skills, we need men and women in our lives who can model how to be Jesus, 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 a distinct gift to bear fruit, but for the majority of us, we can 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—to be and do Jesus.

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.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.   2 Timothy 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 teammate help apply the truths we need to hear and improve on. 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 maximize our abilities and opportunities to serve and glorify Him.



PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for other 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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