If you study through the Scriptures, it is clear that ministry is not just about the crowds. There is certainly that large-scale aspect to ministry, but we must always be alert to the smaller-scale ministry of mentoring. Moses led the Israelites, but mentored Joshua. Elijah prophesied to a nation, but mentored Elisha. Jesus could certainly preach and minister to the crowds, but he mentored the twelve. Think of Naomi and Ruth, Barnabas and Paul, Paul and Timothy and on it goes. Mentoring is the heart of biblical ministry.
TD Jakes made the comment that “success is not complete without a successor.” So as a preacher, it is good to take stock of your ministry. Are you investing yourself into a small handful of key individuals? The pulpit may be elevated and somewhat distant from the “crowd,” but are you also pouring yourself into others, up-close and personal?
In the complex world of church ministry many do not have the privilege of grooming their replacement. However, even if your church could fire you in three months time, pour your life into others now. Ultimately it is not about how individual churches choose to work, it’s about us choosing to do ministry God’s way. And this mentoring is not just about pastoral ministry and leadership, think specifically about pulpit ministry and preaching. Some churches actively encourage a pulpit team, others treat preaching as a one-person role. If you are the preacher, you have influence. Use it to build up others in their gifting and opportunity. Even if opportunities are restricted in your church, there are many other churches around who would love to help developing preachers by benefiting from their ministry.
Mentoring – it’s a key part of all our roles, for it’s the heart of biblical ministry.