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About this series
How Jesus Chose to Change the World
What does it mean to be a real disciple of Jesus? Through this new series based in the Gospel of Mark, Chip breaks down this complex idea, by using the simple lessons Jesus taught His followers. We'll learn how characteristics like commitment, humility, and trust - set genuine Christ followers apart. Chip helps us better understand how we can avoid sin, grow in our walk with Christ, and just as important, help others mature in their faith as well. Don't miss how real disciples of Jesus, can radically change our world.More from this series
This fellow named Jack King, he’s involved in sports ministry with Athletes in Action, does a lot of baseball teams around the world. And Jack has got the gift of evangelism. I mean, when we were on a bus, he shares Christ with this guy, this guy, this guy. I mean, I saw him lead, you know, two weeks he led maids to Christ, bus drivers to Christ.
And he did it in a winsome way. I mean, not offensive at all. And, but he had a little plan. I watched him do it two or three times. He would share Christ; I remember on a bus this one time. And this guy, and I was about two seats back and kind of listening. And the guy is just ready to become a Christian. Guess what Jack does. I mean, I’m thinking, close the deal, man! Close the deal! Go!
You know what he does? He stops. He says, “Excuse me just a second.” He said, “Hey, Jimmy, come on up here, will you, for a second?” And this young college sophomore comes up, sits down with him, he – I mean, I’m thinking, Hey Jack, I don’t know much about evangelism but the guy is ready to become a Christian. What are you, you know?
And he brings this guy, he introduces him, lets him talk a few minutes, and then he turns to Jimmy and says, “You know, I’ve explained to him and he’s really interested in becoming a Christian. Could you talk with him a little bit? I think that he’ll be ready to pray and receive Christ here soon.” He says, “I’ll be back in just a second.” He would go to the back of the bus.
Five or ten minutes later, Jimmy is bowing his head with this guy. Guess what, Jimmy has led his first person to the Lord. See, Jack King understands. He has led hundreds of people to Christ. Does he need to learn how? What is he doing? He’s multiplying his life. You want God to use you? Multiply your life. That’s how you do it.
Out of this passage in how to coach people to multiply your life, one, remember this: Accomplishing tasks is less important than developing people. If you wanted two words to remember it: Grow people. It’s more important that your son or daughter learns something than the garage gets absolutely clean or that the floor is spotless or that the tub doesn’t have any residue or ring.
It’s more important that the small group gets a chance to lead. See, develop people. Grow people. You’ll get the task done, but accomplishing tasks is less important than developing people. Because there are always a lot of tasks, but there are very few people who really want to grow.
Number two, ability is always less important than availability. It’s not what you can do that is crucial, it’s what God can do through you. So, get others involved. The focus is grow people. The method is get other people involved. Don’t go anyplace alone. Don’t pray alone. I mean, you know, except for your private time. If you’re going to share Christ, bring a friend. If you’re going to pray, if you’re involved in anything, bring people. Get them involved and they will catch it.
Third, resources are always less important than reliance. You’ll never have enough. We take the steps and God provides. My philosophy of leadership is get the snowball rolling downhill and as it picks up speed, try and decide where it ought to go. Because my observation is in people’s lives and organizations and churches, most of them never get the snowball off the hill. “Eh, it needs to rain a little bit more, I don’t think it’ll pack quite right. Well, about three miles down there’s a turn; we don’t know how we’re going to turn.” So what? Get it going. Resources are always less important than reliance. Bring what you have to God and He will do something.
The strategy is build on what you have. Focus is to grow people, the method is get others involved, the strategy: Build on what you have, not on what you don’t have. And finally, the goal: Learning more is far less important than participating in what you already know.
Make others successful. Let them try it. Let your kid, if he’s small, let him learn to build a fire, let him try the stove, let him – you know, with great supervision – but coach him. Let them try it. People learn by doing, not by watching. Let them pray, let them lead, let them share the testimony, let them take ten minutes of the group. That’s how people expand and grow.
Now, once you get them coached, then you need to support them because now that will teach people how to feed others.
Now, let’s talk about how you can teach people to lead others.
We pick it up in verse 45, “Immediately,” after this big miracle, “Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and to go ahead of Him to Bethsaida, while He dismissed the crowd.” Now, I said this passage is in all four gospels. That’s really important, because you have to read John chapter 6 to find out why He immediately dismissed them and sent them on ahead. You know why? Well, picture it, will you?
I mean, you go to a big party, you hear a good teacher, no one has anything to eat, there are twenty thousand of us on the hillside, we break up into groups, and the guy puts on a feast! Whoa! I mean, would you like to have this guy around? You know, every time we are hungry, you may never work again, this is great! So, the people, it says in John 6, they came and tried to make Him king by force.
Now, can you imagine, if the disciples aren’t quite ready, they’re not quite mature, their leadership isn’t quite where it needs to be, Jesus doesn’t want them exposed to that. He gets rid of them. “Hey, you guys get out on a boat; I’ll catch you later.” Because one of the things about developing leaders is the principle of pacing. Never give them more than they can handle.
The disciples are not ready to, because they are still nationalistic. They’ve still got a lot of ego involved. They would like to be the best buddies of the new king. So, Jesus sends them away.
Second thing, notice what He does. The second way to develop leaders. “And leaving them, He went into the hills to pray.”
It’s something the Church talks a lot about, but we need to take more seriously than we have ever taken it before. You really want to develop leaders, what do leaders need? You coach people and give them skills. What do leaders need? If they are really going to go on, you give them support. You know what they need? They need confidence, they need guidance, and they need character.
How do people get confidence? How do they get character? You know how? God gives it. And the only thing you can do and I can do to produce that in the lives of other people is, one, model it. But, two, pray it. You pray for humility in so-and-so’s heart. You pray for strength in vision, you pray for conviction for this one. You pray; you intercede. And this was a pattern of Christ’s life.
I went to a school that has a lot to do with people that are really pretty smart. And I was intimidated for a couple years, but you know, I went in different professors’ offices for almost two years until I came into Walt Baker’s office. Walt Baker was a missionary in Haiti for fifteen years and he goes back every summer with about forty or fifty students. And I didn’t know the guy. I just came in to ask a question. I came in and he shut the door and I thought, Oh, gosh, what’s going to happen here?
And we had a very brief conversation and I started to get up and he reached out his hand, I mean, he’s got a big hand. He’s a big man. And he put his hand around me, put his hand on my shoulder, and, man, this guy prayed for me. And I was shaken. Whoa. See, he didn’t think that getting more in my head would change my life. He thought if God did something in my heart, He would change my life.
Later on, I went with a group of businessmen with Walt and a few other pastors and we were in Haiti and he and I roomed together at this little village. I mean, it was like a hut. And before we went to bed, I remember Walt saying, “Hey, Chip, let’s pray.” This mammoth guy with these big arms and it’s a sweaty little place. And we kneeled down and so help me, my knees hurt. I never knelt that long. See, I was with a man of God. And I heard him cry out for the people of Haiti and for me. And he put this big bear hug arm on my shoulder and I thought, Whoa, wow.
You see, that’s how you transform people’s life. That’s how you develop leaders. There’s not little tricks and techniques and books and jazz. They need that up here, but you need to enlarge their heart.
After the principle of pacing, the second principle is the principle of power and perspective. You give power to people by praying for them. Now, notice where He goes from here. After He prays for them, now He is going to stretch them.
“When evening came, the boat was in the middle of a lake,” I’m in verse 47, “and He was alone on the land. And He saw the disciples straining at the oars.” Now, He could see them. It was the Passover time, we know. Full moon is at Passover time, the lake is only about four miles wide, He’s up on a mountain, He can see them.
“The wind was against them.” Adversity. They have had a big victory; this is the way it usually happens. Now the adversity comes. “About the fourth watch of the night,” that’s three a.m. to six a.m., “He went out to them, walking on the lake.” What do leaders need? Well, they have been prayed for, but now in their time of adversity what they need is your presence. They need support. They need encouragement, because the most committed people get out there and they do it, and they do it, and they do it. And they are just like you and I. They get discouraged and they wonder if it makes any difference.
“He was about to pass them by, but when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. And they cried out, because they all saw Him and they were terrified.”
Notice how He stretched them. See, this is a plan. Do you remember the last time He was in the boat with the disciples? Do you remember it? Chapter 1, chapter 2? It was daytime then. What is it now? Nighttime. Would you rather go somewhere unknown in the day or in the night? Which is the more challenging?
The last time He was in the rear of the boat, wasn’t He? And the waves are crashing. All they had to do was reach over, “Hey, God, do You care or not?” And He took care of it. Now He’s not in the boat. He’s on the mountain praying or He’s on the water. You know what He wanted them to learn? Whether it’s day or whether it’s night, whether My presence is there physically or whether I am praying for you, My presence is available. I will help you through. I am your shepherd. And I will be a shepherd to you so you can be a shepherd to others. And He stretches them.
And they are terrified, and they cry out; He gets in the boat. Boom. It happens again. And see, there is a real balance there. He stretches them, He takes them to a new level, and then He comes right back, and He comforts.
Third principle I see here is feed people opportunity and responsibility. It’s the principle of faithfulness. He stretches them. They were faithful in this area; He gives them more. They were faithful here; He gives them more. They do a little preaching, did a good job, now they get to feed five thousand. They begin to trust Him, so He stretched them and gives them an experience that’s even more difficult.
Pretty soon, guess what, He’s not in the boat, He’s not on the mountain, He’s in heaven and Peter will stand up before five thousand people and say, “Hey, you know what? If whether it’s right to do what God wants or what men want, I’ll tell you what, you can kill me, because He is real. He’s real.”
He didn’t learn that overnight. He was faithful in a little and then he was faithful in much. We need to do that with our children. We need to do it with leaders that we are developing.
And then let’s go on and find out what He does. “Then He climbed in the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed,” because this is the problem with all developing people, and our problem, “for they had not understood about the loaves; and their hearts were hardened.”
The most important thing we can do is develop people’s faith. Their faith! Not their skills, not their head, their belief system that God is real, that He is powerful whether they know this much or that much, so that when they are in a crisis, instead of them first dialing the phone and saying, “Oh, it’s really bad, really bad, will you help me, help me, help me?” They will get on their knees and turn to God.
A fellow named Bill Hatcher and I became good friends. I was coaching and teaching and leading a ministry and this college had a big, open court. And at night I would go play basketball and he was the S&H representative for the region. And we became friends. To make a long story short, we had a lot of pizza, we had a lot of fun, played a lot of ball. And four months later, he trusted Christ. And then I met with him once a week and started to coach him with the skills: here’s how you read the Bible; here’s how you pray.
And then I started to support him as he began to reach out to people in the marketplace where he was. Well, one night, he and I and Theresa, we wanted to go to a different college and see a game. And Theresa had a friend there, so we dropped Theresa off and we went down this long grade, a hundred and fifty, two hundred feet, and we just assumed, you know, it was real, real snowy. And we just assumed there was a different way out. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Okay?
So, we go all the way down this thing, and we assumed wrong. And what happens is we dropped Theresa off, we turned the car around, zzzzzz, zzz, zzzzzz, zzz. ZZZZZZ! Zzz. I mean, we’re dead. I mean, it’s long. This isn’t a little grade. There’s no way to get up. And then God did something that, please take this rightly, this has happened four or five times in my life, alright? This is not some extraterrestrial experience. I had a little prompting from God that said, Chip, no audible voice, I want you to pray. But I want you to pray real vividly and pray specifically that I will reveal Myself so Bill will know that I am powerful and can even do stuff like this and care about him. Brand-new Christian.
And I’m thinking, first of all, I have been reading too many novels. You know? This can’t be God. Boom, boom. I get prompted again. And then I’m thinking, first, Oh, God, this will really embarrass You if it doesn’t work. Right, you know?
And so, Okay, God, I’ll do this. I bow my head, I say, “Hey, Bill, let’s pray.” And he’s green. “Oh, yeah, sure.” He doesn’t know how this works anyway. And I bow my head and I still vividly remember, I said, “God, whether we go to this game is irrelevant. Whether we get up this hill is irrelevant. But I am asking You now that Bill might understand that there is a God who has power who is actually supernatural and can do anything. Would You allow this car to go right up this hill so Bill would know that You are real and You’re going to take care of him and be his shepherd?”
I looked at him, “Put it in drive.” He looked at me like, Yeah, right. He put it in drive, zzzzzzz. I mean, we didn’t even slip. And we get to the top of the hill and this guy’s eyes are like this. Hey, now, then I had to tell him. I said, “Hey, Bill, I was scared to death it wasn’t going to work. I thought God wanted me to do it. But, Bill, look. No matter where you go,” because he was going to be transferred, “you need to know, you don’t need Chip. You’ve got God. You’ve got Jesus.”
That’s the final step. The principle of transference. What you want to do is give people the ball, the ball of faith where they know God will be their God. Then you know that’s success. You’ve multiplied your life. You want your kids to walk out the door and say, “Mom, Dad, thanks, great, I love you! But I’ve got Him!” That’s a successful parent.
With all the ups and downs and things they’re going to hit. And the small group leader and the ministry team person and the friend at work that you are helping grow. You coach them, you support them, and then you delegate. And they catch the vision and guess what, then we multiply here.
Look at the result. The product of this kind of ministry is not that we add a little here and there. The product of this kind of ministry – look at the end of the passage – is fantastic. “Then Jesus, when all the crowd had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and they anchored there. And as soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus.” That’s what happens.
When lives are multiplied, people, multitudes recognize Christ. “They ran throughout the whole region; they carried the sick on mats wherever they heard He was.
And everywhere He went – into the villages or towns or countryside – they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged Him to let them come and touch even the edge of His cloak, and all who touched Him were healed.”
The story starts with people – where? Like sheep without a shepherd. He invests in coaching and supporting the Twelve. How does the story end? With the people who recognized Christ and have their needs met. The sheep now have a shepherd.
Who are you teaching to fish? And I don’t mean for salmon. Who are you teaching to fish? Who are you pouring your life into, willfully, strategically, with a plan to coach them and support them so that a year from now they can do everything that you can do with a heart to do that in the lives of others?
That’s how you impact a community, not by addition. The Bible calls it discipleship. Spiritual multiplication.
You ready to go for it?