There’s always a bit of risk involved in handing off ministry batons of various sorts. In everything from equipping and launching guys to take over Sunday gathering set-up, to music, to home groups, and evangelism, no baton-passing is hazard-free. That’s part of the ministry. We’re all fallen. People have various learning and sanctification curves.
I still chuckle when I think of Jesus sitting around with the hazardous 12, handing them the baton to light the world afire. I chuckle even more when I think of the posse of faithful men who risked much in progressively entrusting me with various ministry and disciple-making privileges.
But baton passing is the mandate. When the Apostolic torch was put out in God’s providence, Paul exhorted Timothy and Titus to give themselves towards raise up men, even if it meant risk (2 Tim 2:2, Titus 1:5). Needs are too great for ministry hoarding. Entrusting is part of the leadership call and one which requires a diligence both in equipping and trust in the Church-Builder
Especially in newer ministries, it can be tricky to discover and develop people for the task. One the one hand, young pastors and church-planters, for example, are pretty much in persistent panic mode because of the needs relative to guys available. On the other, he mustn’t panic by slipping into the pragmatic ole Baptist mode of, “Rescued from drowning one day and coast guard, the next,” nor setting rigid time limits within which a leader must be launched.
You may be a ways out from ordaining elders, but your ministry still needs some sort of grid to recognize and launch godly leaders along the way, whether they pursue eldership or not. The local church needs budding Nehemiah’s and Timothy’s as it’s backbone and strength. I think one of the major reasons for church-plant failures and unhealthy local churches is due to a failure to intentionally raise up and launch men at various points in their spiritual growth specifically for leadership, and not exclusively for eldership.
Here are six principles that have helped our fledgling ministry move towards that balance while raising up and launching those men as God provides. And we have found these helpful from everything to equipping those faithful few for overseeing unglamorous Sunday set-up and tear down ministries, to shepherding home groups, and between.