Written by: Michael Anderson
Most people are probably familiar with the show The Apprentice. It is not as popular as it once was, but what is interesting about it is the winner of the contest doesn’t just get a lump sum of money or a prize. Rather they get the opportunity to work under Donald Trump, who has been an incredibly successful businessman. You get the opportunity to learn the tricks of the trade under someone who has been there and knows what it takes to be successful.
In almost any job this is usually the most successful model for training people and, it is no surprise, this is usually the most successful model for ministry as well. It is also the way that the Apostle Paul did ministry. Look at these three passages from Paul’s letters to the Thessalonian Church:
NIV 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
NIV 1 Thessalonians 2:8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
NIV 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Paul calls on the Thessalonians to remember, to picture how he acted when he was around them.
A few observations. Paul says by imitating him, the church ultimately became imitator’s of the Lord. And as they model themselves after him, they became models for others. He has this interesting phrase: “we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well”. The people could see up close and personally how Paul lived his life. Paul would share his own happiness and pain with the church and they would share their own happiness and pain with him. They didn’t learn in a vacum. Paul didn’t just send them letters telling them how to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He showed them, through intimate fellowship, by the way he lived.
I have been guilty in the past of using the “quality-time-with-my-family” excuse as a way to avoid ministry opportunities. This isn’t to say that quality time is unimportant or that we ought to fill every moment with ministry. But the best thing I can do for my daughter is model a life of service to Jesus Christ and His people.
Our greatest desire with Theo is that it would open up avenues of conversation about the ideas within our episodes and that kids would see how those ideas are lived out in more mature christian lives. We believe it is vital for your children to be in a discipleship relationship (either with yourself or another mature christian) where they are being guided and shown a life committed to Jesus Christ.