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Producing or Reproducing

Sometimes, a small change makes a big difference.

I spent all of last week with a fantastic group of 43 new Josiah Venture missionaries. I wish you could meet them all – God is raising up such a talented group of young leaders for the harvest! They were gathered in Malenovice, Czech Republic for our annual JV Winter Academy to be trained in Jesus-centered disciplemaking principles.  

The challenge of reaching this next generation with the gospel is huge, and our capacity is limited. Thus, we must learn not just to produce ministry but to reproduce leaders. The difference between a "+" and a "x" looks small, but the outcome in the long run is surprisingly significant. 

Jesus engaged in public ministry for just three and a half short years. Yet, he left behind a multiplying disciplemaking ministry because of the way he empowered and equipped his team of leaders. As I taught our new staff, I shared three key insights from the life of Jesus about how we can move from producing to reproducing.

Intext 1

In Mark 1:17, Jesus calls his first disciples to follow him and learn to fish for people. He found them busy with other activities and challenged them to engage in something more significant. He didn't wait for them to volunteer, express interest in leading, or find him. Jesus was PROACTIVE, challenging people directly and calling them to places they wouldn't have gone on their own.  

Reproducing leaders don't wait for people to be ready; they make them ready. They don't wait until leaders are needed; by then, it is already too late. They spot potential in younger believers and call it out with proactive investments to help them grow.

Right after this challenge, we find Jesus in the Synagogue. Where are the disciples? They are with him. Later on that same day, Peter visits his sick mother-in-law.  Where is Jesus?  With him. The next day, Jesus decides to move on to other towns and villages and takes his disciples … with him. Later on, when he appoints 12 of them to be Apostles, Scripture records that "He appointed twelve that they might be with him…. (Mark 3:14)

Intext 2

This is the principle of "WITHNESS," taking younger leaders with us in service and being with them as they seek to serve others. Much of equipping happens outside of formal settings, as believers are equipped "Life on Life". True reproduction will not happen without "withness". 

As Jesus and the disciples began to serve together, we see they encountered many PROBLEMS, both around them and in themselves. Some leaders use people to solve problems or try to fix people they consider to be problems. Jesus used problems to develop people, and some of the best learning of the gospels comes in response to difficult and often unexpected problems. In light of that, I urged our staff not to waste a good problem.

You are solving a good problem by making it possible for them to serve through your prayers and generous giving. Thank you!

President, Josiah Venture



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