Mark 1:35-39 describes one of the first nights Jesus spent with the new leadership team that He handpicked. These twelve men went on to become known as the 12 disciples of the Bible. The secret to Jesus’ success as a small group leader was an early morning prayer and walk in the wilderness. According to John Mark, this hour of power revealed to Jesus where to go and what to do. Jesus invested three years of his life pouring his heart and soul into these men to prepare them for his departure; setting an example to follow.
Another also said, I will follow You, Lord, and become Your disciple and side with Your party; but let me first say good-bye to those at my home. 62 Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things behind] is fit for the kingdom of God, Luke 9:61-62.
The next step for any small group leader is to identify future leaders in your group. At some point, Jesus recognized James, John, and Peter as his inner circle, Luke 9:28-36. Jesus brings these three men along with him on special occasions, leaving the other nine disciples behind. This includes Jesus’ transfiguration in the mountains, resurrecting a little girl from the dead, and the healing of others close to death. Beside teaching each of these men about God’s spiritual powers, Jesus likely wanted to see how each of them responded to dire situations.
Now after this the Lord chose and appointed seventy others and sent them out ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come (visit). 2 And He said to them, The harvest indeed is abundant [[a]there is much ripe grain], but the farmhands are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out like lambs into the midst of wolves, Luke 10:1-3.
Jesus wasn’t content with one ministry team. Rather, Jesus selected an additional 72 disciples to serve the Lord. According to Luke, Jesus chose and appointed these people based upon their commitment and willingness to surrender their lives as a servant of God. To avoid being overwhelmed, Jesus sends out 36 teams of two with specific instructions to follow in Luke 10. Like a swimming instructor, Jesus wanted to see who would sink and who would swim. As modern churches continue to encourage members to join a small group, don’t forget the Bible’s first small group leader and His advice left behind in the Bible.
by Jay Mankus