A path in the forest toward sunlight

Passing the baton is essential to Christianity

Followers of Jesus reach out to others.

After the final meal with the disciples Jesus prayed for the disciples he was leaving behind. He also prayed for those they would tell about him (John 17:20).

Just before he ascended to the Father, he told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until that had received the power of the indwelling Spirit. Then they would share his message throughout the world (Acts 1:4-8).

God chose to use his followers to spread his message and to train new disciples.

As he languished in prison before his execution, Paul wrote to Timothy with final guidance on how to succeed in Christian service. He told him to take what he had heard from Paul and pass it on to others who would in turn pass it on to a new generation of Christians (2 Timothy 2:2).

Paul envisioned four generations of followers of Jesus.

There are those who reached out to us and taught us. We are the second generation. We are to pass it on to a new generation of Christians. We are to pass it on to those who would reach a fourth generation of Christians.

Christians who want to part of the essential mission of the church must pass on what they have been taught. We must disciple those who themselves will also reach out to those outside of Christ and nurture their faith.

This has been how Christ has worked for almost two thousand years.

Are we part of this chain of ministry or are we a self-centered side shoot of the church?

5 thoughts on “Passing the baton is essential to Christianity”

  1. This is why I teach children. And why the graying of the church is not good. If your nursery is empty, your church is dying.

  2. One frustration I’ve had in fulfilling the mandate of “passing the baton” is matching that concept with the expectations of colleagues and others. If the expectation is that I will reproduce myself in the missionary force, I would suggest that the expectation is unrealistic. No other person is going to have the exact combination of gifts with which I serve Jesus Christ. I would also suggest that the exact ministry I have may not be needed in the coming years. This present COVID season has become an example of how ministry needs change so much that someone with a differing set of gifts is going to be necessary to accomplish the task that I have been given: proclaiming the gospel to international students and discipling them to become instrumental in reaching others. As I have told others, I’ve mentored many young people in international student ministry (ISM), but most of them do not stay in ISM. Most have gone on to serve overseas in various capacities. Others take on ministries in their local churches, and some have consciously adopted a ministry to unbelieving cross-cultural family members. But no one is taking over “my job.” They are continuing in the places to which God has directed them.

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