How to Start a Disciplemaking Ministry (5/5) – Sling ’em in the Breach

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)


It’s said over and over again, “This Bible study is too milky.” My response? “Great! Next week you’re leading!” This is my philosophy of training laborers and leaders. I call it “sling ‘em in the breach.” This concept may seem a little scary (both to you and them) but I have found the rewards are huge. Can you imagine how the disciples must have felt when Jesus tells them, “I’m sending you out as sheep among wolves.” Do you think everyone involved saw there was a little risk in this venture?

There are always risks associated with any kind of ministry. In my thinking, the greater risk would be to lose potential leaders because they weren’t allowed to labor. Men and women will come into your ministry with a natural desire to teach and lead. If you take the approach of “don’t try this at home kids, I’m a trained professional,” they will move on to another ministry that will let them labor.

You may be thinking, “What if I let this guy lead the Bible study, I’ll get burned. Doesn’t the Bible say not to put young people into leadership?” (1 Tim 3.1-16, Titus 1.5-9) First off, you will get burned. This is the heavy mantle of leadership, absorbing the failures of your fledgling leaders. Failure is not an option, it is inevitable. But I also never said I sling them in the breach alone. I’m always right there with them to guide, coach, and correct (Mk 3.14). I see some ministries making the mistake of training their leaders like a chemistry professor who sends his students in to the lab unsupervised. When something blows up, no one has a clue what went wrong.

Secondly, the Bible does warn us not to install young believers into leadership. But most of the people who come into our ministries are not young in the faith. Generally speaking they are long in knowledge and very short in application. This is precisely why we need to get them involved in ministry. I’m not talking about unsupervised leadership but about leading under a caring and instructive mentor.

Jesus took risks on young leaders, so I have been taking risks with young leaders. Last night at our leadership Bible study we had 25 laborers (not attendees, but real laborers). All the glory goes to the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

Please leave me your feedback by clicking on “comments” below.

© 2008, 2009 Following Jesus by Chuck Wood All Rights Reserved

Author: Chuck & Deb

Chuck & Deb love Jesus!

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