by Peyton Jones: There are a few essential bits of training that a core team must have before they are deployed. Over the months that you will be training your core team, you need to emphasize the following resources, scriptures, and key concepts.

  1. The Book of Titus
  1. Acts 1 & 2
  1. The Gospel-Centered Life
  1. Jump School Film


Titus is one of my biblical heroes. He was the stud apostolic trainee of Paul.  This is evidenced by the challenging nature of the missions that Paul handed down to him in contrast with Timothy who had to be told to “do the work of an evangelist”.  Titus was frontline all the way.  His Mission Impossible manila folder contains the letter of Titus with a photograph of the isle of Crete. In that briefing he was told that his mission, should he choose to accept it, was to church plant in every major city. How was he to do that? By establishing leadership in every city (Titus 1:4)

The method: discipleship “teach men who themselves can teach others”

In effect, that’s what you’re doing with a core team. You’re training them to be a crack commando unity like the Dirty Dozen.  In the same way that Jesus took a small group and poured his all into it, you’re pouring into the core team with the hope that they will, in turn, pay it forward when you’re taken out of the picture. Eventually, you’ll be sending them out as innocent as sheep, but as wise as serpents which can be translated as a dangerous combination to the kingdom of darkness.

Discipleship is at the heart of the book of Titus. If Acts is the narrative church planting book of the New Testament, then Titus is the church planting epistle! It’s not by accident that Paul writes to a serial church planter with discipleship directives. The key to the book is in 1:9  teach, exhort, and rebuke, and the book is actually broken down twice in a recurring grouping of those three activities. Paul tells Titus the right doctrine, who to encourage with it, and who to rebuke with it. Those three activities would be massive in affecting the believers to be more like Jesus, and less like Cretans.

Cretans were rumored to be evil beasts, liars, and lazy gluttons. Paul had done his missions homework. In many ways, the church of the West mirrors the island inhabitants of Crete. Lazy, addicted to pleasure, and spiritually indistinct from the people they live among. Quite simply, they are ignored.

Paul needed these believers to stand up, stand out, and step out. Instead of reproducing what they were, they needed to reproduce what Jesus was, but first, they themselves needed to be transformed by the grace of God. The grace of God is the transformative power of any Christian as seen by Titus 2 and Ephesians 2. Although culture is a missional gateway, we must never let culture trump the gospel. The gospel never cows to culture, but instead, culture must bow to scripture. The power of transformation will be lost if we sacrifice this to “reach” people. The Cretan Christians could have been very popular, but ineffective. To truly be effective, we must ride the balance between transformational grace and holiness, using culture when helpful, and challenging it when it obscures Christ. Part of what you’re training your core team to do is to “be” the representation of Jesus.

Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.