You might as well ask what a soldier would do in boot camp without a drill sergeant. I know what they’d do on the field; die.
Barnabas, a veteran who’d served with “the Twelve” in the Jerusalem campaign most likely coached the Apostle Paul during the early days of their front line ministry together. Paul himself became a guru to Timothy, Silas, Epaphroditus and Titus, to name just a few.
As you’re reading this, you may be a lily-butt-white- soft-cheeked ministerial milk baby, but once you sign your name to that church planting recruitment form, your butt belongs to God and he’s gotta shave your head, strip you down, and toughen you up a bit.
You need a drill instructor to whip you into shape. Remember that Paul was hard on John Mark, and wore him out. After all, Mark had quit the field at the foot of the dagger peaked Taurus mountain range during their first missionary journey at the first sign of danger. That’s okay though, not everybody can be in what the Navy Seals call the “First Time Every Time” club. A good drill instructor cares if you make it. God certainly does.
For that reason, this manual enables my voice to haunt your mind on the field like your personal Jump School instructor.
Jump School Instructors serve three functions:
First, they encourage you. Barnabas’s name meant “son of encouragement”. Either he’d been a by-product of somebody encouraging him, or encouragement followed him wherever he went. Ministry in general, but church planting especially, can be a discouraging past time. Like the farmer, you bust your behind, sowing, watering, and the hardest part…waiting. Sometimes harvest seems a long way off. When a veteran church planter whispers words of encouragement to you, when your hand is slipping off the plow, it can make the difference between looking back or plowing ahead. Paul’s letters must have arrived in Timothy’s mailbox just when he needed a ministerial shot in the arm.
Secondly, Jump school instructors see what’s in your blind spot. They’ve gone further up the road than you have, and more than once. They can see what’s around the corner, or what current climatic conditions are brewing the “perfect storm”. They’ll give sage advice that you’ll ignore to your own peril. If you’re bull-headed enough, you’ll plow forward with a “I know better” mentality, and when it all crashes down, they’ll be there to instruct you how to redeem it, and salvage a floatation device from the wreckage. You will be amazed how many times they’ll be like a Jethro to your Moses, saving your sanity, marriage, and ministry with timely counsel.
Thirdly, they keep you humble. Guys who read books about planting and dream of the next Mark Driscoll are like the guys who think they’re Rambo when they sign up for Basic Training. They come home in body bags. Saul had once been small in his own eyes, and God blessed that. With success we can believe our own legends, forgetting those early days when our knees were knocking together a tempo of fear and insecurity; the days we only stepped forward in faith because it was the only way we didn’t cut and run. Seeing any mentor of mine over the years immediately transports me back to those times and I’m renewed with a fresh wave of who I really am…before I’d started believing my own press. I’m grateful for the men who took the time to invest in me when I couldn’t see the potential in myself. Those men still humble me when speak with them, and remind me that much to learn this padawan still has.
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.