Titus Email – June 2020


The world is in disarray with the Covid-19 issues to racial unrest in the United States.  We need to pray and seek wisdom on how the Church needs to rise up and be the light Jesus told us to be.  We need to be the examples for reconciliation that Jesus provided to us.  The Church needs to show the world that believers of all races and cultures are united.  The world says science will lead us to taking care of Covid-19.  Science is involved but it is the God of the miraculous that makes a cure possible and the Church needs to express that. Let the following articles challenge you to be part of the answers for the next generations and the issues mentioned in this paragraph.  Mike
Back in 1982, I read the book, “The Lost Art of Disciple Making”, by Leroy Eims, who was the president of the Navigators.  In the book, Mr. Eims talked about how the Church had lost the desire and understanding of taking the model Jesus gave us, which Paul and other New Testament leaders utilized to grow the 1st Century Church.  From the beginnings of WILD, we have emphasized discipling believers to help develop them into biblical leaders.  Disciple making is very pivotal to develop a truly healthy Church and local congregations. 
Having been discipled by numerous men, discipling has been an active part of the ministry God assigned me for these years.  Never once did anyone ever ask me if they could disciple me.  (I needed, and still need to be discipled.)  I have not arrived as the developing believer I desire to be, so I look for people to help me grow in Jesus.
          For centuries the term disciple has been used.  It is a good term.  In WILD, to be consistent, we use the term, “trainer”, because discipling is an on-going process.  We all need to be discipled in some areas, which should result in our sharing what we have learned and experienced with disciplees or trainees.
          What are goals for discipling/training?  When reading Ephesians 4:11-16, in the Body of Christ we are given different spiritual gifts to prepare and develop God’s people to serve and uplift the Body, so that we could be in UNITY with one another (John 17:20-23).  The goal is to grow in knowledge and maturity in Christ. 
          Consider Jesus’ method or strategy to start the Church.  It is true He did have big meetings (feeding the 5000, etc.) but the key was to teach the 12 apostles, one of which did not work out, and have them be the blueprint of how to continue the Church.  He spent three years with them.  John 3:22 indicates that Jesus spent time with the apostles as Jesus “got under their skin”.  His goal – impact His disciples.
Jesus stepped into the lives of the apostles to mold and shape, train and give them the authority to lead the Church.  He challenged, ate, laughed, cried, and listened to them, and lived life with them.  Getting under the skin of someone, you live life together in various ways, and encourage them to grow and develop in their relationship with Jesus.  That means being willing to go beyond friendly but also someone who, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, will challenge their lack of obedience. 
          Another example is Paul.  He spoke to large crowds but the essence of his ministry and legacy was developing/discipling others to carry out ministry.  He knew he was not going to live forever and that the early Church was not just dependent on him.  Titus was a close friend and trainee of Paul’s.  When there were issues in the Crete Church, Paul left Titus there to straighten out what was left unfinished and to appoint (train and develop) elders on that island just as Paul had directed Titus (Titus 1:4-9)
          Paul had spent quality and in-depth time with Titus to the point that Paul knew that he could leave Titus in charge of developing the Crete Church and it would be done biblically and well.  The point is Jesus and Paul got under the skin of their trainees and made it a priority to develop those they had responsibility over.  That is discipling/training!
          2 Timothy 2:2 is written by Paul, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”  Four generations of trainees are recorded in that verse.  What we teach others is not meant to be just knowledge but Holy Spirit guided wisdom, obedience and service; and to train the next generation of believers.  A generation is not age groups as much as it is identifying either younger or less mature believers you can build into, to get under their skin. 
          We have the ability to impress people when they see us from afar, like in a larger group setting or keeping people at a distance from learning who we truly are.  If our goal is to impact people, we have to get up close and personal, to positively get under their skin.  Which do you want to pursue, impressing or impacting?
Have you ever had someone take a chance on you?  Perhaps there was a time when no one else believed you or you were attempting something new (and not that good at what you were attempting to do) and a more experienced person saw you were trying and came to you, letting you “buddy” up and helped you along? 
          People use terms like mentor, trainer, accountability partner or coach to describe such people who take a chance on you, seeing potential in you when you do not see that potential in yourself.  We all need people like that.  We need to have people who believe in us, when we do not believe in ourselves.  God knew that and gives many Bible stories about such relationships.
          Paul (Saul) had just become a believer.  His reputation definitely preceded him as many Christians did not want to have anything to do with him. “You know, he goes around the countryside to find Christians and loves to torture them”. That was his reputation.  When Paul went to Jerusalem for the first time after becoming a Christian, everyone was afraid of him and wanted to hide from Paul.
          Everyone, except Barnabas.  Barnabas took him as it says in Acts 9:26-27 and befriended him, believing Paul had truly changed due to his Damascus encounter with Jesus.  He took Paul to the apostles and told them how Paul had been converted and God was doing something pretty amazing in Paul’s life.  This belief in people must have been in Barnabas’ being (DNA) as some years later, he took John Mark, who was rejected by Paul after deserting Paul and Barnabas.  Barnabas worked with John to the point where John eventually became a close associate of Paul’s.
          Barnabas and Paul became a team as Barnabas poured his life into Paul (Acts 11:25-15:41).  These pages of Scripture do not give specific details of what Barnabas did with Paul but he humbly served and encouraged Paul during this time.  Paul developed to the point where he became the lead member of the team, though originally Barnabas was lead person.  Some Christians would scoff at that, struggling to remain the lead person but Barnabas had a servant’s encouraging heart. 
          Don’t you wish you had a person or two who believed in you that much that their goal was to help make you with the Holy Spirit’s guidance the best person you can become?  Think about it.  Who believes in you?  Who sees potential in you and willing to take a chance on you?  We need to have such people in our lives. 
          It would be the ultimate if we all have people who are older and more mature than we are to take us under their guidance and help develop us.   This strategy would change so many people and would have great positive ramifications for our world.  (If you as an older person are reading this, take this challenge of finding one or two younger people who you can build and encourage.)
          One of the three reasons Jesus chose the twelve apostles was to spend time with them (Mark 3:14-15).  John 3:22 indicates that Jesus spent specific time with them to get into their lives.  Jesus was purposeful to help mold and shape the apostles’ thinking and lifestyles.  That is what Barnabas did.  It is a pretty high probability that Paul and Barnabas had many discussions about life and how Jesus’ and Old Testament teaching were to shape a person’s life. 
          Barnabas believed in Paul and made it his goal to develop Paul to the best of his ability.  Who can you ask to help you become the best you can possibly be?   Again, who is that one (or two) persons that are more mature than you that believes in you?  Ask them to help you grow and develop.  Between the two of you, you may unearth a gem in you that you did not know and impact you way beyond your dreams.