Being a mentor

Paul as church planter 15

“Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him”, Acts 16:3.

When Paul and Barnabas were setting out on their second missionary journey, team problems arose. Mark, who had quitted in the beginning of the first journey, wanted to go again. Task-oriented Paul did not like that idea. People-oriented Barnabas wanted to give him a second chance. Therefore they split up.

The split resulted in something good, because now there were two mission teams. Barnabas took Mark to Cyprus. Paul this time travelled overland, through his home town Tarsis, to the churches that he had planted last time around: a journey on foot of about 500 kilometers. He took Silas with him.

In Lystra he met a young believer, Timothy. Paul decided to take him on the missionary journey as well. This was the start of a long partnership in which Paul involved Timothy in the ministry. First he joined Paul. Later Paul sent him on his own to churches that needed a pastoral visit.

The way Paul mentored Timothy became a hallmark of his ministry. Paul even explicitly stated his way of operation in a letter that he wrote to Timothy: “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Again we notice how Paul is focussing on multiplication: Paul – Timothy – faithful men – others. It is sometimes called the 2-2-2 principle. And so that we would remember it easily, we find it in 2 Timothy 2:2. God’s Kingdom grows when we are willing to learn from others, and take the time to pass our knowledge and experience on to others again.

Whom can you help along in serving God? Are you doing that?

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