McDonald’s at 6:30 AM may seem like an odd time for ministry training and discipleship, but as a senior in high school I had questions about God. Thankfully, an older brother in the faith was willing to buy me a sausage biscuit and listen.
For instance, one morning I wanted to know why God would harden Pharaoh’s heart. Between bites, he would tell me that God is God so he can do whatever he wants. Later, he would simply affirm that I had good questions and that I should keep wrestling. I do not remember all of the answers he passed on, but I remember that he trusted God deeply. And of course, I remember that he took the time to get up early and talk about Jesus. Looking back, I see that he was just living out 2 Timothy 2:1–2, “…be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
These verses outline two imperatives for Timothy from his mentor, Paul.
- First, find the strength you need in the grace of Christ Jesus. When fatigue and sorrow and confusion and sin slow you down, go to Christ; you will be strengthened. As Jesus himself proclaims, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
- Second, Timothy is to take what Paul has taught him about gospel ministry and entrust it to faithful people who will be able to teach others. Timothy must not take the strength that he finds in Christ and keep it for himself, he must pass it on. He must entrust it to reliable individuals who are able to teach others. The goal is for the gospel to strengthen Timothy for the work of multiplying gospel workers—who will also multiply gospel workers.
Let me encourage you to join this process in four ways.
- Pray that these interns would be strengthened by Christ.
- Say hello to them and introduce yourself. (They may only worship at Tenth for a few years, but we get the joy of encouraging them while they are here.)
- Pray for their current and future ministry of multiplying gospel workers.
- When possible, invest in their lives. You may not know how to answer some of their questions, you may not even care about the things they are wrestling through, but you can encourage them that God is trustworthy.
Incidentally, this culture of intentional encouragement is what we want throughout all of Tenth, not just in the development of future pastors. Pulsing through our parishes, individuals are meeting together over God’s Word. Week after week small groups share prayer requests and encourage each other to keep following Christ. Praise God—may all of this increase!