Biblical Leaders Have
a Succession Plan

One of our Short Devotions

Biblical leaders knew that success is succession.

The only Biblical record of Jesus spending all night in prayer was the night before he chose his successors. He designated them "Apostles."

Jesus' Method of Disciple Making

Neil Cole notes that during his earthly ministry, Jesus invested in five distinct social groupings:
1) an inner circle composed of Peter, James and John
2) a spiritual family of twelve apostles
3) a team of 72 whom he personally equipped and sent
4) a network of 120 who gathered in the upper room
5) the multitudes he taught, healed and fed.

We would think that if Jesus only had three short years to minister, he should spend most of his time holding big events - influencing the most people possible. However, since Jesus knew that these men would be his successors, he invested the greatest amount of time with the smallest groupings (#1 & #2).

He knew that less is more. It was best to invest in a few - who would then "make disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28:19)

Model of Biblical Leaders and Spiritual Reproduction

In II Timothy 2:2 Paul reminded Timothy of the very same principle. He said, "The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." Paul gives Timothy a vision of succession.

Specifically, this vision spans four spiritual generations.

The faith is passed from:

    Christ to Paul
    Paul to Timothy
    Timothy to reliable men
    Reliable men to others

This vision is one of natural spiritual reproduction: make disciples who can make disciples.

Listen to a lesson about making disciples who can make disciples.

"Mature Christians are made one by one through the influence of other Christians already mature." -- Gordon MacDonald

The Principle of Multiplying

At first, this approach may seem a little slow, but the theory is like the old question: "Would you rather have $100,000 today. . . or one penny, doubled everyday for a month? One cent, doubled everyday for 31 days is over ten million dollars!

Our Lord wants relationships that are devoted to doubling. . . then doubling again. . . and again. The vision is not to be a church that maintains itself, but to be a church that reproduces itself.

Your Succession Plan

Who are you discipling? What is your plan for spiritual reproduction?

People impress from afar, but influence up close.

Will you commit to discipling one person every two years? It's not about size. . . Success is succession.

Author: Paul Schlieker

Discussion ideas for your small group or Sunday School class:

1. How was the Biblical leaders' (Jesus' and Paul's) plan of reaching the people in their day different than the approach of most 21st Century churches?

2. How is the purpose and impact of large events different than small groups or one-on-one encounters?

3. How does a person pass on his/her faith?

4. Personally, how have you been transformed by small groups?

5. Who will you disciple? What is your succession plan? Are you committed to the model of Biblical leaders?

Our audio sermon Discipleship Lessons from the Book of Timothy explores further how you can transfer your ministry to your successors.

Looking for a introductory teen Bible study? Try Bible Basics.

For any reuse or distribution of our free Bible study materials author credit and web address is required.

Please email us with questions or comments.

Paul Schlieker, Platinum Author

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