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Your Pick: Gamaliel or Simon Peter?

We tend to think that the leader identification and selection challenge is a modern problem.  It’s not.  Faced with the challenge, Jesus “went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.  When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them (Luke 6:12-16).”

I just want to point out three things:

  • First, and I know this might bring out your inner theologian, Jesus was 11 for 12.  Sure…He had a reason for choosing Judas.  We all get that.  But isn’t it just part of the deal to know that when you choose leaders you can’t realistically expect to be perfect.
  • Second, He could have chosen Gamaliel, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea.  He could have…but He didn’t.  As John MacArthur pointed out yesterday, He chose “fishermen, a tax collector and other common men.”  He wasn’t looking at resumes.  He wasn’t looking at what they knew how to do.  He was looking at their heart and their willingness to follow.
  • Third, He invited them to “come and see” long before He invited them to “come and die.”  This is significant.  He made the ask in a way that was appropriate for the need.  It started out innocently enough.  There was very little danger.  Very little risk.  As they warmed up to the adventure, as they were ready, they grew into the come and die moment.

Can I tell you something?  Don’t overlook Simon Peter while you’re desperately searching for Gamaliel.  Don’t miss out on James and John while you’re waiting for Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea to come around to your philosophy of ministry.

And whatever you do, don’t turn your back on Matthew because he’s not on the usual suspects’ speed dial.  Don’t lose sight of the fact that the Matthews actually know the people in the community.

This game…connecting beyond 100% and impacting communities is not won with Gamaliels.  It’s won with Simon Peters.  It’s won with Jameses and Johns.  It’s won with Matthews.  They have rough edges.  They mess up regularly.  They require supervision.  And they change the world.

What do you think?  Want to argue?  You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com.