Jesus chose 12.
And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach. Mark 3:13-14
The exact language is that Jesus “summoned”. Teachers had disciples in the time of Jesus. It was an established pattern of education. Parents would approach, or the disciple would ask, a Rabbi to be taught by him.
A teacher being followed by the brightest students was commonplace. Look there goes the great teacher Hillel, with Gamaliel following him. That Gamaliel has a bright future.
Jesus chose his disciples. They did not choose Him. Jesus picked well as his disciples changed the world.
Leadership studies indicate that the best number to supervise is seven plus or minus two – five to nine.
Jesus chose 12. All at one time. For many years, I’ve had a theory about leadership. A great leader influences 12 other leaders during their life. No scientific evidence, just my observation.
I’ve written my list of 12 (not revealing it though). Some are from early in my ministry, and some still look to me as their leader. Of my 12, all of them have differing paths; all but one still follow the Lord.
Four leadership strengths of mine (I could list about 80 weaknesses):
- They are listed on a prayer list. I have prayed for each one for years.
- I discipled most of them with one-on-one foundational discipleship. The plan is now called First Steps Conversations.
- I rejoiced when they challenged me, they eclipsed me, or they left for their ministry.
- I discerned in my spirit a calling to them – especially important. There was a knitting in my heart with them almost as soon as I met them.
An effective leader discerns who they can build a ministry upon. My ministries, over the years, have been accomplished through the efforts of others. Jesus did not work alone, neither should we.
A lot of time can be spent with leaders who eventually betray you. Avoiding betrayals by prayerfully considering who you lead will magnify your effectiveness.
Choosing 12 and losing one is much better than losing 10!
I now observe those that I’ve previously led, leading and discipling others. Grandchildren in the faith. This should be our desire.
As people said in the time of the early church… Look there goes Gamaliel, who used to follow Hillel, with that young man named Saul. Saul has a bright future!