I would like to begin with a question: At the ascension of Jesus were His twelve disciples adequately prepared to fulfill their kingdom mission?
It is interesting to me that when Christianity starts a new church or wrestles with a ministry question, we usually turn to the book of Acts and the Epistles often overlooking the four Gospels. Yet it is in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that we find the account of Jesus training His twelve disciples to advance the kingdom of God. This is not to say that the other New Testament books do not contain essential truth for us today, but it is in the Gospels that we learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus and where Jesus demonstrates for us how to make followers of Jesus.
Church planters and missionaries have studied and restudied the book of Acts and the Epistles to learn how to start and build churches in order to reach their communities with the good news of Jesus. What I propose is that we broaden our study with a fresh look at the gospels as a guide to kingdom ministry today.
The answer to my original question I believe is yes. Jesus trained his men perfectly, and they were prepared to fulfill the mission entrusted to them in a complex pagan Roman world. The disciples did not wait around for 10 years for Paul to show up and give them further direction for the advancement of the kingdom.
Here are a couple of action points I am pursuing:
- We should study the four Gospels for what Jesus taught, how He trained and how He did ministry.
- If I could interview any of the twelve disciples, what would their counsel be for me for ministry based on their training from Jesus as seen in the Gospels?