Daniel A. Brown, Ph.D.
Daniel A. Brown, Ph.D.

Because we believe God wants to use the Whole Church to reach the whole world, we puzzle over why it seems so hard to mobilize more of our people into more ministry. It’s tempting to wonder, What is wrong with these people? But I’d like to avoid that focus on others, and look, instead, at us their leaders. What do we believe, and what do we model?

The Bible, as our one and only source for true doctrine, is also a Book of patterns. It discloses spiritual ways (as opposed to natural means) of God’s Kingdom-come. Doctrines teach us what to believe; patterns show us how to live—and lead.

May I offer you a few of the patterns that helped us engage the Whole Church? In the years I pastored, roughly 75 percent of the adults attended small groups that “multiplied” when they grew to 13 people, so lots and lots of people were cell leaders or apprentices. We planted 37 distinct local churches–almost two per year during the 22 years I pastored. 

Here are three patterns I tried to copy from Jesus’ ministry (as well as questions I asked myself) to help us make ministry-agents out of almost everyone:

(1) Jesus believed in those who believed in Him.

He was confident they could eventually do what He did (John 14:12). Echoing Isaiah’s prophecy that God transforms “least ones” into clans (Isaiah 60:22), Jesus declared even the “least in the Kingdom” could speak mightily for God (Matthew 11:11). Their personal testimony would be so compelling, neighbors and friends could glimpse a possible future of God-at-work in them, too.

Jesus believed the power of the Gospel wasn’t just to save people from sin’s power, but also to transform them into a “kingdom of priests” (Revelation 1:5-6), each of whom could declare the excellencies of the One who called them out of darkness (1 Peter 2:9).

Is my spiritual assignment to identify already-made/matured leaders, or am I supposed to mend and train (equip) everyone for more ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16)?

Pattern: Believe in the ministry potential of all believers—even those (like me) with a long way to go.

(2) Jesus didn’t stay with those who just wanted Him to stay.

He focused on taking the Gospel to more people and places. The crowds enjoyed Jesus’ ministry, but they wanted Him to stay with them. They didn’t always grasp His intent to keep moving. The only way people could enjoy close connection with Jesus was to travel with Him to touch others (Luke 4:42-44). It’s why He said, “Follow Me” so frequently. Jesus promised to stay with His disciples only after He instructed them to “Go into the world” (Matthew 28:19-20).

From the outset, He warned His disciples that He didn’t have a permanent address (Matthew 8:20); instead, He had an abiding assignment (anointing) to do good and heal those oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38). True Christian fellowship isn’t a regularly-scheduled meeting; it is a periodic meeting-up with fellow ministers to swap ministry stories and insights.

Do I follow Jesus’ fellowship pattern? Am I spending most of my time with people who only receive ministry, or with those who “go” and do for others what I did for them?

Pattern: Offer close relationship to ministry-givers more than to ministry-receivers.

Do I follow Jesus’ fellowship pattern? Am I spending most of my time with people who only receive ministry, or with those who “go” and do for others what I did for them?

(3) Jesus sent His followers.

His time was short, so He followed the Master-plan to send His disciples on without Him. From the beginning, He trained and taught them to go forth. In fact, He invited the disciples to “be with Him” in order to “send them out” (Mark 3:13-15). He didn’t pray for more leaders to be sent to Him. Jesus converted far more than sinners’ souls; He transformed their entire life-direction and purpose (Luke 5:8-11).

Being sent for ministry-to-others is a crucial hallmark of a Jesus-follower. Just as everyone is capable, by God’s power, of becoming more righteous in their thoughts and actions, so, too, can they become better and better at ministry-to-others.

Do I faithfully communicate that all followers of Christ will be enlisted in service? Am I a mentor preparing them for that eventuality—or a performer doing most of the ministry myself?

Pattern: Send people into ministry-without-me, and ministry-away-from-me, because that has always been the plan.

is a speaker, author and founding pastor of The Coastlands (Aptos Foursquare Church) in Aptos, Calif.


  1. Thankyou for this Fast and devotional. I am in MTI training as a co- leader right now. Passed the class last year. I’m taking baby steps in a new ministry called Give Love ministering to Street People in Portland. I’m so glad to see the Four Square ministry focus on “Doing What Jesus Did” the book we study at MTI..and I just bought the 21day Daniel Fast a few weeks ago. I think the Lord is telling me something. Stay focused on him.. Let miracles abound Let’s see what God can do, I’m ready to join in 100% to help him…Let’s shine for Jesus

  2. Praise God. He is not a respecter of persons. He uses the least in His Kingdom to fulfill His Mighty works.

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