And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. – Mark 3:13-19
If you were going to choose 12 people to change the world how would you make your choices? Have you ever thought of Jesus’ approach to choosing his disciples in those terms? After all, that was what Jesus would actually do. That was the final result of God’s work through these 11 plus 1 men (cf. Acts 17:6): they turned the world upside down! But who were these guys? A report from the imaginary Jordan Management Consultants reads in part…
To: Jesus, Son of Joseph
Woodcrafter’s Carpenter Shop
From: Jordan Management Consultants
Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for managerial positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; and we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.
The profiles of all tests are included, and you will want to study each of them carefully.
As part of our service, we make some general comments for your guidance, much as an auditor will include some general statements. This is given as a result of staff consultation, and comes without any additional fee.
It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability… [click here for the full text of this fictional report]
I’m not at all opposed to seeking the most qualified and talented persons to serve in the church. We regularly use assessment tools to help us find team members and ministry partners. What we don’t do, however, is rely on those assessments as the be all and end all of staffing decisions. In fact, furthermore, we look most closely at character and theological alignment in staffing our church.
When God chooses to call someone into ministry, he has a way of surprising people. David was the youngest and least likely to succeed of his brothers, but he became the greatest king of Israel. Thomas was a bonafide doubter but he took the Gospel to India. Peter could hardly speak without putting his foot in his mouth. The list goes on. And God used these men to change the world.
Next time you run into someone who is serving the cause of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, consider how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. That might mean he would use you as well.