Make Yourself Replaceable

When I was in college, I and a few friends started a campus ministry. We did small-group Bible studies and a series of evangelistic outreaches, ranging somewhere from wacky to somewhat decent. Overall, a good organization. I remember someone, years after I graduated, coming up to me and saying that they really appreciated the work I did during that time. They said that they wished that someone was doing something like that now. It was clearly meant as a compliment, but in reality was a scathing critique.

Why is that? First you have to ask why that organization is dead. The reason is that, in a real sense, I built that organization around myself. When I left, it held on for a bit, and then fell apart. But it is a cautionary lesson for anyone who is in a leadership position. Paul grasped this in 2 Timothy 2:1-2, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” Paul knew that he was going to die one day and he did not want the gospel to die with him. So he intentionally trained Timothy to train people who would train others. This is how the gospel spreads. Not by having one really important person who does all the work, instead it is by discipling others, and then training your disciples to make more disciples.

So as you disciple those who rely on you spiritually, ask yourself, “what happens when I get hit with a truck?” Does what you taught go on? Because it needs to. So as you teach, make it your goal to have the gospel live on, even as you one day will be forgotten.