Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead…
Nowhere except in Luke’s Gospel are these missional people mentioned. In the previous chapter, Jesus had just given the same instructions to the Twelve to go out and proclaim the power of the Kingdom of God. Luke provides no geographical instructions to where they were going, but simply that these 70 (or 72) were going to go. It’s indicative of the expanding Kingdom of God, and that the mission of the church was not left only to the select few but to all whom Jesus commissioned.
What I find interesting in this passage is that there is no indignation from the disciples. They give no grief to Jesus’ instructions to these “others.” They don’t get mad that Jesus is bringing people from the outside to do Kingdom stuff.
They aren’t even mentioned.
John Wimber once said, “Ministry is a life of giving. We give our whole life, as God should have ownership of everything. Remember, whatever we give God control of, he can multiply and bless, not so we can amass goods, but so we can take an active part in his enterprise.” That is to say that ministry is not so much what we receive but is given away.
Church leadership isn’t a one-person operation. Church leadership is about empowering others to do the tasks of the Kingdom.
Because one person isn’t able to do all that God asks the church to do. I love what it says following the commission in vv.17-23. They come back with joy, and Jesus himself is overjoyed with their zeal. The mission of the church is about giving it away. Leading with open hands. Allowing others to do the stuff. It’s about getting everyone involved. It’s about allowing people to participate in the things of God, to experience God’s presence, and then they share that joy with others.
The church exists for the sake of all those who are exiled from God. We are called to bring the gospel of the Kingdom to every corner of the world. We can only do this so long as we are intentionally allowing others into ministry.
It’s not just one person who does the work of God. There are no such things as superstars in the Kingdom. Fame doesn’t impress God. It’s about Jesus.
If we are to structure our churches and our churches’ leadership around this person, then surely we ought to be more willing to allow others to participate. God has given all people certain gifts, and these gifts are all essential to the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12).
But we don’t live in a culture that celebrates this. The gifts of healing, prophecy, worship, and preaching are lifted up over the others. All spiritual gifts work in tandem for the common good, and the only way that we can really flourish as this Body is if we are willing to allow others to shine. If we really want everyone to play, we have to let everyone have a shot.
So within churches, the pastor must be willing to allow others to lead in different capacities like allowing others to preach more than just when the senior pastor is out of town. Or even for a worship team, the leader could let the young musician lead a song. Or maybe even on the macro level letting young pastors lead talks at conferences. (The only way that people without experience are going to gain said experience is if they are given the chance)
Even if it’s messy.
Even if it hurts our egos.
Even if something goes wrong.
We’re all in this together. And the only way that we can “go on ahead” is if we allow others to take up the baton.
We need to give it away.