I’m captivated by Jesus’ leadership. He not only shaped the character of the 12 guys that followed him, but he taught them to do the very things they watched him do. Jesus showed them the power and authority given to Him by the Father through things like physical healings, casting out demons, multiplying food to feed massive crowds, turning water into wine at a wedding party, knowing someone’s life story without being told first, raising the dead…more than once!
But these guys not only got a front row seat to see the action, the whole point was Jesus was showing them a lift to imitate. He gave them access to that same authority and power!
Matthew 16:19 “And I will give you the keys of the of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
In John 10 when Jesus is sending out the 12 disciples on their first mission, he gives them authority to heal and cast out demons. Then he gives them these instructions:
“Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!”
Here’s what I see: Jesus SHOWED them, then SENT them out to try it. They didn’t get a big tutorial, not an in depth theology lesson. He simply showed them what it looks like, then let them practice.
When it comes to students walking in Kingdom power and authority, I’m a huge fan of these two things! Students need more than information – they need to see it in action and then given the ability to take risks and try.
Learning to use the gifts of the Spirit are a bit like learning a sport. You are never good at it the first time you try. But you have to try to see which sport you are good at! And it takes practice to learn the skills and actually become good.
Are we creating environments where students can be risk takers – to try and practice the things of the Spirit?
Also…let’s be real. The reason we step way back from Holy Spirit type things is a fear of being weird. Can we all just commit to not being weird?! (and not multiplying weird into our students!) We will never understand everything about the Lord – nor should we. But, you can prophesy without being forceful or weird. You can pray that God would heal your friend without being weird. The Kingdom can come and the Lord’s will can be done here on earth as it is in heaven THROUGH US without being weird!
As we’re sending students out as everyday missionaries into their lives, they have to have all the tools in their tool belt. They need to learn and grow in ALL that God has offered them, not just believe the right things.
A couple months ago we intentionally set up opportunities for our students to learn, grow, and try some of these things. We had teaching inputs on the Holy Spirit followed by breakout workshops where students could choose the gift of the Spirit they wanted to know more about. These workshops were led by young adults who operate in that particular gift. They told lots of stories, showed them what it looks like, then gave them time and space to try right then and there.
At the end of the day, we gathered everyone back together to share what they saw God do. Students came in that day wondering if God would really show up (but really hoping they’d see something cool!) and ended the day with personal stories of God using THEM to speak an encouraging word to a friend, and using THEM to pray for knees/ankles/backs to be healed (and they were!). A monumental day for the faith of our students being stretched as they saw how God can use even them in the miraculous.
Just another day in the office… 😉