And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. - Mark 6:30
Our ongoing experience here in Australia and in the Toowoomba base is one of full engagement in the gospel, and in the fellowship of the brethren. We have been committed to strengthening the home base and to more fully establish a functioning school of Tyrannus in Toowoomba. This is based on the experience of Paul in Acts 19. The Scripture says that Paul, "departed from them [the synagogue, and those who were speaking evil of the Way] and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks" v.9-10. Paul was "reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God" v.8. [Asia refers to the province of Rome, of which Ephesus was the capital; Tyrannus is said to be a man of Ephesus who owned a school or lecture hall at which the apostle Paul reasoned daily for two years.]
It has been in our hearts for many years to establish a discipleship and training centre so that disciples could be raised up through training and sent out to minister the word. To some extent this has been happening, with many teams going out into the nations from our ministry base of Shiloh in Toowoomba.
Since 1999, we have been developing a training centre here in our Toowoomba base and have been offering intensive training schools [from two to twelve weeks for each school], generally twice per year. We have also offered a part-time ministry training on Thursdays, and on a monthly basis we have had a special teaching and training day. However in more recent years, we have developed full-time discipleship and training, and brethren have purposefully come to Shiloh to be discipled and trained.
As well as the Thursday training and the monthly training Saturdays and the intensive schools, we also offer at least three discipleship classes per week, and the disciples are studying set courses in knowing and understanding the word of God, and in turn, being able to preach and teach and minister to others. Our discipleship is very practical, in that the disciples are given ministry assignments according to their level of training.
We are multi-campused in that we offer training schools in other cities in Australia from time to time and in cities in various nations. The fruit of this development of the school of Tyrannus is that there are many apostolic schools functioning in various nations and many are being taught and trained in apostolic doctrine and practice. Some of the courses are available on-line and this has proved a very effective way of making disciples, providing the teaching on-line.
Teams that have been trained are now reaching many nations and the doctrine is spreading.
The result of Paul's concentrated ministry in Ephesus in making disciples and training ministers, was that the whole province of Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus. Paul himself did not leave the city for two years. Therefore we deduce that it was the disciples, including such men as Timothy, who were going out from the training school, preaching and teaching, reporting back in, receiving further training, going back out, until the whole province was filled with the doctrine.
In 2Timothy 2:2 Paul exhorts Timothy to make sure he is training and equipping others for the work of the ministry, but not only that, but to make sure that those ministers that Timothy is training will impart what they learned to "faithful men who will be able to teach others also". Timothy would have received a large portion of that training that Paul is referring to, when he was with Paul in Ephesus.
This powerful verse in 2Timothy gives us the pattern of fruitful apostolic ministry. Paul has become a senior apostle by now in both practical experience and in receiving much revelation, which he willingly and openly passes on to others.
It is not enough for a minister to only do the work of the ministry, but the minister must be equipped to be able to make disciples, train and raise others into ministry. This can only happen effectively when the church is functioning in apostolic order (1Cor.12:28, Eph.4:11-13), as all of the five ministers of Ephesians 4:11 are needed to bring the church to full maturity.
"The knowledge of the glory of YAHWEH is to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea" Habakkuk 2:14. It is God's desire for all men to come to the knowledge of the truth (1Tim.2:4). Paul told Timothy to warn other ministers "That they should teach no other doctrine" 1Tim.1:3. Jesus said "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me" Jn.7:16. We are to teach the disciples "to observe all things that I [Jesus] commanded you"(Matt.28:20).
In Acts 5:28, the apostles were accused by the high priest, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine." What a marvellous model for us to follow, and put into practice: to fill every city with the knowledge of the doctrine of Jesus the Christ!
At a particular time, one of our ministers was in South America for many months. During that time another team went into India for three weeks. Another team was functioning from Finland. Two young men from Finland who had been trained at Shiloh in Toowoomba and since have been ministering in Russia, Estonia and Albania, Latvia and Northern Ireland. Another team visited Uganda and Kenya for three weeks. This is a snapshot of how an apostolic base functions: making disciples, training workers and sending out the workers into the harvest.
In Australia at the same time that all the teams were ministering overseas, there were two teams travelling far and wide in the nation, ministering the gospel in many towns and cities, publically and from house to house.
These ones who are sent out are confident to teach and preach the word of God, and wherever the word is received the brethren are encouraged, edified and changed. We are inspired by the testimony of the disciples who had grown up under the apostles in Jerusalem. When persecution came and they had to leave Jerusalem, "those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4). The goal of making disciples is to raise workers to be sent out who can preach the word.
Meanwhile we continue in home base with intensive classes and training sessions with the disciples who have gathered with us. Through doing this work of intensive discipleship and training, we have been refreshed in our commitment to the Great commission, and we have come to a clearer understanding of the conduct of discipleship.
Please note that just doing discipleship classes is not fully discipleship. Discipleship is the process whereby we bring a new believer to a place of maturity and then train them and send them out in the work of the ministry.
The sending out does not always mean going to a different location, but includes being released into doing ministry in the local base. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said we are to be His witnesses in Jerusalem [where we live], in Judea [our region], in Samaria [another region where we may not want to go], and in all the world [everywhere]!
God has given us four words that summarise the commitment of a disciple and provide a discipline in which disciples grow. There has been a clarification and a growing commitment to the goal of discipleship, which is to reach all nations with the gospel.
Once we come to faith in Jesus Christ there must be a commitment to follow Him. Our commitment to Jesus Christ through believing in Him is the only basis for becoming a disciple. Once we have come to the commitment of faith in Jesus Christ, we then must obey the call. "'Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.' They immediately left their nets and followed Him" Matt.4:19-20.
Having made a commitment we need to remain faithful to that commitment, being taught and then trained and then sent out. We are blessed to have a number of disciples who have purposely joined us in Toowoomba to be discipled and trained so that they can become ministers of the word.
Everybody in the body of Christ is to be in submission. A disciple, biblically speaking, submits to the teacher [rabbi]. Such submission is firstly totally unto God, but then it is through faith in God that we submit to the leaders that God has placed us with, to be discipled.
Further, the submission is to one another in the body - no one has an exclusive 'special' relationship, but we all submit into the body, fully respecting and appreciating each other (Eph.5:21; 1 Pet.5:5). In fact everyone of us has a special relationship with Jesus because He is such a personal God, but His goal for us cannot be reached without being a functioning member of His body
However, through the restoration of the spirit and power of Elijah, God has graced us with fathers and mothers in the body, and true father/son relationships develop. This provides a true family environment and each disciple is able to know that they are received, loved, approved and appreciated for who they are and honoured for their commitment to serve Jesus Christ.
Being in submission means:
There are some amazing testimonies of accountability in the Scripture including: the way the Tabernacle was built: "thus Moses did; according to all that YAHWEH had commanded him, so he did" (Ex.39:16, also see verses 17-26); the instructions Jesus gave to the disciples to take the colt for His purpose (Lu.19:28-35); and the disciples returning from their mission in Luke 10:17.
Accountability means reporting back. The apostles Paul and Barnabas after their first apostolic journey purposefully returned to the sending base in Antioch and "when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles" Acts 14:27.
We are accountable for our time, for our behaviour, for our faithfulness. It means being willing to do as we are asked, including going on practical outreaches and assignments.
This is the sending of the trained disciples, to go out to do the work of the ministry. Apostleship means being sent in the authority of the apostolic mandate that Jesus gave to His church in Matthew 28:18-20. This is also reflected in the sending out of the 70 in Luke 10:1. They reported back saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name" (v.17).
Those who are sent are those who have completed some level of training and have become disciplined in their commitment, their submission and their practice of accountability.
Commitment, submission and accountability are all voluntary. "Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power" Ps.110:3a.
To the degree that we walk in the light of these words, the Holy Spirit leading and guiding us, is the degree to which we will be fruitful in doing the work of the ministry. The fruit of true discipleship is the apostolic sending of workers into the harvest. Workers are sent! Disciples are sent to do the work.
We want to encourage you wherever you are, to consider afresh, 'Are you doing what Jesus said to do: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" Matt.28:19a.'
"Then He said to them, 'The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest'" Lu.10:2. [see also Matt.9:37-38]. This is the season of the harvest, and we want to look at two words from this amazing instruction that Jesus gave us.
1) The word labourers - SC #2040. Greek ergates, from the root word ergo - to work or to toil. Ergates means a toiler; figuratively, a teacher. Translated as labourer [10x], worker(s) [6x]. This word is used to refer to field workers; a worker in general; false apostles and evil teachers, a servant of Christ.
This is very interesting when we look at Hebrews 5:12, "aqqq.". The Lord Jesus expects all of His children to be disciples and then sent out into the harvest. The work of the harvest is to share the word of God. Every member of the body of Christ is to be discipled and trained to share the word of God. This is the work of the harvest.
2) The word send - SC #1544. Greek ekballo, means to eject [literally or figuratively]
Translated as cast out [45x], cast [11x], and send forth [3x], and various others such as, thrust out, expel, send away, send out.
This is not the word apostello but quite a different word. It is not a gentle word; it is a strong forceful word. It is used in the context of casting out devils. It suggests that Jesus is going to thrust us out into the harvest. He does not invite us, but more so, He compels us.
• the harvest is now,
• the workers are to be thrust out into the harvest now
• the work of the labourers is to teach and preach the word of God.
"Do not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest!' Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest" Jn.4:35.
Let us be like Isaiah of old who heard the Lord say, "Whom shall I send and who will go for Us? Then I [Isaiah] said, 'Hear am I, send me'" Isa.6:8. The task that the Lord gave to Isaiah was not an easy one. Read Isaiah 6:9-13.
It is time to be serious about the call of God! It is time to be willing to go into the harvest and work and toil in the word until the harvest has been reaped.
From the beginning God intended for His people, made in His image and likeness, to fill the earth with godly offspring who had been brought up to be like their parents - in the image and likeness of God. In Genesis 1:28 God gives five steps that are all necessary to fulfil His purpose.
i. Be fruitful
iii. Fill the earth
iv. Subdue it
v. Have dominion
Step number three is "fill the earth". The earth is to be filled with godly children who have been brought up to maturity. Then as mature sons, they are to rule and reign in the earth by grace and through faith, obeying God's commandments, that is, the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ. As sons they are to be planted in the world (Matt.13:38), or as we learnt from Luke 10:2, thrust out into the harvest.