I’m passing on this challenge wherever I go at the moment. It’s one I’ve received myself: Assume responsibility.
These two words are the title of chapter one of Derek Tidball’s latest book Lead like Joshua, and they summarise what he’s hearing from Joshua 1:1-6. For me personally, this challenge is like a light shining in the darkness. There are areas I can see, but would rather someone else took responsibility for. I’m reminded that I need sufficient light to take steps which are intentional (going in the right direction), and sure (relying on good foundations).
I’m always returning to Jesus’ sending of the seventy-two in Luke 10 and what I’m seeing there is Jesus, the one above all who assumed responsibility, sharing it out to everyone willing to rise to the challenges of following him with all they’d been given.
If I’m honest, this is something I don’t always warm to. Is it for you? After all, the word ‘assume’ can suggest arrogance … ‘who am I to assume anything?’ As for ‘responsibility’, well, that word is not exactly flavour of the century, so far, is it?
The Forge Mission Training hub I’m leading has become one arena where I’m seeing people grow in this matter of taking responsibility for the mission of Jesus. This is what we’re really reading about in Luke 10:1-12.
It’s exciting: Charmaine has gathered thirty neighbours; Ruth has initiated a toddler group; Helen is discovering people of peace by listening attentively to what the spirit is saying.
I imagine Joshua felt far from ready, in his eyes, to pick up the baton left by Moses. I’m sure he didn’t resolve overnight his insecurities and the inadequacies he felt when comparing his list of attributes with those he’d looked up to in Moses. But Joshua acted like he believed God’s promise: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” (Joshua 1:5)
Are you acting like you believe the God of Moses, the Father of our Lord Jesus, is with you, as he was with whoever you’ve looked up to?
Think about who Jesus was entrusting responsibility to when he ‘appointed seventy-two others and sent them’ (Luke 10:1):
- People who knew him very little.
- People who’d had no time to demonstrate faithfulness.
- People who would most probably make mistakes, along the way.
- People who would be tempted to get distracted before they’d gone anywhere, or done anything.
- People who deep down wanted to follow him wherever.
- People like us.
Now think about who you’re not entrusting responsibility to. Why is that?
Now I invite you to pray about ‘who’ might need to hear about Forge to start this adventure in 2018 … it may be you, or you may wish to share this information with someone else. There’s no doubt, in my mind, every Forge participant, so far, has grown in faith and their church and community has been blessed, as a result.
Forge is not a ‘Baptist’ initiative, although we have been among the key partners in initiating the training for England and Wales.
If you are interested, please contact via the formission.org.uk website, or if in the South West & South Wales via http://seventy-two.network . During 2018 our training hub will move between Bristol, Cardiff and Berkshire.
The Seventy-two network is growing primarily, although not exclusively, among people who are part of Baptist churches. It’s been good to catch up with the current Baptist Union President, Dianne Tidball, recently to glean her perspective on some of our present concerns – look out for an interview with her coming up in the next few days on this site.