When we talk about “Timothys”, what are we referring to?
We are talking about taking one or a few younger believers under our wing to develop them into competent, godly leaders, singling them out for intensive, extensive training, coaching, encouragement, and development that other believers don’t receive. The inspiration for this is the Apostle Paul’s number one trainee and ministry kindred spirit: Timothy – the recipient of the two New Testament letters named after him. Paul’s workload was so enormous he needed thoroughly trained coworkers to help carry the load and also to be competent to fill the void at Paul’s death. Timothy met that need.
What are Timothy’s accomplishments in the New Testament?
“Timothy is mentioned in the opening verses of 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon. He accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys, and when Paul was in prison, Timothy represented Paul at Corinth and Philippi. For a time, Timothy was also imprisoned for the faith. He helped many people find salvation in Christ. Church tradition holds that after Paul’s death, Timothy served as bishop of the church in Ephesus”.
Are “Timothys” important?
Extremely! They expand the number of currently trained church leaders, help older Christian workers avoid burnout, and ensure the church will be passed to the next generation.
Why do some Christian leaders not want to train a Timothy?
Selfishness, fear, and pride. Those leaders want to be the center of attention, are not willing to share the spotlight with anyone else, want to keep a distance between themselves and their flock, are afraid that a Timothy might demonstrate some gifting they themselves don’t have. Leaders who want to be a “one man show” have major character deficiencies and leave a leaderless, highly vulnerable church behind them when they die.
What happens if you don’t train a Timothy?
Unfortunately, I can give you an answer from painful, personal observation. A nearby pastor lead his church for eleven years. People came to the Lord under his ministry, but there was no discipleship, no leadership training and- can you believe it – no members meetings. When that pastor resigned that flock was like a bunch of abandoned children, clueless what to do. His successor started with a major handicap – no one trained to help carry the workload. For a while the church floundered. Fortunately, over time he was able to raise up a few Timothys to help. That unfortunate situation could have been avoided.
On what basis did Paul select Timothy?
Acts 16:1,2 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.
A teachable attitude and a heart for God are required.
Didn’t grab just anyone. Look for a good reputation, a hunger for God.
(This might bring to mind Luke 6:12-16 when Jesus selected the 12 only after he prayed all night and had already been with them for a while to observe them.)
What can we learn from the New Testament about Timothy?
Romans 16:21 Timothy, my fellow worker
Timothy was Paul’s “protégé, son in the faith, number one disciples, dear friend.”
1 Corinthians 4:17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
Timothy could be sent in Paul’s place in confidence he would represent Paul well. Stop and think about the amount of training that preceded this to make this possible.
1 Corinthians 16:10 When Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am.
Is it possible to get a stronger compliment than this? Paul puts Timothy on a par with himself? Impressive! But surely this puts a limit on the number of Timothys anyone can have. To grow your own spiritual clone will take much training, prayer, co-laboring. And each of us has a limited amount of time in a day. Clearly Paul was aiming for quality, not quantity – an uncommon goal in today’s numbers obsessed world.
2 Corinthians 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes.
Timothy’s preaching, along with Paul and Silvanus, was not wishy washy. It was a clear “yes” to Biblical truth.
Philippians 2:19-22 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.
If Paul had few people he could send, maybe there is message that we won’t have as many Timothys as we would like, maybe some prospective Timothys might let us down.
1 Thessalonians 3:2 we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith,
Think of the training it took for Timothy to be able to fulfill that role. Another reminder that not every Christian in your Bible study, not everyone you disciple will measure up to the status of a Timothy. Don’t demean the “Timothy” category by designating people as such too quickly, too casually.
Hebrews 13:23 You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon.
Paul spent time in jail. Timothy spent time in jail. Neither of them used that “down time” as an excuse to shelve their ministries. Both were unstoppable.
Some concluding thoughts about Paul’s development of Timothy:
Paul helped build Timothy’s strengths:
“Despite his young age, Timothy was respected by fellow believers. Well-grounded in Paul’s teachings, Timothy was skilled at presenting the gospel.”
But Paul had spent enough time with Timothy to know his weaknesses. Paul confronted them head on:
“Timothy appeared to have been intimidated by his own youthfulness. Paul urged him in
1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.
“He also struggled to overcome fear and timidity. Again, Paul encouraged him in
2 Timothy 1:6-7 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
But more significantly 2 Timothy has almost no doctrine in it. Instead there are approximately 25 commands. Timothy, you don’t need more truth. You need to do what you already know. ACT! SEIZE THE DAY FOR GOD!
Can you have a Timothy of the opposite sex?
Not wise. Avoid any opportunity for temptation. Avoid any potential for gossip. Don’t go there.
Titus 2:3-5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled
Older women are to be the primary developers of younger women. Men need men to develop them, women need women.
What follows is a detailed “Timothy” development outline:
Step one: Criteria to be used in selecting potential Timothys:
Demonstrated heart for God – it is obvious that God is speaking to him through his Word and application is being made.
Demonstrated heart for people
Initiative – self starter – risk taker – willing to step out in faith
Creative – has lots of ideas
Faithful – follows through on responsibilities and assignments
An avid learner – is always taking advantage of opportunities to learn
Available – leader types won’t be hanging around waiting. They will be busy doing what they know to do and looking for ways to be more effective, therefore will be available to learn and grow.
Step two: Training and development – the what:
Concept of God: Who is He? What is He like?
Vision of eternal values
Completes the 2:7 series (or equivalent) and continues in all of the disciplines
Scripture memory – at least 2 verses per week and good review system
Make sure all of the roots (daily Bible reading, worship, prayer, giving, serving, evangelism, obedience, etc) are functioning. Help your Timothy to develop strong convictions about roots.
Spiritual formation: help your Timothy to understand deeply who he is in Christ and how God can renovate his inner life.
Character development and training – (see the character section of treeroots.info)
Team work – help him function well as part of your team
Help him to grow in his social skills with others and ministry skills of nurturing Christlikeness in others
Step three: training and development – the how:
Pray. Pray. Pray. If God isn’t in this effort, nothing will happen.
Make them think – ask tons of questions – are they thinking Biblically?
Spend time together – most of the really important things are caught rather than taught. Give maximum opportunity to learn from your example. Again, ask questions: What did you observe? What went well? What could we have done better? What can we learn?
Spend time together in the Word and prayer
Give assignments – roots, character, family, social skills, and ministry skills
Plan together. Pray together.
Observe them doing things, – ask questions: What were you aiming at? Why that?
Give them independent ministry assignments
Much brainstorming and thinking is needed so that churches maximize two things:
1) The opportunity for believers to be transformed into Christlikeness, and
2) maximize the opportunity for non believers to hear and understand the “Good News.”
Example of how to train small group leaders if the leader had not been in a 2:7 group previously:
- Have him sit in on a group you are leading and or in the group of a very good 2:7 group leader. Ask tons of questions afterwards.
- Review the primary aims of the 2:7
- Growth, changed lives or transformation into Christ likeness
- Development of spiritual roots – habits ·
- Spiritual reproduction
- Sit in on the group periodically
- Evaluate together