In Luke 10, Jesus sends out 72 of his disciples in pairs to travel from village to village preaching the gospel. When preparing these disciples, Jesus warns them that he is sending them out “like lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). He then instructs them not to take any supplies with them: “Don’t carry a money-bag, traveling bag, or sandals” (Luke 10:4).
I’ve often wondered why Jesus commanded his disciples not to take anything in Luke, while after his ascension his disciples did carry supplies on their journey. Paul says that Peter and the other apostles even took along their wives (1 Cor 9:5). What was the purpose behind Jesus’ temporary command to travel with nothing in Luke?
I think Jesus was teaching his disciples to depend completely upon God to bring in God’s harvest (Luke 10:2). To do this, he had to strip them from anything else that might steal from them the necessity of depending upon God. Jesus could only send his graduates out on their permanent mission that endures until Christ returns in Acts after teaching them to depend wholly on God during their temporary mission in Luke.
Sending out Church Planting Teams
With our students at Shepherds Academy, we are trying to imitate Jesus’ model of training as best as we can in our Malawian context. We want students to learn from teachers in the classroom as well as through ministry experiences throughout their program. For their senior project, each candidate for graduation must go out with one or two others to preach the gospel in new areas.
This week we have sent out 16 young men for two weeks. We’ve provided them with bicycles, blankets, Bibles, and gospel tracts, but they must depend upon God for their food and places to sleep while they travel throughout areas far from their homes. Only by enduring this test will they learn to choose faith over fear and see God work in them, through them, and for them.
Pray for them as they travel preaching until June 15. They will be entering remote areas or areas dominated by witchcraft and/or Islam where there are few or no biblical churches. Like Jesus, we are sending them out as lambs among wolves so that they will learn to trust God and qualify for graduation on June 19.
Training pastors and selecting future leaders
In May, we met with pastors both in Zomba and the Lower Shire for a week of training. This was our first full gathering since the pandemic, and everyone was happy to fellowship together as they studied Theology 2 and Church Planting.
We were also able to take applications for the next class at Shepherds Academy. We have offered invitations to 15 new students to start in October. It is a blessing to see how God is continually calling more young men to serve him.
Meet our summer intern
We’ve been so blessed to have Trevor Grant, a Murray State student from Hardin Baptist Church, serving with us over the past few weeks. Trevor is discerning God’s call on his life, and we’ve been happy to study missions with him while doing missions. Already, he has preached at various churches, as well as at one of our pastors schools. The pastors were especially encouraged by his sermons in the Lower Shire.
Tyler Hardin and Peyton Cadwell, also from Hardin Baptist, will be joining us on June 4 to serve together until they all leave on June 17.
The harvest is there already
Before instructing the 72 in Luke 10 on how to preach, Jesus first commands them to pray. He says, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2).
In this mini-parable, Jesus shows that God has already planted, tended, and fertilized the field. He has been at work long before us. The harvest is there already. All that is needed is for workers to go out and gather it! Harvest is a joyful time, and despite all the hardships we must face, we also receive the joy of being brought into the fruition of God’s work.