In high school, I participated in a few athletic competitions. My favorite
was the relay race, where four team members take turns passing the baton
from one racer to another until the last one crosses the finish line. The
winner of this race isn’t the first runner who crosses the finish
line. It’s the team of the runner who first crosses the
finish line with the baton firmly in hand. When he or she does,
the entire team is rewarded.
The Christian life is like a relay race. We’re each called not only to
be disciples of Christ but to “make disciples” (Matthew
28:19–20). Each new disciple must grasp tightly the
“baton” of biblical truth and pass it on to another, who passes
it to another, and so on. To win the race—to influence future
generations—we must intentionally live for Christ in the present.
Awaiting death in a Roman prison, Paul wrote a farewell letter to his
spiritual son, Timothy. With the tenderness of a seasoned mentor speaking
with a timid rookie disciple, Paul wrote:
Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from
me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ
Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us,
carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.
(2 Timothy 1:13–14)
It’s easy to imagine Paul’s having in mind a relay race as he
penned those words!
The aged apostle asked young Timothy to internalize the teaching model Paul
had taught him—the same one Paul had received from Christ—and
to contextualize it for the changing needs of Timothy’s congregation.
In the same letter, Paul ordered Timothy to strengthen himself in the grace
of Jesus and pass on biblical truth to trained people who would,
in turn, do the same:
Be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus.
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many
reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people
who will be able to pass them on to others.
(2 Timothy 2:1–2)
This passage describes Paul’s mentoring plan for training disciples,
which includes three essential components: content, purpose, and context.
The content is the gospel
. It’s what we should focus on and pass on to the next
generation—not our own beliefs and perceptions.
The purpose is multiplication
. It’s not only about our making disciples but also
training them to make other disciples.
The context is relationship.
It’s a process that involves close relationships. Books and
sermons, letters and articles, play a wonderful supplementary role in
the discipleship process. But no distant writer, speaker, or preacher
can help you apply biblical truth to your life as a mentor who
personally knows you can.
Visión Para Vivir
, the Spanish-language ministry of Insight for Living Ministries, is more
than a Bible-teaching radio program; it’s a ministry that facilitates
biblical mentoring. Through conferences and workshops, we encourage pastors
and leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean with the Word of God and
provide them with translated Insight for Living Ministries resources
to help them disciple others.
In Cuba, for example, we hold annual pastoral training workshops where many
pastors receive biblical motivation and printed materials to help them
better disciple others. One of those pastors shared the impact:
Pastor Carlos, in Cuba we have many needs, but what we lack the most is
printed materials that help us make disciples. Thank you for providing us
with these resources that Visión Para Vivir produces.
In Guatemala and other Latin American countries, this pastoral training
goes further. Hundreds participate in our pastoral seminars, where topics
such as preaching, biblical counseling, and developing leaders are
discussed. We not only seek to answer practical questions about ministry;
we also provide solid, biblical resources to help pastors grow and teach
them to train other leaders to do the same.
We wish to foster the legacy Paul left to Timothy, but above all, we strive
to fulfill the Great Commission that Jesus issued to His disciples. We want
to be participants, rather than spectators, in this relay race of faith
that all believers should run. This is what Vision 195 is all about—all of Insight for
Living Ministries' staff members and each one of you reading my words being
on the same relay team for Christ! Only by running with endurance today,
intentionally making disciples for tomorrow, can we influence future
generations . . . who will keep running until the last racer crosses the
finish line with the baton of truth firmly in hand.