As I coach leaders to start and lead huddles (discipleship groups for training leaders), one of the questions that often comes up is: “How do I decide whom to pick for my first huddle?” People want to make sure they are investing in people who are going to pass on the investment to others, which is, of course, the whole point of the investment.
I’ve written before about this, and it is an important issue to think through, but it’s easy to overthink this and end up immobilized and unable to make a decision. So, how do we choose wisely without succumbing to the paralysis of overanalysis? As usual, Jesus shows us.
In the Gospel of Luke, there is an instructive progression in Jesus’ relationship with his disciples that can serve as a model for us. After Jesus is tempted in the wilderness (Luke 4), he begins his public ministry. He comes to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit,” authoritatively preaching in the synagogues, casting out demons, healing the sick and teaching about the kingdom of God.
Then, in Luke 5, Jesus calls his first disciples after preaching in one of their boats. He then continues to proclaim and demonstrate the availability of the kingdom of God through healing, eating with “sinners” and teaching. The new disciples are basically in the background this whole time. They are barely mentioned at all.
But then, Jesus spends a night in prayer on a mountainside, and in the morning calls his disciples to him and “chose 12 of them, whom he also designated apostles” (Luke 6:13). The instructive pattern I see here is that there was a gap between when Jesus first called them to follow and when he chose the Twelve. Almost like there was a time of observation and testing before he chose 12 to “be in his huddle,” so to speak.
So, here’s what I think we can take away from this: