Twice in my career, so far, I have been tasked with building a team from scratch. As a hiring supervisor, I looked for a number of traits as I interviewed people, but I especially hoped to find folks who would bring useful skills and creative ideas to the table, demonstrate flexibility and a willingness to learn, and complement the group dynamic. That doesn’t mean that I wanted an office full of mini-me clones; however, we naturally had some similarities in our work histories and basic skills.
When I consider how Jesus selected his team of disciples, it doesn’t make much sense to me, from a supervisory perspective. It seems as though he just picked people off the street, with no real consideration of their qualifications. He chose fishermen whose education level was likely very minimal and assigned them the high-profile job of preaching and teaching his message. He even chose a tax collector – one of the most stereotypically crooked professions of all time – as a close confidant.
Jesus put together a team of individuals who, in any other context, might have little reason ever to interact with each other, much less drop everything and live in community together with a homeless prophet for the next few years.
I think what Jesus cared about most of all was not a bullet-point list of achievements on his disciples’ resumes, how many initials they used after their names, or even their connections in the community (because you and I both know that all of those things carry weight in today’s society, for better or for worse). Instead, he cared about their willingness to simply, “Come, follow me” (see Mark 1:16-18 and elsewhere).
Perhaps you know Scripture like the back of your hand because you were raised in church and spent summers attending Vacation Bible School and church camps. Or, maybe you came to faith more recently, and you are embarrassed to even pray aloud because you don’t feel knowledgeable or articulate enough. Regardless of where you sit between either extreme, let me reassure you that when he asks you to follow him, you are qualified to serve on Jesus’ team! Don’t let a supposed lack of qualifications on paper keep you from being willing to lead when he calls you to. (On the flip side, don’t let a litany of leadership qualifications keep you from being willing to serve, either.)