We are very selfish people, aren’t we? We want everything that we have to continue to always be ours. (If you don’t believe this, spend an hour with a group of preschoolers attempting to share some toys.) What’s wrong with this attitude is when it extends to the church and its leaders. I have seen pastors who are afraid to release members to go and begin new outreach efforts. For example, a missionary friend of mine was once discouraged from moving to Africa because his pastor did not want to lose his surgeon’s tithe.
However, this is not the model we have in Scripture. As ministers of the gospel, it is our duty to encourage and allow people to follow Jesus wherever he may lead. Consider this passage, “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.” (John 1:35-37 ESV) John the Baptist allowed his disciples to leave because they were following Jesus. The author of this passage gives no account of an argument taking place or John pleading with them to stay. He simply let them follow the Messiah.
I am grateful to my partners in ministry who exemplify this selfless attitude, willing to release people and resources in order that new churches are started throughout this city and the world.