2 Timothy - Building Disciples

Background

Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy four years after he had written the first one. Timothy, a young pastor had been ministering to the church at Ephesus for four years, and Paul wrote to him again to teach him on various matters including how he could build disciples.


Pray for them

2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
One thing we note in many of Paul’s letters is that he always mentioned how earnestly he prayed for the churches. That is one good example to pick up. Spiritual mentorship is not something you do by simply learning the tools and methodologies. Paul prayed for the people under his care. Jesus too prayed for His disciples.


Encourage them

2 Tim 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Paul had certain complimentary words to encourage them in their journey of faith. When our spiritual leader encourages us like this, it spurs us on especially when the going is tough.


Motivate them to serve the Lord

2 Tim 1:6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

Paul encouraged the church to serve God through the using of spiritual gifts that had been given to them. A Christian grows best when he is actively serving God. Many of the fruit of the Spirit are developed when one serves and interact with other Christians e.g. humility, long suffering, patience, kindness, etc. A Christian who wants to grow in the Lord but does not want to serve has deprived himself of a proven path to maturity.


Challenge them to do difficult things

2 Tim 1:8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.

Paul did not just paint a rosy picture to his followers. He gives them the full picture and tells them that there will be suffering and things are not going to be easy. However, he challenges them to take on even difficult tasks for the Lord as the power of God will strengthen them to do it.


Be real to them

2 Tim 1:15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.
When we are the spiritual parent of someone, it is easy to not want to show our weakness. We sometimes put up a front and want people to think that everything is fine. That makes it hard for our followers to relate to us. We become “larger than life”.

The reason we could relate to Jesus is that He has gone through the same problems and us and therefore understands how we feel. Likewise, Paul did not try to make Timothy think that everything was alright with him. He told Timothy frankly that many people have deserted him, not being afraid that Timothy might think there was something wrong with his leadership. When we are not afraid to expose our weakness, our followers trust us more and are willing to open themselves to us.