22 April 2013

The Truth That Changed The Direction Of My Ministry

By John Ollis

Last week we looked at the two Greek words Jesus used in John 21:15-17, and despite the fact the Peter could only say to Jesus “I ‘Phileo’ you”, Jesus still gave Peter a Commission in each of the 3 verses, 15-17.

In verse 16 Jesus says to Peter, “Tend/take care of my sheep”.  This was poorly translated in the KJV as “feed”. Jesus used the Greek word ‘Poimaino’ which is usually translated ‘shepherd’.  (It is a very important ministry and I will develop the Shepherd’s role in a later blog.)
In simple 21st century terms, this is what I will call the General Discipleship of the new believer which can include:
A New Christians Class, (Basic Essential Foundational Teaching)
A Small Group (cell)
Sunday Pulpit preaching,
In each case there is a degree of distance between the Leader and the group.
All the above are essential, important and totally necessary in the life of every believer if they are going to fulfil the purposes of God in their life.


Jesus uses a totally different word in verses 15 & 17.  This indicates there are 2 distinct and, I believe, essential aspects to discipleship.  Jesus uses the Greek word bosko which is translated “feed” in most translations.
About 30 years ago, I heard a prominent International Scholar & Bible teacher minister on this verse.  The etymology of the word is this:
It expresses the picture of the Shepherd going through the wool of the sheep looking for cuts, bruises, scratches and the rubbish that gets caught up in the wool.  The Shepherd is with the sheep long enough (and close enough) for the smell of the sheep to be on the Shepherd.
This clearly indicated to me that there needs to be a ‘one on one’ component, as well as the common expression of discipleship mentioned above, to produce the quality disciple that Jesus requires.
This is time consuming, of course, and there is the danger of co-dependency.  In the past this caused some problem in some circles, but this must be avoided.  Sadly, the reaction has been to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and employ the “Poimaino” aspect which, of itself, does not generally produce a quality disciple.
This teaching revolutionised my life and changed the direction of my ministry. I have had the privilege of “Bosko-ing” 100’s of young men. The majority of them have gone on to an awesome spiritual maturity.  Of course, they in turn have ‘Bosko’ discipled many others (down to the 4th and 5th generations!)
Solomon, the wisest man in all the world (although sadly he did some very unwise things) tells us in Proverbs 27: 23Be diligent to know the state of your flocks”. You really cannot get to know individuals on a personal level in a group situation.
In future blogs, I will share on how to Mentor one on one. Most believers (and many Ministers) have never experienced ‘Bosko’ ministry they don’t know how to do it, and so it does not get done.  Is this why we have so many “average” believers?  –  why do so many “backslide” and no longer attend church?
What happens in a Bosko relationship? There are some Truths/Teaching that cannot just be taught in a class, they need to be CAUGHT!  The Discipler needs walk with you until the truth becomes a lifestyle.  For example, teaching about prayer (generally once only in a New Christians’ Class) will not make the person a ‘Pray-er’, but if someone walks with you, for say 4-6 weeks, and connects with you somehow  (SMS/email/Whatsapp, etc.) 2-3 times a week, as well as a face-to-face meeting,  Prayer SHOULD become a LIFESTYLE !
There are a number of truths like Prayer, Protecting the Mind, our Inheritance in Christ, that need the Bosko component to cause the Disciple grip the concept and to grow.
I will be interested to have your comments and questions. I will endeavour to answer them on Friday, and also share what I believe are the 8 Essential Ingredients to Daily Prayer.