Ideal Fellow candidates are highly relational, crave coaching, and are passionate about community development.
We arrived at these criteria by studying the four Gospels and looking in depth at what characteristics the disciples of Jesus possessed. Jesus chose the disciples on purpose and overlooked many as well. We believe that these characteristics will provide us with a good roadmap as we look at “raw material” with the potential to turn the world upside down.
Ready and WillingThe disciples were net-droppers (Mt. 4:19,22). The disciples heard the call of Jesus and obeyed immediately. They followed his leadership with a lot of unanswered questions, unclear plans, and uncertain provision. They considered life with Jesus on his mission greater than anything else. This is not a minor point as many back then and throughout the ages have heard the call and ignored it. We see several examples in the Gospels where people gave reasons for not following his call. Family, friends, wealth, and occupations kept many from becoming disciples (Mt. 10:34-37; Lk. 14:26).
Fellows should exhibit a willingness to get on mission with God in spite of the obstacles. The right prospect will be ready to talk about the “what” vs. the “how.” They should exhibit an excitement for the journey and a readiness to engage.
Humble and Submissive
The disciples exhibited a spirit of humility and submission. This was seen through their willingness to learn. After Jesus told multiple parables, they asked for explanations (Mt. 13:36). They also were obedient to their spiritual authority. Whether they were asked to go fetch a colt or simply to follow him wherever he went, they were obedient to the direction of our Lord. These qualities were also exemplified when they realized their sinfulness. Peter broke down and wept when the rooster crowed and signified his betrayal. True disciples recognize their sinfulness when confronted and they repent.
Fellows should have a reputation for being humble and submissive. People in leadership around them should be able to testify to their teachability, their obedience to what is required of them, and ability to change when confronted.
Fearful, but Faith-Seeking
The disciples were regularly rebuked by our Lord for their little faith (Mt. 8:25; Mt. 14:28-33; Mt. 17:14-20). In the storm on the sea, Jesus said they had little faith. Peter sank in the water. Others couldn’t cast out a demon. When Jesus was arrested, they all fled. Even after he resurrected and appeared to many, some still doubted (Mt. 28:17). However, what made them different is they desired to have their faith increased. In Luke 17:5, they ask Jesus to increase their faith. This is after a long period of teaching the deep truths of God. Much of this teaching was in the context of the relationships between people. When they heard what was required and how they measured up, they asked Jesus to help them.
Fellows should be aware of their shortcomings, but earnestly be asking God to help them. They should also understand the need for their faith to be increased in order to obey God. To truly understand that faith is a gift from God is crucial to the process of Christian growth. Fellows should be able to articulate their journey between fear and faith, between where they are on their journey and where they would like to be.
The disciples had a strong desire for success. Many were simple fisherman who desired something greater in life. This often caused problems such as forbidding children to get near Jesus (Mt. 18:1-13) which betrayed a false view of power. Also, they were often in disputes about who would be the greatest. So, you could say that they were confident, oftentimes over-confident, in their passions and pursuits. Even when Christ told Peter he would be a denier, Peter boldly proclaimed that he was strong enough to stand (Mt. 26:33). While much can be made of the negative side of ambition, the positive side is that they truly desired to see God do something significant. They were dissatisfied with the status quo and they wanted to change it.
Fellows should display some level of ambition, a strong desire to be successful in their Kingdom work. They should have several examples of how they have tried to change the status quo. They should express a confidence in the calling of God on their life to lead change.
The disciples gave up their profession to follow Jesus. They followed his promise that they would not have a place to lay their head and that they had to lose their life in order to save it. They became comfortable with living on little (Mt. 10:9). They were constantly taught about the proper place of money in the kingdom and to wait on a greater reward (Mt. 19:23-30). This also made them quite comfortable around human need and suffering (Mt. 14:34-36; 15:29-31).
Fellows should demonstrate a willingness to live simply and be comfortable working with low-income and high-need populations. They should be able to give several examples where they gave up something so that others could gain.
Tenacious and Persevering
The disciples showed a willingness to follow Jesus even though it was going to involve suffering and hardship. Jesus prepared them by telling them they must be willing to suffer (Mt. 10:17). He told them they would be flogged, dragged before kings, and hated. In Matthew 24, he told them that they would be put to death and hated by all nations, yet none of them turned around and left because of it. Even when John died, the disciples came and took the body and buried it. They saw firsthand what it was going to take and they didn’t flinch (Mt. 14:12). These men bore their own cross and followed Jesus until their death.