by Waldron Scott
In the Summer 1969 issue of Evangelical Missions Quarterly, P.T. Chandapilla (General Secretary, Union of Evangelical Students of India) told “How Jesus Trained the Twelve.” He broke down his study into eight principles of Jesus’ ministry. The following story describes how another national Christian leader puts these principles into practice in Malaysia.
In the Summer, 1969, issue of Evangelical Missions Quarterly, P.T. Chandapilla (General Secretary, Union of Evangelical Students of India) told "How Jesus Trained the Twelve." He broke down his study into eight principles of Jesus’ ministry. The following story describes how another national Christian leader puts these principles into practice in Malaysia.
1. Jesus Christ selected those who should be the Twelve (Luke 6:12-13).
Chandapilla points out that Jesus "was on the search for individuals" in the midst of the crowds. He chose men who were busy in some trade and responsive to spiritual truth to be his disciples.
Jimmy Chew, 31, of Singapore, came to Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, in 1966 as a representative of The Navigators. He was and is supported financially by his home church in Singapore.
Chew began by prayerfully searching for individuals day after day. He and his wife, Selene, visited the University of Malaya daily and made friends there. Chew also led a weekly training class in the basics of New Testament living at a local church. From these two sources he found almost all ten who became his team two years later. They were people busy in their trade: a school clerk, a stenographer, two doctors, a university lecturer and university students.
Certain traits signaled Chew as to who was really hungry for spiritual truth: Dr. Low, a church elder past 50, was faithful in doing assignments given to the church training class. If there were no assignment, he would ask for one. It is most unusual in the Orient for an older man to follow a younger one.
David Bok, a student, says, "I met Jimmy and life never settled down." Bok would come to the Chews’ gate and say, "Teach me!"
Many girls said they wanted to grow. But one, Choy Leng, took time to learn and apply what she learned. She was willing to stand up against criticism of her peers. Right from the start she was committed to the vision of winning a few to Christ and specializing in making them into disciples.
After much prayer, Chew gathered fourteen promising ones together to consider becoming a team. They discussed what commitment that would involve. Ten signed up. All people in this article are team members.
2. Jesus Christ made the Twelve the center of His concern (Luke 22:15-16).
In similar fashion Jimmy and Selene treasure their team. "We have never prayed together," marvels Mrs. Chew, "without his mentioning one team member. And he can’t stop until he’s prayed for all of them. No matter where we are, he’s talking about them."
In a typical week, activities which pertain to his team dominate Chew’s schedule:
Each Sunday Chew spends two hours with Henry. In the evening the Chews have "family counsel" with students Ah Kow and Rama, who live with them in their home for training. At that time they discuss how they can grow in Christ-like service in specific ways in the home.
On a recent Monday three team members spent their national holiday at the Chews’ home. They spent four hours cleaning out the storeroom. Then they ate, played badminton and went swimming.
On Tuesday the team meets for Bible study at 6:30 a.m. As many of them as possible meet again at 5:30 p.m. to swim. And that evening Chew spends about two hours with Say Gark, a newly qualified doctor.
On Wednesday Chew spends three hours alone with David. On Thursday Chew meets with Rama for one or two hours, and later with university lecturer Meng Hye for two hours. On Friday evening team members lead cell Bible study groups of young Christians in the Chew home.
On Saturday Chew meets with the team for prayer or planning for an hour. Then he spends two hours alone with Ah Kow. There is no doubt the team members are second only to Jesus Christ in Chew’s heart.
3. Jesus Christ discoursed with the Twelve and taught them (Matt. 5:1, 2).
Likewise, Chew seizes opportunities to teach, in public and in private. One team member mentioned his converts could not come to a meeting because of fear due to recent racial riots. Chew explained how Christians don’t have to live in fear. "Furthermore, we want men, not sissies."
Around his home you hear him talk of safety ("Wear your helmet on the motorcycle!") or servanthood or promptness. The weekly team Bible study provides the most natural occasion for doctrinal instruction. Also, team members bear him speak at church and Navigator functions. But most fruitful of all are his weekly "man-to-man" sessions with the men on a casual level of discussion about what’s really going on deep down inside of them.
4. Jesus Christ progressively unveiled Himself (His being) to the Twelve (Matthew 16:13-IS).
Chandapilla calls this the most demanding part of leadership development: ". . . inner conflicts, problems, feelings, thoughts and decisions must be exposed . . . in order that the novices may know who he is in truth as a man, and how he finds solutions to these crises in his work and personal life through dependence upon God."
There are no secrets about Jimmy Chew. For example, Meng Hye had a misunderstanding with his wife and sought Chew’s counsel. Chew freely shared how he helps his wife when she’s wrong. And how she’s extra nice to him when he’s wrong, or comes home late, or misses an appointment with her.
The team members see his life. By spending hours weekly in his home. And taking trips together. They observe how he spends his money, how he apologizes, how systematically he plans his time, how he cares for people.
For example, Jimmy asked Say Gark to go with him as he counselled a man who had deep financial and family problems. Chew had led the man to Christ previously. Later Chew found accommodations for him. Say Gark saw Jimmy’s heart for this man and how he helped him. Now Say Gark himself feels equipped to meet that situation when it happens to him.
One day a team member shared with him the problem of a young girl who felt called of God to serve the Lord with another mission. But certain Christians criticized her decision because they thought she should serve the church instead. Chew reacted in anger at such narrowness. Later they prayed. With his wife and two team members, Chew confessed his sin of anger, and prayed for those critical Christians right away.
5. Jesus Christ generated and cultivated the confidence of the Twelve in Him (John 1:41, 42, 47-49).
David Bok states that Chew’s godly life was what he found most appealing. Another team member was recruited by his brother’s report: "You should see how they witness. They just go into a student’s room and talk, sitting on the bed. So natural!"
Jimmy Chew also wins men’s confidence by the intense personal interest he shows in them. To him everything about his team members is important: an examination, finding a job, missing a meal, parental opposition, fears, poor eyesight.
6. Jesus Christ involved the Twelve in practical assignments (Matt. 10:1, 5).
Say Gark shared with me some of the practical assignments Chew has given him:
– To give a 15-minute message, on living for Christ, at a rally for students. – To write out how he would get a young Christian started in Scripture memory. – To write out his objective for each of his activities and the amount of time he plans for them. – To direct a conference for 130 young people.
Meng Hye’s biggest assignment has been to lead a team of five in evangelism at one of the men’s residence halls at the University of Malaya. He’s patterned his team after what he’s seen Chew do: They witness each week in pairs, follow up converts regularly, meet for prayer and Bible study. "Jimmy leaves me on my own," Meng Hye remarks. "He doesn’t breathe over my shoulder."
7. Jesus Christ disciplined the Twelve (Matt. 16:17, 23).
Chandapilla defines this as "encouraging, rebuking, correcting and challenging."
Chew praises team members who prepare a thorough Bible study. He also collects their weekly bible studies and evaluates them-giving pointers for better study habits.
One team member demonstrated poor use of time. So Chew taught him to make a weekly schedule, keep records of how far he carried it out, and to evaluate his week, afterwards. For months Chew worked with this young man on this area.
Another team member was continually frustrated in his ministry. He spent a lot of time with teenage boys in his church in hope of helping them in the Lord. But they were backsliding and slipshod in Bible study. Chew’s words of correction revolutionized the team member’s life: "There are so many people hungry for spiritual help. Why not seek to minister to them instead?"
Because Jimmy Chew had convincingly demonstrated a deep love for the team, he has won the right to correct them when the need arises.
8. Jesus Christ stuck with the Twelve until the last (John 13:1).
One of Chew’s keenest men married a girl who was a young Christian from a Buddhist home. Chew had already seen too many men withdraw from Christian service because their wives didn’t share their zeal to raise up disciples for Christ. A young Christian girl with little exposure to the pricetag on total commitment could hardly be a promising wife for a future laborer in the Great Commission. Although the young man went ahead with the wedding despite adverse counsel, Chew didn’t give up on him. Mrs. Chew prayerfully won the new wife’s heart. She slowly began to build into her life a devotion to the Lord.
Another team member repeatedly "dragged his feet" spiritually. Yet Chew wouldn’t stop trying to help him even when others recommended it. Chew doggedly spent hours and hours prodding this weak link. Finally, after three years of working with him, the student quit the team. And Chew was so disappointed that one would have thought that this team member had shown great promise.
As Jimmy Chew nears the end of his fourth year in Kuala Lumpur, each team member is essentially reproducing the program Chew himself initiated. He has taught them:
– to get to know the Lord by rising early for prayer and Bible meditation; – to trust God with their problems day by day; – to labor in prayer for others; – to apply, what they read in the Bible to their lives in specific ways; – to share the gospel clearly with friends in everyday circumstances; – to follow up a young Christian until he can walk with God on his own-, – to train another Christian in all of the above; – to direct Bible studies, workshops, conferences.
Today each team member has faithful converts who have grown steadily in Bible study, morning devotions, Christian character, and evangelism in their own sphere of influence. For example, one team member leads a Bible study of 15 fellows and also invests hours in seven of them individually on a weekly basis. He remarks, "Jimmy’s time with me has given me a great deal of meaning. I know where I’m headed. I have vision I never had before. I really wonder if I’d be as happy and productive a Christian if Jimmy hadn’t come along. This idea of investing my life in a few men makes the Great Commission so practical. I can give my life to it because it deals with the crux of life: man’s heart."
Jesus commanded us to "make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19). And he demonstrated how to do it. Jimmy Chew has obeyed Christ’s command, using Christ’s methods, achieving Christ’s results: high-caliber disciples trained to multiply themselves.
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