If you'd anticipated young Timothy among the relationships Sweet says is essential, you'd have been right. Relationship #4 is that of a protege. Sweet begins with a quote from one of his own mentors. "A healthy sycamore tree is a tree with heirs...a sycamore community with trees in various stages of growth and development...Always look for a trees successors before you judge its health and vitality." (p 79)
A Timothy is one who follows in the footsteps of those who have gone before. Jesus gives us a mission of making disciples. It's pretty clear that the church is to replicate itself. And leaders in the church should also replicate themseleves, their gifts, and their knowledge, for the common good of the Church. Sadly, this rarely happens. In fact, Sweet maintains "...most Timothys want to be clones, not heirs" (82). I would add that many churches want clones of their leaders, rather than heirs for future generations.
Timothys should be allowed to take a song that once worked and create a guitar riff, add a drum roll, or create space for a saxaphone solo. It's a song they learned from mentors. But because of the modifications, it becomes their song. How many times do we hear in the church, "But we've never done it THAT way"? I would say we've heard it much more than once or twice.
A Timothy knows how important it is to listen. Jesus says over and over again, "Let those with ears hear." Having an ear drum vibrate doesn't always equate to hearing. Not everyone can be a Timothy. A Timothy has healthy ears.
It's important to note that to have a Timothy - to leave your legacy to another - is to recognize you've been a Timothy yourself.
What are your thoughts on the Protege relationship? Is their someone you've taken the baton from? Someone you're influencing so that eventually you'll be able to pass the baton to them?
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