By Dick Scoggins
Looking back at my life, I can see that I would never have been able to get to the place in ministry to which God has mercifully brought me without the help of my faithful sponsors. These sponsors have acted as spiritual mentors and dear friends who have showed me what it means to follow Jesus through each phase of the journey. They have poured their lives into mine, training me and partnering with me in ministry. They have opened up opportunities for me to minister and have sacrificially given of their finances and their time for my benefit. The fruit of my ministry is truly the result of these devoted friends who have deeply invested into my life.
In future posts, I will recount the most significant of those relationships and stories of how they sponsored me into my apostolic calling.
Russ: Building Up My Character through Discipleship
I was fortunate that when I first entered the Kingdom of God, I started attending a good church which focused on close, personal discipleship. The man who led me to the Lord, named Hank, introduced me to the older man who was discipling him, named Russ. Russ began to meet with me weekly to help me learn how to walk with God.
Russ recognized that I needed to grow by taking action, not merely by studying the Word, so every week we would meet with people who had visited the church. He started several Bible studies during the 6 months I made these visits with him. A few months later, he encouraged me to start a Bible study with students at Brown University where I was a football coach and had been a graduate student. Before long, scores of students came to faith! I discipled many of them to be leaders as more and more students began joining Bible studies and discipleship groups. Hence, I began sponsoring people just like Russ had sponsored me when I first came to faith.That ministry at Brown went on for nearly a decade—several years after I had finished working there.
Russ also found ways for me to be involved in the local church. After 5 years, the church leadership had seen God’s hand in my life and my fruitful ministry at Brown, and asked me to leave my teaching job so that I could start a new church as the founding pastor.
Summary of Russ’ Sponsorship
Russ was key in showing me how to sponsor others by discipling them, encouraging them, promoting them, even helping to build platforms for them to minister in. He focused more on my character and personhood than on my “ministry skills.” He also opened many doors for me to minister to others. I followed the same pattern with many Brown University students and saw many of them go on to to be used by God in various situations.