Operation Timothy – Making Disciples 50 Years

Newton Fairweather Pastor, Faith and Joy Church and CBMC Fort Lauderdale Board Chaplin

According to THE CONNECTOR newsletter (Winter 2022, pg.3), “Fifty years ago, CBMC began to undergo what would amount to a seismic shift in its focus and strategies for taking the good news of Jesus Christ to the Marketplace. Over the first 40 years of ministry, CBMC had concentrated almost exclusively on evangelism, presenting the gospel message to masses in some of the nation’s largest cities, before narrowing its scope to business and professional men. However, a key element of Jesus’ Great Commission – making disciples – was not being addressed.”

The CBMC mission statement is, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20). Through living out its mission, the newsletter states, “CBMC was finding success in seeing people become converts to faith in Christ but lacked a plan for assisting them in becoming fruitful disciples.”

However, that change in 1970 when Joe Coggeshall along with Pete George helped develop what is now called “Operation Timothy.” “The title was inspired by 2 Timothy 2:2, in which the apostle Paul exhorted Timothy, “And the things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

“This single verse, Joe Coggeshall explained, described a model for spiritual reproduction, showing four generations of believers – Paul, Timothy, ‘faithful men’ and ‘others’” (The Connector, Winter 2022, pg. 3).

Over the years Operation Timothy has undergone many changes in its teaching material, which now includes reproduction in multiple languages in the digital form, and availability on many platforms. The one thing that has not change is the spirit of Operation Timothy, which is teaching men to carry out the great commission, one person at a time.

Recently I sat down with the area Director of CBMC, Steve Solomon, to get his input on how CBMC – Operation Timothy has evolved over the years. 

 

operation timothy
Newton Fairweather, Desmond Madumetja Ratsoma, Steve Solomon and Robin Sibuisco Bhebhe

What is the main focus of Operation Timothy in 2022?

Solomon: Operation Timothy is a progressive study to help businessmen grow spiritually. Through one-on-one mentoring (based on the Paul and Timothy model), men are equipped to live a life of purpose. The next step is to develop these men to step out and reproduce and take on another businessman to bring through the program.

 

What are some of the things that the young professionals had to say about Operation Timothy?

Solomon: Through Operation Timothy, young professionals have been able to grow spiritually in their walk with God while integrating their faith at work, family and church. As one young professional put it, “I no longer leave my faith and walk with God on Sunday but continue on Monday and throughout the week at work.”

 

What are some of the ways that CBMC has grown because of Operation Timothy?

Solomon: CBMC South Florida has grown from three groups in July 2018 to 45+ groups in January 2022 with Operation Timothy at the foundation of the growth. In 2021 even through the Covid pandemic, 140+ men went through the program with a goal of 250 in 2022. The volunteer leaders that went through Operation Timothy have helped CBMC reach the Marketplace for Christ…our Mission. We could not be this advanced without the core of developed businessmen leaders.

 

My Story – Paul

Does Operation Timothy work? I’ll let you answer that question after I tell you about my experience: The world we live in has many challenges. Yet the work of the great commission must continue. Every Operation Timothy will be different because of what a “Paul and Timothy” brings to the table, which is a history that is not the same. I was first asked to do Operation Timothy by the CBMC area director Steve Solomon. Steve is a persistent guy. For over a year he would ask me, and I would decline. I had a ton of excuses, legit as they were, he kept asking. I don’t know what happen, but after much deliberation, one day I said yes. It took another three months before I became a “Paul” to a “Timothy,” who lives in South Africa. I had prepared myself well by reading over the CBMC Timothy plan. The material was excellent and there were areas where I could add a little personal touch to the format. 

Lesson number one never judge a book by its cover. A lesson I thought I had learned over the years, but I had not learned enough. This experience turned out to be truly “iron sharpening iron.” This Timothy, named Robin, was a young professional. One who loved the Lord and wanted to learn. We started this journey over six months ago and there is still time left before we cross the finish line. I must say that I have learned as much from Robin as he has learned from me.

 

His Story – Timothy

operation timothyRecently Robin and his business partner had an opportunity to travel to New York to expand their personal business in South Africa. During their travel they intentionally planned a visit to CBMC in Fort Lauderdale to meet some of the faces they have been talking to by Zoom. Before his visit, I asked Robin to answer a few questions about Operation Timothy and his experience thus far:

 

How did you learn about CBMC?

 

Robin: Through INcontext International (www.incontextinternational.org), a non-profit Christian organization involved in missions around the world. I’ve volunteered for the organization since 2015, traveling to Egypt and Uganda with them.

 

How did you learn about Operation Timothy?

Robin: Initially, I browsed CBMC’s website and learned a bit about Operation Timothy. Then I reached out to CBMC, and that’s how I came into contact with Steve Solomon. God had definitely laid in my heart at the time the need for a spiritual mentor. Steve immediately invited me to join some of the Bible study groups.

 

What has Impressed you the most about Operation Timothy?

Robin: The quality of the material. It challenged me to think and seek to go deeper in my relationship with God as everything goes back to exactly that, your personal relationship with God. Whether one is dealing with Purpose, Work, Relationships, Family, the starting point for all, it is the same.

 

You indicated you would like to use this to mentor some of the young professionals you know in your country. Why?

Robin: Quoting scripture, not sure of the verse exactly, “but to whom much is given, much will be required of him.” The knowledge, wisdom and relationships gained through CBMC are definitely not for me alone. I know and understand the responsibility God has laid on me, and I’m honored to be entrusted by Him with such a responsibility. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it is that you learn more outside the classroom. When you teach others what you’ve learned, that’s when the rubber really hits the road. 

 

As a young professional how does the content of Operation Timothy help you in your day-to-day life?

Robin: Being able to guard your heart, mind and soul with God’s word is important because what you let in continually shapes your perspective. In short, the content in Operation Timothy is a reminder to walk through life seeing things from God’s perspective.

 

In the spirit of Paul, I believe Operation Timothy can be summarized by this scripture: “We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working” (1 Corinthians 3:6b-8 MSG).

 

To check out other programs and to connect with CBMC, go to our national website: www.cbmc.com or contact Steve Solomon, Area Director of CBMC South Florida at [email protected] or 954-805-0351.

 

Newton Fairweather is the pastor of Faith and Joy Church and the CBMC Fort Lauderdale Board Chaplin.

Read last month’s article by Newton Fairchild at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/out-of-one-many/

 

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