Over the years I have known many Christians and seen some grow in God and others seemingly get stuck at certain points in their growth in God. Sadly also I have seen some doing really well for many years and then seem to lose their way.
I have been thinking over the last few days, probably because issues of succession and the next generation are never far from my thoughts. We are only here for a short while. There seems so much to do, so little time to do it. I have been thinking about how people grow in God? What creates a personal internal environment so people develop?
I think people need basically two things: A bit of time with someone who can father them in God. Not always someone old enough to be their father. But someone who is a bit further on than them but who they respect and feel faith and stimulation to hang around with. Just meeting together to pray and chat once a month is a great start it’s not rocket science.
Then they just need to be given some responsibility. I grow more convinced that it does not matter in the early years of our Christian lives what we do by way of serving. What matters is that we are faithful with a little and can be relied upon to do what we have said they will do. This is the stuff of growth. This leads on to be faithful with more.
If someone wants to lead a big church or have some mega ministry (not always a wrong ambition) then they need to start by being faithful with going on the chair rota month by month. There is no short cut. Absolutely none! I even look for people who will volunteer to go on the rota rather than wait to be asked.
By the time Joseph came out of serving others and while in prison at that, he found it had all been training for the day when he would feed a nation and have great authority. Often the bigger the calling the more care and preparation God will put into a person. Think about it God has to trust us with things he asks us to do. He needs to know we are a safe pair of hands.
People also need to be teachable and willing to be changed by the Lord and by those who lead them. Training we used to say in my FYP oversight days was a matter of developing knowledge, character and skills. This I still believe to be true, but in all of this teachability underpins it all. When the chips are down it is often a case of can an individual submit to doing something the way another over them in the Lord wants it done, simply because that person is over them in that area of service.
None of us can have authority until we have learned to be under it. These are massive tests: faithfulness, responsibility, being teachable. No wonder we have few leaders of calibre. Most miss it and go for the glitz trying to bypass being a servant or get fed up being directed by others and go off and create their own ministry. Such a waste!
I love to see people grow in God. I love spending time with people hungry to grow in God. I really do, it feeds my soul. My concern in our fast food age is that many might get impatient with the process God takes them through and impatience for arrival at their destiny might make them miss out on some key things they could have seen and been a part of. I have seen too many wrecks over the years. It breaks the heart.
By Mike Betts