Before I get up on my soapbox and tell you why you need this, let’s recap how far you’ve already come: You’ve developed and deepened your walk with Jesus (Season 1); you’ve learned how to actually live it out among those people you most care about (Season 2); and you’ve begun to discover how God has uniquely built you (Season 3).
Now: How do you take what God’s shown you, and help others walk through the same process?
Call it mentoring, discipling, coaching, or just being a good Christian friend to someone who needs it… after Season 4, you’ll be ready to come alongside anyone who’s ready to have a deeper relationship with Jesus. Just like you in Season 1.
Objectively speaking, I have yet to see another small-group study on the market that addresses this. And again, this is where the American church has failed miserably. Older Christians get plateaued or stuck, and younger Christians are left to flounder and fail—and in both instances, at some point just get up and leave—because a critical point has been overlooked: The people coming in the door and/or just coming to Christ? They need you. And guess what? You need them, too, more than you know. That’s what Growing Others is all about—and why I had to write it. (And why I had to write the whole series, for that matter.)
Think about the people who’ve influenced you the most. Granted, God can use a chance encounter to do something meaningful, but really, the most meaningful encounters most of us will ever have will be with the people we stick it out with over the long haul. Because we experience each other’s highs and lows together, both we and our friends are changed.
Now, put Jesus in the center of those relationships.
When that happens, our relationships take on a character greater than anything we could ever have imagined. And it’s something we’ll want to see happen in every relationship we have. Therefore, in Growing Others we explore how our commitment to Jesus and our commitment to others can come together to become something extraordinary—something that truly glorifies God.
In order to do that, we need to acknowledge what God has already done in our lives—those place where we can say “be imitators of me” (1 Cor. 11:1) and mean it, because we know that we’re not the ones responsible for those changes. It also means learning how to listen—to pay attention to how God’s working in those people we care about—and not only that, but to point it out to them when we see it, because often the last person to see God working in us… is us. We’re here to guide others into what God’s telling them, not steer them into what we think they need.
As we do this, it’s likely that God will stir up something else within us—a desire to grow even more people into the love of Jesus. And that means expanding our circle of influence, maybe even stumble into (and through :)) a leadership role—because if God’s put something on your heart, he wants you to do something about it.
As we step into the mission God’s called us to, we might also be surprised to discover who else God has been calling—but was waiting for us to step out and step up. If we’re willing to make that investment in others, and help them see how they can impact others in the way God’s called them to, there’s no telling how big an impact our little contribution could make. Even if you never see it, that’s OK. God sees it. And so does every person your life has touched, either directly or indirectly.
So in my own small way, I’d like to help address this gaping problem in the church. And in your own small way, I’d like you to help. From there… well, that’s up to you as much as anyone.
In the final two seasons, we’ll explore what it takes to lead others where God wants you and them to go next. Because as you’ve walked through the first four seasons, guess what? You’ve been growing. Others know it. And God is honoring it. So whether you see yourself that way or not, God has matured you to the point where you’re ready to lead. And we’re going to help you get more ready. Stay tuned.