Before Sharing About Discipleship

  1. Pray and study the material on Discipleship. Ask God to give you a fresh perspective on His command to make disciples of all nations. As you study, you may ask your pastor or Victory group leader for any questions that might arise as you go through the Scriptures.
  2. Pray for the person you will meet. Pray that they will also catch the vision and the heart of God for every person on earth, as they have experienced it themselves.
  3. You may prepare the person you’re leading for the activity you will do in this chapter by asking them to recall their life before meeting Christ, when they met Him, and how their life is continually being transformed day by day.

While Sharing About Discipleship

  1. From the outside perspective, our movement can be very attractive with all the lights, setups, buildings, or even the social media presence we have. But we want new followers of Christ to know that we exist for two main reasons: “To honor God and make disciples.” This is the heart that we want to pass on: that we live primarily for God and for His mission. The aesthetics of the church buildings and the online content serve only as tools to accomplish the mission.
  2. You may ask the person how and when they first heard the gospel. This will be a good stirring ground for you to help them see that there are many ways to reach the lost, whether that be in simple conversations, in active listening, or even in sharing a tidbit of the truth on social media that can lead to a deeper discussion.
  3. If they’re already doing ONE 2 ONE with someone, ask them how the journey is going and how you can help them better lead the person to Jesus Christ.
  4. Present an example of how to do the two-minute miracle. Some people have a hard time or are too shy to witness right away. That’s okay. It will help to ask them to write their two-minute miracle so they can better construct their words and have them practice with you on your next meet-up.

After Sharing About Discipleship

  1. Although we have already made it clear that discipleship is not an event or a series of chapters confined in a booklet, it would be good to remind the new disciple that they are now in a relationship with Christ and that the Church will continue to help them grow to be the person God has called them to be.
  2. Remember, discipleship is the way we do life. So, although you’re done with ONE 2 ONE, this is just the beginning. As a leader, it is your due diligence to grow in your relationship with Jesus and help others to follow Him.
  3. Be creative on how you will maintain your relationship with the person you’re leading. Discipleship doesn’t just happen inside a Zoom room or over coffee while we’re going through the ONE 2 ONE booklet, but even in the mundane things in our everyday life. What are the ways you can intentionally teach them to apply all that God has commanded us?
  4. Ask the Holy Spirit to continually give you and the person you’re leading a shepherd’s heart that you two may intentionally see where other people are and for Him to increase your heart of compassion for the lost.

Other articles in this series:

  1. Back to Basics: Preparing, Sharing, and Closing a Conversation about Salvation.
  2. Back to Basics: Preparing, Sharing, and Closing a Conversation about Lordship.
  3. Back to Basics: Preparing, Sharing, and Closing a Conversation about Repentance.
  4. Back to Basics: Preparing, Sharing, and Closing a Conversation about Baptism.
  5. Back to Basics: Preparing, Sharing, and Closing a Conversation about Devotion.
  6. Back to Basics: Preparing, Sharing, and Closing a Conversation about the Church.

Before Sharing About the Church

  1. Pray and study the material. Take note of some questions that might arise as you go through Scripture and ask your pastors or Victory group leader about them.
  2. Pray for the person you will meet and ask the Holy Spirit to help him or her grasp God’s purpose for the church community.

While Sharing About the Church

  1. You can begin by asking the person how they are doing in terms of connecting with others (whether face-to-face or online during this pandemic). 
  2. As you go through the Friendship section of the material, you may cite some examples of how we can negatively influence each other today. Things such as online bullying, cheating on online activities or exams, peer pressure, addiction, pornography, etc. can become habits anyone can easily fall into, since “everyone’s doing it.” We want to redirect the ones we disciple to the Lordship of Jesus in all areas of their lives, including their relationships.
  3. Emphasize the importance of walking with other believers. Share your testimony on how the church community helped you grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ.
  4. A new believer coming to church might find the way we “worship” on our weekend services a bit weird or too much for them especially if they’ve never joined one before. You may orient them on why we raise our hands, sing songs, and what true worship is according to the Bible.
  5. Consider also that many students came from families that made it a “habit” to “go to church” as part of their family tradition. While keeping that tradition has benefited them in that they regularly hear God’s word, this is a great time for you to emphasize why we join worship services and the difference from what most of us grew up to know.

After Sharing About the Church

  1. Research in one megachurch in America found that the reason many students fall out of their faith after graduating from college was primarily due to a lack of connection to a local church community. They did fine when they were students and joined youth groups. But once they transitioned out as young professionals, they get disconnected. Since we know that discipleship is a lifetime journey and commitment, let’s remind graduating students about the value of being connected to a local church, and help them get connected to one nearer to their new jobs, if possible, or to one they can grow with.
  2. Create ways for them to be connected to a few other people in the local church through simple hangouts, and encourage them to be involved in the life of the church community by volunteering. 
  3. Commit to sit next to them during weekend services or do a watch party with other students while they’re still getting acquainted with their new community.
  4. Encourage them to create a list of at least 3 friends they will pray for and preach the gospel to. Pray that they get to experience getting connected alongside others to a local church. 

Before Sharing About Devotion

  1. Pray as you study the chapter on Devotion. As you go through the Scriptures, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see how powerful the word of God has been since the beginning of time.
  2. Desire that as God transforms your heart, He will also stir hunger in every person you will share the word of God to.
  3. Pray for the person you will meet and ask them if they already own a Bible. A physical Bible is always the best, but another option is a Bible app.
  4. Ask them to download the English Standard Version, New Living Translation, or New American Standard Bible that are mostly used by our pastors and leaders during worship services. This will help them follow through and locate Scriptures when they are listening to sermons or while you are sharing in your Victory group.

While Sharing About Devotion

  1. Ask the person to read the Scriptures in the chapter.
  2. You may share your own experience in encountering God through His word.
  3. You may also point out the difference between inspirational talk or quotes and the authority of God’s word over our lives.
  4. Speak of the joy of fellowship we have in spending undisturbed and unhurried time with God. You can illustrate this with how close friendships develop from being complete strangers: it’s grown through constant communication and quality time together.
  5. As we teach them about praying to God, you may encourage them to create a prayer list they can use as a guide. This may include concerns about their personal and family life, their community, campus, the nation, and even the rest of the world.

After Sharing About Devotion

  1. The Personal Application will lead you to ask them about forgiving others. Take that time to find opportunities to further minister. Don’t hesitate to go back to the Scriptures you two went through in the previous chapters.
  2. Help them jumpstart their habit of diving into the word and in prayer. You can point them to easy-to-follow Bible Reading plans or devotional plans in apps.
  3. You may also suggest books that will help them grow in their spiritual disciplines, such as Habits of Grace by David Mathis or Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton.
  4. Set up a date for your next meeting with them. Pray for God to establish them in His word.
  5. Are they connected to a Victory group yet? Encourage them to join our church community so they can also experience studying the word and praying with others.

As I was reading the book of Ephesians, I noticed how Paul emphasized Christ’s fullness and greatness, and the magnificence of His glory.

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Ephesians 1:3–6 (NIV)

I can’t help but wonder if Paul started his letter with Christ’s fullness because the church was going through some sort of lack. Maybe it’s through love, forgiveness, perseverance, humility, kindness, or perhaps, wholehearted devotion to God that a Christian can withstand any temptation or suffering. 

Ephesus in Paul’s time was an esteemed city and a place of trade. It’s where the great Temple of Artemis was built, which the people worshiped and took pride in. Idol worship was highly promoted in society that even those who came to know Christ fell into various temptations, deceit, and compromises.

If we watch closely, we realize that the place and the quality of our lives often affect our values, worldview, and behavior.

Many of us can relate with the struggle of being immersed in a society that doesn’t fully recognize Jesus as Lord and where values and culture contradict His truth. At times, there comes the fear of missing out on what our friends freely enjoy, knowing that as Christians, we have values that contradict certain lifestyles and cultures.

Often, our character and faith are tested by difficult circumstances, like the challenges our families face, the issues in our hearts, and the messiness of our society and world. These things can choke our faith and tempt us to let our spiritual guard down and give in to our emotions or desires.

But for us who have heard, learned about, and surrendered ourselves to Christ, who are we and to whom do we belong?

We are chosen by God to be filled with every spiritual blessing in Christ, and called to live holy and blameless lives.

Like the believers in Ephesus, we can live lives that reflect the truth of Jesus, regardless of the norms, trends, or culture around us. We can be who God called us to be even while we experience pain, pressure, or disappointments, because Christ lives in us.

When we’re running out of compassion, respect, love, forgiveness, or grace toward others, let’s remember that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, which includes the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23) that overrides our old ways.

When we’re tempted to sin and our will to obey is failing, let’s remember the freedom that Jesus obtained for us. We’re no longer obliged to give in to sin because Christ has set us free. 

When our faith is challenged and our hope is growing dim, let’s remember Christ’s steadfastness and the hope He gives (Hebrews 6:19). When we long for love from people, remember that God loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) and that this love enables us to love others as well (1 John 4:19).

This is who we are: People who are being renewed each day until we become fully like Jesus.

The renewal of our inner self comes with the joy and privilege of being adopted as sons and daughters of God through Christ according to His pleasure, will, and His glorious grace.

Imagine the beauty of adoption. A child is no longer abandoned, but has finally found a home, a new name, and a wonderful future. This is what Christ did for us.

Our old lives have been undone. Our past no longer affects our present and future. Our relationship with Him has granted us a new identity and a new citizenship. We now carry His name in our lives, and we’re no longer just citizens of this world.+

Our home is now in Christ. We belong to Him.

We may be living in a broken world, trapped in a fallen nature, but we are made alive in Christ and are being transformed each day.

As citizens of God’s kingdom, it is our mission to be His hands and feet to the harrassed, helpless, and needy. It is our calling to defend the poor and the oppressed, and to speak up for those who cannot speak. It is our moral duty to be the salt and light of the world. But in our quest to fulfill this mission, we bear in mind God’s glorious redemptive plan for the world, and that our ultimate calling is to lead people into the kingdom of God by making disciples of Christ.

How will you now reflect this in your daily life?

Before Sharing about Baptism

  1. Pray and study the material on Baptism.
  2. Ask questions and go through them with your pastor or Victory Group leader.
  3. Take note that some people have a certain notion about water baptism. Some equate it as a ceremony to officiate one’s membership into a church. But we have to go back to what the Scripture clearly says and does not say about water baptism. You may study and research this culture if you want to know more.
  4. Have faith that the Holy Spirit will move in the person and cause transformation.

While Sharing about Baptism

  1. You may ask if they have already been water baptized before, especially if they came from a Christian family. If they say yes, ask them if they were aware of why they went through it. But whether or not they had a biblical basis, it’s a great day to be reminded of why water baptism is a natural response to the gospel.
  2. Because we live in a nation where it is believed that water baptism is a ceremony to officiate one’s Christianity, we must emphasize that salvation is through Christ alone. You may also review the chapter on Salvation to realign them to the word.
  3. Emphasize the heart behind the water baptism—Christ’s death and resurrection that makes it possible for us to die to sin and be raised to a new life.
  4. In sharing about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, it would be very helpful to focus on the purpose of why we are empowered. While our own experiences with water baptism and baptism of the Holy Spirit must have been very exciting and awesome, it would be helpful for the new disciple to know that the Holy Spirit is present in our lives to help us live faithful and purposeful lives. You may give a short testimony of what you experienced, but point out examples of how the Holy Spirit has empowered you in your personal life and as you make disciples.

After Sharing about Baptism

  1. If the student’s parents refuse to allow them to get water baptized because of their own beliefs, we’re in no place to force the students but instead, we can teach them to pray for their parents to have a change of heart and to be open to the gospel.
  2. Ask the person if they have any questions about what you talked about. If you don’t know the answer, it’s okay. Let them know that you will get back to them after you ask your leader or your pastor. Make sure you follow through.
  3. As you pray for the person, have faith that the Holy Spirit can empower that person’s life even if you two are not in a Victory Weekend setting.
  4. Set up a date for your next meeting.
  5. Message them throughout the week and ask how they were able to continually encounter the Holy Spirit during their own time in prayer.

Before Sharing About Repentance

  1. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom, boldness, and power to speak the truth in love to the person you are discipling.
  2. Study the material and dive into Scripture. Take note, ask questions, and find answers in the word. As you study, ask your pastor or Victory group leader about any questions you may have.
  3. Pray that God would ready the person’s heart and for the Holy Spirit to teach you what to speak as you converse with the person.
  4. The goal is for people to go back to God and only He can do that redirection, so be patient with the process. You may need to talk about repentance over and over again as you journey with the person, and that’s okay.

While Sharing About Repentance

  1. Observe your tone. Speak in truth, but don’t forget about love—love that is not passive or compromises in any way, but that is patient, kind, and embraces the whole truth of Scripture.
  2. As we begin to touch on the area of sin, regrets, and unforgiveness, there may be times when the person will tell you a long history of what happened to them. Don’t be in a hurry to go through the material but listen, pay attention, and take a genuine interest in their life. Ask questions and take mental notes of their struggles, so that you may continually help them in their journey.
  3. Always redirect your conversation to Jesus and who He is in that person’s life and situation.
  4. Ask the person to read the Scriptures in this chapter.
  5. While we long to establish a good relationship with the people we’re leading, remember that you are an ambassador for Christ—our loyalty is to Christ. How will this affect the way we speak truth, especially if the one we’re leading is a close friend or relative? We are put in a person’s life to help them see Christ’s truth. Our empathy toward someone should not lead us to compromise or be passive in any way.

After Sharing About Repentance

  1. If in any case that the person’s struggle is the same as yours and you feel like it’s too early  in your own journey to lead someone with the same issue, it’s wise to talk to your pastor or Victory group leader about it and assess together if you’ll simply need accountability or if you have to ask someone else to lead them. Don’t get frustrated, but be reminded that we are all a work in progress in Christ.
  2. Go through the Personal Application and find an opportunity to further minister to that person. What attribute of God can you share with them as you discover the root of their heart issues?
  3. Ask them to pray over whatever issue the Holy Spirit revealed to them at that moment. Agree with them in prayer. Then, pray over them.
  4. Set a date for your next meeting.
  5. Include them in your prayers and message them to ask how they’re doing. Build a genuine relationship with them and take interest in whatever it is they’re up to.

Before Sharing about Lordship

  1. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you in sharing about what it means to make Jesus our Lord. Allow Him to remind you of His faithfulness in your own journey towards trusting the Lord and submitting to Him your own life.
  2. Study the Lordship material and take time to revisit the Scriptures. Allow God’s word to minister to you as you study. You can also ask your pastor or Victory Group leader questions that might arise as you spend time in the word.
  3. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a listening ear, a compassionate heart, and boldness to speak over whatever God will reveal in the person’s life that needs to be submitted under Christ’s Lordship.

While Sharing about Lordship

  1. Have you noticed that the world’s culture is growing more and more into extreme individualism? “You do you! Follow your heart! You can be whatever you want to be. Do what makes you happy!” However, these worldly philosophies fall short in truly dealing with problems in our society and personal relationships, because they are eventually revealed to be self-serving. These lead to broken relationships, anxiety, and misery for us, for our families, and for our community. It is only with a changed heart—fully trusting and surrendered to God—that we get a shot at reconciliation. Because of this, how important is it for us to help people realign their convictions to God’s commands—all His commands? How important is it for people to know that Jesus makes the final call? Jesus Christ is the only one who knows the way to true peace, and it is only in surrendering to Him and following Him that can we truly love God and obey Him, as well as love others and live a selfless life that would help heal relationships and communities.
  2. It would also help for us to share a testimony about how we realized Jesus’ Lordship could help people know that we’re all in the process of surrendering our whole life to Jesus. We can be witness to the truth that following Jesus will always cost us something, but as we do, God’s grace is there to help us through. We can also share the breakthrough we experienced in our relationship with God and with others because of a life submitted to Him. Before you share, ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom to highlight Jesus’ work in your life more than your past or your struggles.
  3. Go through the Personal Application with the person carefully and use that time to minister to them. Give them enough space to open up and if they choose not to, that’s okay. We don’t force people. Remember, we disciple the heart, we diligently plant and water with God’s word, we pray for them, and we build a relationship with them. And our faith is that one day, we will see them grow to be the people God called them to be.

After Sharing about Lordship

  1. Before praying for them, ask them if there’s anything that the Lord revealed to them at that moment that needs to be submitted under His Lordship. Ask them to pray and seek God for help as they surrender their lives, and agree with them in prayer.
  2. Remember, embracing Jesus’ Lordship is a lifetime process. Be patient, don’t give up, choose to have compassion, and honor people as God sees them—loved and sought after. And because it’s a journey, you may also find opportunities to revisit what you two have discussed and see how they’re currently responding to God about it.
  3. Set a date for your next meeting with them.
  4. Pray and check in on them throughout the week. If they’re not yet connected to a church community, you can also invite them to join a Victory Group or attend a youth service and weekend worship service.
  5. In between your meetups, you may also ask God to give you a Scripture that will help them as they start walking a life of faith.

Before Sharing about Salvation

  1. Pray and tap on the power of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to be an effective witness to the person you’re going to meet. Regardless of how long we have been doing ONE 2 ONE with others, we believe that it is God who appoints the time and readiness of the person, and we need His power to intervene with us as we share the gospel.
  2. Study and revisit the Scriptures. See if you also have questions and ask the Holy Spirit to help you answer them. You may also discuss them with your pastor or Victory group leader. 
  3. Pray that God will ready the heart of the person you will meet and that they may receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

While Sharing about Salvation

  1. While the Scripture is filled with encouraging words to help a person in their struggles and pains, we must remember that the end goal of the message of salvation should open our eyes and be aware of where we are as sinners and our need for a Savior. Although we can witness God’s kingdom in various ways, salvation is given to us through Christ. No matter how good or how knowledgeable we think we are, we stand as sinners under His mercy and grace.
  2. Since it’s common to believe that being “good” will save a person, it would also be helpful to know the person’s insight about it. Do they believe that their good works are enough? Do they believe that it’s through believing in Christ and doing good works? But what does Scripture say about our salvation?
  3. Speak with love and compassion. Let your sharing be conversational. It would also be a good start to ask the person to read the Bible verses out loud as we go through the material with them.

After Sharing about Salvation 

  1. Don’t forget to invite the person to a prayer for salvation. If you think they did not take it seriously, it’s okay. God’s invitation is not only for a day. Just like He does with us, He will transform the heart of the person day by day, from glory to glory. Just keep walking with them and continually share about God.
  2. Always remember that it’s only God who knows if the person truly received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But we are called to continually teach the new disciples to “obey everything [God has] commanded you” (Matthew 28:20) and help them be faithful followers of Jesus.
  3. Set your next meeting with them and pray. Throughout the week, you can also ask how they’re doing and if they have any questions.

“Once you cast the vision, you need to also be fired up with it. Are you sharing the heart of God to do it? Or are you just sharing the job?”

This was Ruchel’s final question for us during our mentoring session with her: “Are you sharing the heart of God?” This question kept me from going any further in my mentoring notes as I look back on what we talked about.

When I started leading, I’ve had months when I created unnecessary pressure in me. The pressure to prove that I can run as “fast” as others, be as “strong” as others, and that “I” can also grow a ministry. I felt the pressure to prove that I can handle what’s been handed to me and not disappoint my leaders. Because of this, I pushed myself to be better, observing other leaders, reading books, and doing things I’m not comfortable with. I pushed myself well enough but with the wrong motivation; I soon found myself frustrated. Many of my plans and visions did not flourish. I found that it takes more than my own will to move people in the same direction. I need the supernatural move of God.

“Wrong thoughts will cause us to be disappointed.” 

—Ruchel Alegre

If I kept going with this mindset, I now know that I am bound to fail further sooner or later, and I would have exhausted the people running with me.

What are your realizations as a leader?

What are the things you could have done better in the past months if only you had a healthier mindset?

In all the activities, one-on-one talks, and meeting the people you’re leading, are you “sharing the heart of God”?

As I reviewed our time with Ruchel, an important question came to mind:

In my pursuit of raising next-generation leaders, based on my actions, thoughts, and decisions, what arises as my actual priority: their hands or their hearts? 

Leadership in a sense requires a person to fulfill a role well, the world will put in the position those who are able, those who are talented, and those who have wit and grit to bring an organization to greater heights. If we’re not careful, we might find ourselves pursuing to be better in one aspect of leadership and failing on what’s vital—the posture of our hearts. After all, are we just leaders?

No, we are spiritual leaders called by God to be catalysts of change in a decaying world, empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring people into obedience to the faith we profess.

They say that it’s not talent that makes a person successful; it’s grit—the firmness of mind, the ability to rise even after many failures. But even grit can only go so far. You can be the best project manager, event coordinator, communications team leader, graphic designer, and the best musician or singer in our movement. You may be the most popular student president on your campus and you may have had many projects that benefited your school. You can be the most talented and well-experienced person, but even Jesus did not change the world through grandiosity.

While leaders of society conceitedly looked at themselves, Jesus on the other hand walked in the villages, conversed with people about the kingdom of God, healed the sick, performed miracles, fed the thousands, and looked on the crowds with compassion. Jesus saw that the people were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

If Jesus looked on authority as other leaders did, He probably would have taken advantage of His growing popularity and the gifts He had. He probably wouldn’t bother to die on the cross for us or have even empowered His disciples to continue with the mission.

Jesus had a lot of potential; after all, He is God. But He came with a mission to pursue the heart of His Father. He embraced His Father’s purpose.

When other leaders sought for position and authority, Jesus saw the people. He knew God’s heart for the crowds. He saw their broken state and their need of a Savior, hope, food, shelter, healing, and miracle. Jesus was able to see the people’s greatest need. So He fed them, visited their sick, healed their diseases, proclaimed the kingdom of God, forgave their sins, invited the outcast to dine with Him, and came to those who were waiting for miracles on the streets. Jesus gave hope to the hopeless and redeemed us who are lost.

Ruchel advised us, “You will not last in this ministry if you just know the skills.” 

When we come to think of it, the disciples Jesus left on earth and even those that have become martyrs of the faith, who gave their lives and risked everything to make disciples and raise leaders were able to do so because they caught Jesus’ heart. Their tasks were only subjective to their unique situations. But their hearts beat the same.

This passion enabled these men and women to embrace hardship and persecutions, hunger, loss, danger, and even death. They were willing to forsake their own lives for the cross, living uncomfortable lives, radically proclaiming the gospel to the world. They persevered and were wholeheartedly committed to the cause of Christ. They forgave those who persecuted them, because they say people with eyes of faith know that the world is the way it is because it needs saving.

I’d like to ask us the same question that Ruchel asked our group: What kind of leaders are we raising today? How would our leaders value their privilege to lead if they knew their identity, their purpose, and the heart behind what we’re doing? How will their ownership look like if they were reminded that they are not just servants, but are sons and daughters of God? How will all our leadership look like if we daily position our lives to catch the heart of God?

May the motivation of our heart as we lead be like Jesus’—embracing the mission and heart of our Father in heaven to redeem the lost and see the kingdom of God here on earth. 

For the past weeks, I had the privilege of talking with leaders in our movement who have been pursuing their call for many years. I entered the School of Campus Ministry thinking that I will learn a lot about strategies and the step-by-step instructions of how to lead. But the more I converse with these seasoned leaders, the more I realize that leadership isn’t solely about being good at growing an organization. Growing our leadership skills is also essential. However, we are called to make disciples of all nations, so God’s way of starting and enriching that journey remains the same—through relationships

I had the privilege of talking with Pastor Jenson Naceno and no matter what question I had, every answer led to this principle: Leadership is relationship

First, relationship with God.

The weight of our leadership responsibility could easily crush us if we don’t understand that the mission is not about us. We are commissioned, sent to take part in the mission. But the initiator and the one who wills and causes all things to succeed from time past until now is God. Like everyone else, we all have the temptation to fall into two things: sin and self-sufficiency

I strongly believe that our calling is one of the most powerful revealers of character and refining tools God will use to chisel us to be the masterpiece He meant us to be. We’re not in a leadership position because we have proven ourselves to have achieved perfection. But like the apostle Paul we are still in the process of straining toward the goal of becoming like Christ. We still feel tensions from within, the push and pull in our hearts, and the fight to choose obedience at all times.

Pastor Jenson reminded us that we are no longer just responsible for ourselves, but our actions and choices will also affect others. This is why as leaders, it’s important that we watch our personal walk with God with all diligence so that we avoid compromise or falling into sin. Our first responsibility is our personal response to God about matters of our hearts. 

When we fail to look at God, we resolve to look at ourselves. We look to ourselves for answers and strategies. Without God as Lord over our plans, we deceive ourselves into thinking that we are in charge and the success of our ministries depends on us. What a false and dangerous self-assurance.

Second, relationship with others. 

We will all at some point be tempted to prove ourselves and to look at our position. Could it be that the pressure you’re feeling today is actually rooted in the desire to prove something? Pastor Jenson reminded us of the importance of having relationships with people who will not be afraid to be honest with us and who we can be vulnerable with. We need to ask and give people the permission to speak into our lives—to build us up; comfort, refresh, and affirm us; and also, point out anything that has the potential to destroy us. We’ve heard it before, we need to be accountable to someone. But we were also reminded that Accountability is not demanded; it is sought.”

Pressure can also blind us at some degree. When we let it take over our hearts, we start to become numb and eventually we lose sight of what truly matters. We start to look at people as numbers, checklists, phases, and eventually we lose touch with God’s compassion. But people are people. They are valuable because Christ died for them. 

When asked about how to effectively raise leaders, Pastor Jenson didn’t talk about strategies. Through him, we were reminded that in order to raise leaders, we must be able to speak into their lives. To build leaders, we must first have relationships with them, be a shepherd to them, invest time and effort, and journey with them. Hear from God about what He is doing in their lives, and make sure that we’re walking in step with Him. Know where they are in life, sit down, pause, pay attention, and listen to their stories. Love them well. 

When was the last time we enjoyed the privilege of having them in our lives and sat with them to enjoy the moment without any “leadership agenda”? 

When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:36

Let’s be faithful to God and be diligent with what’s been entrusted to us. Let’s be a shepherd to a flock we’re called to lead and seek His will at all times. Let’s be willing to learn, be humble, and watch the way of our Shepherd who has great compassion for us all.