I periodically ask myself, “At the end of my life, what will I wish I had spent my life and time doing?” It’s a sobering question that helps me focus on what matters most.
When it comes to sheer value, very few things we do compete with having a positive and eternal effect on those around us. As a 20-year-old wife and ministry leader, I was eager to learn from older men and women; and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to glean from some amazing people! But I found myself wanting more than mere “accidental” learning.
I wasn’t looking for the perfect person or minister to be my mentor, but I longed for someone with more ministry experience than I had to share wisdom and knowledge with me in an intentional way. I wanted someone who would help me develop my strengths, but would also help me address my weaknesses. I wanted someone who would give me opportunities that would challenge me and help me discover who God had designed me to be—someone who would celebrate my wins, encourage me when I fell flat and help me discover how to get back up again.
I realized in my early 20s that many around me longed for the same thing. So, I made a decision then that holds firm today: I will take every chance I have to stir the hearts of others, to encourage them to dream, to challenge them to take risks; I will offer even the most obscure people opportunities to help them find their wings and soar. Along with this decision, I made a deep commitment to identify men and women to bring alongside me to help them tap into their respective giftings and callings.
I have discovered many treasures over the years. Teenagers from our youth group are now adults who are faithfully serving in ministry; children’s church volunteers are now pastors; interns have started their own ministries.
Jesus beautifully modeled the importance of raising up leaders. He identified others who would walk with Him, allow Him to train them and then be sent out to do what He did. In fact, you and I have received the gospel because Jesus raised up successors who would continue after He left.
Raising up leaders is really not hard, but it must be intentional. It doesn’t require our having “arrived” to some elevated ministry status, but it does require an unwavering commitment to invest our lives and our time into other people for their benefit.
We are surrounded by people every day who are longing for someone to identify their potential and to encourage them to soar to new heights. I hope that you will ask the Lord to help you find those whom you can invite to walk alongside you. As you invest what you’ve received into them, they will learn to do the same for others.
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