– Dr. Derrick Mueller
Love for Christ grows when it is shared. Over the years, a journey has been unfolding of lives being changed, new initiatives, stories of impacts, and emerging leaders. The visionof the ministry has not changed—though the methods, the people, and the culture have—but as an organization, we continue in our vision to see people come to Christ. As we develop together, we can increase our impact and ministry in Canada and around the world.
Every person in our ministry is a leader. Each person has the capacity to effectively grow as a leader and be engaged in leadership. It’s not about position; it is about surrender. This capacity for leadership can be developed if we are intentional in recognizing our own gifts, talents, and passions as well as recognizing them in others.
Development as an individual, member, chapter, and as an organization requires that we embrace change. Change begins with us envisioning what is possible with Christ, then actively initiating the changes in our daily routines, on our grid.
The Growing Process: Four Stages of Change
This model for us as a community of volunteers, members, and ambassadors will help us grow in the next stage of our journey. It is an attitude that seeks to bear fruit. The model gives a framework and even a practical theology for strengthening our witness, our chapters, and our personal influence within the communities that we minister.
1. Envisioning Growth
The first stage of growth involves picturing and planning. Growing personally and in our chapters begins with a picture of what can be. That is the dream—the big idea, the preferred reality or the vision of what God can do through us. It is asking God to light our path (Psalm 119:130). Godly leaders are men and woman of the book, knowing that the unfolding of the Word gives light (Psalm 119:130). Planning follows the picturing stage as we map out the steps necessary to achieve the big picture. Planning is your roadmap to success. It is what you will trust God to do. We plan the way we want to live, but God makes us able to live it (Proverbs 16:9). As leaders, we acknowledge that everything fits and works into God’s plan (Job 25:2). God does have a plan for our life and those we work with. Picture and planning help envision possible change.
2. Initiating Growth
The second stage of growth involves plowing and planting. Plowing is all the preparation, training, and coaching necessary to achieve the preferred picture. We plow with an expectation of growth (1 Corinthians 9:10). Plowing makes ready the ground, and it begins with allowing God to work in our unplowed hearts (Jeremiah 4:3-4). Farmers just don’t plow but they plant (Isaiah 28:24-29). Planting is a ministry of incarnation in the way it requires a seed, out of which life grows. Those who sow generously reap generously (2 Corinthians 9:6). Whether at home or work, we will reap what we sow (Gal 6:7). What we as leaders’ plant we will harvest. Plant righteousness and reap love (Hosea 10:12). Plowing and planting help us initiate change and growth.
3. Managing Growth
The third stage of growth involves protecting and pruning. To protect is to insure an environment where people can grow. It supports, cares, and advocates for those you lead. We as leaders can know that we can find refuge in the shadow of his wings (Ps 36:7). God’s huge outstretched arms protect us (Ps 91:4). Our example is Christ who thought we worth dying for (Acts 20:28). As leaders, we provide an atmosphere and culture where people feel safe. Pruning goes the next step and gives direct hands on input and evaluation into the others life and performance. Pruning encourages and reshapes growth. As leaders we not only speak into the lives of others with love but we allow God to take the pruning shears to our lives so we can be reshaped (Romans 11:21). Protecting and pruning helps manage and sustain change in our lives, relationships, and businesses and keeps the process of growing intact.
4. Actualizing Growth
The final stage of growth is pollinating and propagating. Pollinating is a collaborative approach to accomplishing tasks and developing personnel. It is about otherness, community, and networking. Loving others as we love God. It is all about the power of working together through teams. Propagating is all about the outcome—multiplication and reproduction, and bearing good fruit as disciples. In John 15:8, Jesus says, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
Great leaders produce fruit! They allow God to transform them and shepherd and guide others with an “agape,” or divine love. Growing leaders intentionally develop other leaders; the master gardener shapes us so we can shape others. As godly leaders, we produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8-10). It is the stage of growth that bears fruit. Pollinating and propagating help actualize and multiply change in our lives. We realize how fruit sees lives changed, impacting communities and the people on our daily grid.
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8)
In summary, growth comes as we intentionally envision what we can be, initiate steps to achieve those results and outcomes, manage the process, then see the vision actualized and lives transformed. Growth transforms our community, chapter, and fellow members. It helps us achieve our mission statement, follow our vision, and see people come to know Jesus. It is the legacy of developing others who develop others.
All of us are leaders, each with different capacities. We have the ability to grow, influence, and make an impact. Growing volunteers, leaders, and members leads to high impact in the lives of others. Great leaders purposely and strategically engage in leadership development because they believe they’re only as effective as their people. To grow in our relationship with one another, our relationship with Christ, and our relationship as an organization is to picture, plan, plow, plant, protect, prune, pollinate, and propagate.
As we trek into the future, our capacity as an organization is our collective capacity as volunteers, members, and leaders. Join us as we learn in community and examine what leadership looks like on our grid, in our sphere of influence, and in our daily routine! It is our collective growth and commitment to Christ that becomes our true wealth.