This is a follow-up article to Part 3 of the same series.
As you teach your potential leaders how to become missional followers of Jesus Christ, you need to rely on God’s processing methods. You need to pay attention to what God is doing to develop the hearts of those whom you believe God is raising up to become servant leaders. You cannot orchestrate this; you can only come alongside the leader and mentor him or her as this happens according to God’s timing. The Holy Spirit is the one raising up the leader, not you. He is the One working in the leader’s heart to make him or her fully devoted to the Lord. His goal is to transform the leader into the image and likeness of God through the power of the Holy Spirit by the word of God. Your goal is to cooperate with God in that process. So you must be ready when this happens through the following means…
- Teachings or Trainings – God would expose the leader through various teachings or trainings, whether formally, non-formally, or informally. It may come through people, books, events, and various sources. What is important is that the leader is learning something. You need to meet up with him or her in order to assess what he or she is learning, from what source, and how can he or she integrate that in his or her life.
- Testings – After each lesson, there will be a test. This is part of God’s processing of the leader’s heart. Will the leader apply what he or she has learned? After each lesson, wait for circumstances that could bring the leader to a testing situation so that they may cooperate with God. Teach him or her how to do so. These testings may be positive (like a promotion or a success) or negative (like a financial difficulty or sickness). The leader must learn to pass each test by applying what he or she has learned from God’s word, relying on God to give him or her strength in the process.
- Trials – These are difficulties that come upon the leader’s life as he or she is trying to obey the Lord. Like all other processing methods, God is forming the heart of the leader so that he or she can have the character of Christ. Obeying the Lord, even though there are difficulties or hindrances, is very important for a leader to learn.
- Temptations – Sometimes Satan will try to distract the leader to take shortcuts or to disobey the Lord. God allows these moments for a reason, so that he or she may learn to trust the Lord, and lean not in his or her own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- Thorns – These are people that God allows to come into the leader’s life that would make it difficult for that leader to focus on the kingdom of God. God’s grace, of course, will be sufficient in such cases, but the leader must learn how to trust and rely on God’s grace in the midst of it.
- Tragedies – These are calamities that come upon a leader’s life that severely tests their faith in God. Although no leader would want to experience this, sometimes God allows it for a reason. During such experiences, it’s very hard for the leader to focus, so you, the mentor, must come alongside him or her, and learn how to comfort, sometimes without words (learn from the Book of Job).
- Tribulations – These are prolonged difficulties of many sorts, that do not just last for a moment but sometimes for years. The leader would often question God at such moments, but you, the mentor, must learn to walk with the leader so that he or she can learn to abide in the mercies of God, knowing that in the end the Lord will deliver him or her.
God allows some or all of these types of experiences to come upon the leader’s life in order to help him or her become the kind of person God wants him or her to be. What is crucial is to teach the leader how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and not try to fix himself or herself through human effort (Phil 2:12-13).
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In order to help a leader go through these experiences well, you need to prayerfully COACH him or her. This involves the following behaviors on your part, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to do His mighty work in the leader’s heart.
- Care for him or her
- Obtain more information based on your observations
- Assess the situation together
- Challenge him or her to respond to God in faith
- Hold him or her accountable for his or her response