How to grow tomatoes, how to grow fish, how to grow corn. People grow all kinds of things, and some do it well and others don’t. On the dairy when I was growing up, one of the very important things we did was raise our baby calves up to be money making milking cows. One of the principles was, every heifer calf born was born with an inherited potential for milk production, but if she was stunted even a little bit in her growth she would also be stunted in her milk production, so we took the raising and growing our calves very seriously.
How do we grow ourselves? Not on the outside, the physical part of who we are, but on the inside, the spiritual part of who we are. The part of us that goes to be with God when we die. That inner person is manifest in our character, that is our inner person maturity can be seen by how we act and behave most of the time. It obviously is impossible to grow mature in character without God, but we are involved in the process, and make choices that helps or hinders our growth to be like Jesus in our character.
If I go to a farmer who is know by all tomato growers to be the best at his trade than any other, and ask him how I can grow tomatoes successfully, he can give me a plan, a strategy, a guide, and if if I follow it closely, I to can grow big tomatoes. The same would be true of dairy heifers, corn, fish, whatever. So I want to grow as rapidly as is possible in my character to be fully mature and Christ like on the inside. How do I do that? I would also as a Pastor like to be teaching, training, influencing, and leading others so that their growth is facilitated to the max by me. How do I do that?
As I read the Bible I take note of every passage that would give information on this “farming skill”. As I read books I again try and pay attention, and learn everything I can on this skill of nurturing myself and others. As I work with people and notice those who grow like weeds and others seem to be in a perpetual slump, I ask myself, what is the difference? Why? Over the years of being on this hunting expedition for principles, guidelines, and practices I have written a lot of strategies, plans, principles, and guide lines, and I am constantly refineing them as I observe results. Every day I ask God for the strength and the wisdom to stay balanced and dependent.
Every year I start a leadership class for men that lasts 9 months, and I put into practice the accumulated wisdom and skills to grow a man into a disciple of Jesus. I also teach a second year class for the highly motivated. This year I am also going to teach a class for ladies for the first time. If you live close enough you are welcome to be part of one of the classes. I think they are going to be super, and lots of growth in lots of people is going to happen. Working on myself diligently to grow as fast as I can in character, and then using those same principles to make disciples of others is the absolute love of my life.