Seeing Them Become Young Adults

John Shaw - Discipleship & Missions Pastor | Bethel Baptist Church | Troy, IL

When I became a full-time pastor I decided to maintain one part of my old career – plowing snow for local businesses. As winter approaches each year I look at and listen to my local snowfall forecasts. I think about my snow removal accounts, what supplies and equipment I will need, and who will be helping me service my accounts. The first two are much the same from year to year. But, the third may change. Additional help may be needed depending on new accounts, worker availability, or snow amounts expected. Having a worker who is willing, teachable, and capable is not always easy. So, I need to be intentional to identify and train workers, making sure they are equipped for the job.

This means, modeling what I want them to know and do, working alongside them on technique, watching them do it and answering any questions, then letting them do it on their own. On the job training.

Often, my workers are eager and waiting to get into the snow and start shoveling. I hear it and see it in them, “let me out of the truck, I can do it!” Their eagerness is inspiring! They are ready to GO! Once the snow drops, there is certainly a training ground, but there is an intentional process that needs to happen, even with shoveling snow. An intentional process for training helps answer the impending questions…Where to start? How much snow to shovel at one time? What direction to shovel, when? When shoveling the curb, where to put the snow? So many questions. But once we have walked through the process, they should be able to answer these questions, do the job, and even teach the next person. If I am not intentional to provide the opportunity and the training, things don’t turn out very well. If my worker stays in the truck, never shoveling any snow, I have failed. My worker never gets to put into practice what he has observed and learned. I have failed to duplicate myself. But when the process is done right, they are excited, I am excited, and we accomplish the mission as a team.

As part of relational discipleship culture, I have often read and heard, “Growth from spiritual childhood to spiritual adulthood happens in the context of ministry.” This is so true as we lead others spiritually to become young adults in their faith. As their minds and hearts shift from being self-focused to God-centered and others-focused, ministry and service become an intentional “snow shoveling” training ground. Disciple-makers can intentionally model ministry for young adults in their faith, serve with them, watch them serve and debrief, then release them to do ministry.

Intentional leaders, providing intentional training grounds, with an intentional process for ministry, are essential to the growth and health of spiritual young adults. As Disciple-makers, here are three essential reminders to help your disciple transition into a spiritual young adult.

  • Be intentional. An intentional leader understands and knows that spiritual progress doesn’t just happen. It takes loving diligence and persistence to help disciples grow in their spiritual journey towards maturity.
  • Provide ministry opportunities. Disciples need ministry opportunities to be The Church, to serve others, to be His hands and feet. These opportunities help disciples see outside themselves, to see God’s greater plan and purpose.
  • Lead them to minister. Jesus modeled what it looks like to minister. He showed His disciples what to do. He ministered with them. He watched them minister, then debriefed. He sent them to go and minister. We should certainly do the same.

How exciting it is when the “light goes on” for the disciple in your life. That transforming moment when it’s no longer about them, but about HIM! They’re excited, you’re excited, and God is excited!

by John Shaw – Discipleship & Missions Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church
Troy, IL