As we face the new millennium, we acknowledge that the state of the Church is marked by a paradox of growth without depth. Our zeal to go wider has not been matched by a commitment to go deeper.
The Eastbourne Consultation on Discipleship (England, 1999)
It was almost 2,000 years ago that the Apostle Paul wrote a letter that undoubtedly prompted reflection and prayer among Jesus followers in and around the large commercial city of Ephesus. After painting a magnificent portrait of God at work in the world through Christ (Ephesians 1-3), Paul urged them to live a way of life worthy of God’s gracious and powerful work (4:1). He challenged the community’s leaders to foster maturity in its members (4: 11-13). Then Paul wrote,
We must no longer be children.… But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. (Eph.4:14-16)
The need for spiritual maturity gripped the Apostle Paul over 2,000 years ago. It was urgent work then; it is urgent work now.
One is hard pressed to find a time in history when the Church has gone more places, provided more resources, and proclaimed the gospel more widely than over the past several decades. Yet amidst all these efforts, there is a growing realization today that we are just skimming across the surface.
Almost 12 years ago I was seated around a U-shaped table with about a dozen other like-minded strangers curious about something called “The Journey” and sizing up two men in the room who appeared to be in charge.… Randy Reese and Rob Loane.
Within the first couple hours of our multiple days together, they did more question- asking and listening than they did teaching or talking. The strangers were becoming people I wanted to learn from as well, the atmosphere was safe and welcoming. I could feel myself being authentically invited into a conversation around “what is required to help adults grow spiritually toward Christ and maturity” which we would explore together over the next couple days.
I was hooked!
Everything that I had learned to be true about how adults best learn and grow during my graduate school preparation for a Ph.D. in Adult Learning—which I had every intention of using in an academic or corporate setting—was refreshingly being applied to adults wanting to discover who God is, who they are, and what God wants to do through them for Kingdom purposes.
I was not unique.
Around that table 12 years ago, and every year since, in locations scattered across North America and beyond, the ministry of VP3 continues to uncover developmentally minded leaders.
What is a developmentally minded leader?