GO: Leadership Development

A while ago, a young man was sharing with me the adventure he was on in a Role-Playing Game (RPG) on his phone. We were discussing strategies about how he would succeed in the game—not only did he need to develop his character, but he also needed to develop his teammates.

As we were talking, I saw a significant correlation between this game and our lives as followers of Christ. I have heard it said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. We can sometimes experience spiritual growth spurts where we grow and learn quickly through the Holy Spirit. However, as we strive to “go far” and mature in our faith and trust in God, a significant amount of our growth will come from a steady, continuous building of our Christ-like character through obedience and commitment to Christ’s exhortation for us to love one another. In order to mature and build our faith, we need to support the development of not only ourselves, but also those around us.

Within Nazarene Youth International (NYI), we have taken up three core strategies: BE, DO, and GO. We are to BE in relationship with God and BE who He has created us to BE. Within this “BE,” we evangelize with our actions – with our lives. As we “BE,” we are intuitively called out to DO. There is an expectation that we actually DO something with our faith and DO as Christ did. And what was something Jesus did? He went. Likewise, we are to GO—GO like Jesus did and develop not only ourselves, but invest and encourage the spiritual growth of others. This is done in various ways, one of which is through the act of serving those around us. Jesus models this behavior in John 13 when he actively takes the role of a servant and washes the feet of his disciples.

The GO strategy of NYI is identified as Leadership Development. We do not GO alone, we GO together. As we GO together, we encourage, learn, and grow with each other. If we keep our faith and spiritual journey to ourselves, then we have consciously removed a vital aspect of Christ’s call to each of us to “GO and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19a).

Jesus took time to not only nurture his own relationship with his Father but encouraged and taught those around him. He took the time to develop and invest in the present and future of the Church. The faith and knowledge that he had was not kept to himself but shared with everyone, particularly his twelve closest followers. We are all given gifts and talents that can be shared with those around us as we GO. We are not meant to keep these blessings from God to ourselves or to use them for selfish purposes, instead, we are to use them for God’s glory and for the growth of God’s Kingdom.

In sharing with his disciples Jesus explained, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12). He invested and took time to develop those around him in preparation for the great things that would be done after his ascension to heaven. As leaders and disciples of Christ, we are called to do the same. We should not just develop ourselves, but also help develop those around us.

Even greater work for God’s Kingdom can be achieved in the future than is being done now because of our faithfulness if we take the time to share life with, serve, and invest in others today. Jesus took the time to invest and develop the disciples around him, and they took up the call to share, serve, and make disciples. God sent Jesus, and Jesus sent his disciples to GO. In being who Christ called them to BE, and DOing as Christ did, they went in obedience and advanced the Gospel to the world. Not only did they go fast, but they went far. Let us continue, in obedience to our Lord and Savior and do the same.

Andrew Barker