I have been thinking about how to teach people to be leaders, to think for themselves, to be independent and dependable and forerunners in their own way. There is no foolproof formula for growing people from those who are needy and insecure and primarily followers into those who mentor and mature others and contribute significantly to their community. In the past few months I have begun to realise that my main method of doing this (being an example and role model) is not that effective. Simply seeing something does not transfer ability. You can watch talented dancers all you want, but that will not make you a dancer, no matter how inspired you are. On the other hand, talking about something is not the best way of imparting ability either. After listening to hundreds and thousands of messages and sermons, how much have people really changed and matured?
I was thinking about the ultimate teacher, Jesus, and noted that though he was the best role model and spoke with great authority, using words and deeds as well as they have ever been used (and don't forget those incredible miracles), not many people wanted to become true followers and stick with him after the bread and fishes ran out, and of those who did, their maturity level was sadly lacking at many times. So what turned these sad, few, often clueless disciples into fathers of the New Testament church who fearlessly plunged into a new era?
Today as we were driving across the Champlain Bridge on our way to Brossard to help a friend lead worship in a church, it struck me: the Holy Spirit came. Jesus, the leader whom the disciples were lost without, left them stranded and alone (at least that's how they probably felt). And then they waited. And waited. And then God sent the Holy Spirit and they were forever changed.
It is becoming more and more apparent that my efforts at changing the world are less significant than I had thought, and God's willingness to dwell with us, unfathomable as his desire for us often seems, is at the very core of any real maturity. Let me be the first to respond, "Come over here, Jesus!" and in doing so, be the best leader I can be.
Another sunset photo from Ste-Anne, beautiful and fiery at the same time.