"I remember the time I preached my first sermon in church. The church recognised that I seemed to enjoy talking a lot and, despite concerns about the pleasure I took from the sound of my own voice, they boldly gave me my first Sunday evening preach. Of course it wasn't a very polished performance, but despite this the leaders encouraged me to keep preaching, and I've carried on doing so for the last 26 years.
A year later, the church was launching a brand-new outreach programme to young people. It would be super-high-tech, with computers, video screens, crazy games and relevant and inspiring communication about Jesus. The leaders of this venture - called Prime Time (it sounded really cool in 1987, trust me) - recognised some leadership ability in me, and so as a 17-tear-old I found myself serving as a leader in this exciting new ministry. I was treated as an equal - not as an inferior member of the team. My opinions mattered. My ideas counted. In truth, I look back to that time as the moment when the revolution in my faith really happened. Why? Because I was given genuine leadership responsibility, not some token gesture toward it.
A lot has happened in the 25 years since that moment, and as I write this today I feel greatly privileged to now serve as Senior Pastor of that church (Hitchin Christian Centre). What makes that even more special, and amazing, is that the baton of leadership was passed on to me by my own father."
Matt didn't become a preacher, leader and Senior Pastor overnight, nor did he get there just by his own efforts. He was helped along this journey by his father, and other leaders in the church. They were people who recognised the potential in him and were willing to invest their own time and efforts to help him to reach that potential.
As you look around at the people you know, do you see their potential? Can you offer friendship, a listening ear, advice and guidance based on your own experience and walk with God? Would you love to help them to achieve that potential?
This series has a number of articles which are designed, not only to give you the vision for getting started on those discipling relationships, but also equipping you with plenty of helpful advice to support you as you start out on this exciting journey.
Join the 1-2-3 movement for at least a year and we'll see what God can do when we live life 1-2-3!
Jesus' last words were "Go and make disciples"
Discipleship is not just knowing what you should believe, but also why, and how to live it!
How learning to crochet became learning about life and faith
The context for effective discipleship is community
What did Jesus do when He was preparing to call His disciples?
When a person has been born again, they are not yet the whole and complete package.
How do we actively disciple and nurture our children as they grow in their relationship with God?
Most people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus whilst they are in their teens
Discipling goals must adapt to fit the individual in their current lifestyle
Maturity lies not in dependence nor independence, but in inter-dependence