Posted by: everynation | August 6, 2008

I Must Decrease

by Mike Watkins

One of my favorite areas of ministry is mentoring young believers and young leaders. I enjoy seeing new believers discover more and more about Jesus, His grace and His call to reach others. I enjoy seeing young leaders take more responsibility and come up with ideas better than my own. I am also a little selfish here because if the young leaders will do more then I will have to do less.

LESS. Now that is not a popular word. As in fashion where “Green is the new Red” we now find that “Less is the new More.” I am hopelessly colorblind, green really is red for me, so I probably ruined that last example. The problem with this new – actually ancient – spiritual fashion is that some leaders just can’t get enough of “more”.

I often hear of leaders still trying to hold the reigns on peoples’ lives, on the creativity of their leaders and lastly on the pulpit. In its extreme it is both sad and tragic as a whole generation is stunted in their growth because of one person.

John the Baptist set the bar when he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Jn 3:30 I think that this frightens many leaders because they simply cannot see the Holy Spirit moving in anyone except themselves. Other leaders think that the most talented has to be the one up front, and some are more simple-minded in their approach. They think that they are Moses incarnate.

“Less” and “Decrease” do not mean a decrease in the kingdom of God. This actually means increase in the right context. A kingdom that depends on one man being the conduit of the power of God will surely blow a fuse. The fuse is often the pastor. However, the increase comes from the enormous magnitude of effectiveness when God’s power, creativity and purpose are manifested in all His people. We want the lordship of Jesus to increase in the lives of all people, not our lordship.

There are several areas where this principle causes more growth:

* The more I come to Jesus on a daily basis and rely less on my natural strength, the more His kingdom will be manifested in my life. Still working on this!
* My daughters are at the age where I am mentoring them to make their own decisions. I often ask them what they think God would lead them to do in a specific situation. This sharpens their discernment, and this is necessary now because in a few years they might have their own families. They will still probably call me though to babysit.
* Young believers have to be carried at times, but we need to help them stand on God’s word, and we have to instill a personal faith in them that does not rely on the people or things around them. They need to be weaned from us so they can feed themselves.
* Young leaders need to be able to express their own creativity, and we need to give them reasonable latitude to make important decisions even if we might disagree. Letting people skin their knees a little with some not-so-so-well-thought-out-plans can be a valuable lesson. We can’t insulate them from pain and failure, but we can help them grow in wisdom to make mature decisions.
* We can also simplify the vision so that our personal gifting is not projected over them. Let them be creative. They hear from God as much as we do. Let them take the wheel sometimes.
* Let them take the wheel more.
* Then give them the wheel.

When we hold on to the wheel we will eventually lose it, and God’s kingdom invariably suffers a setback. When we decrease and let Jesus increase in the lives of others we actually lose nothing. People grow, God’s kingdom grows and the leaders whom we helped only invite us back in as wise counsel and eventually peers.

Even Jesus wanted His disciples to do more miracles than He.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Jn 14:12

Mike Watkins is a missionary, a fisher of men and the author of the blog “Simple Truths.”

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