2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

Reflection on past accomplishments or even past disappointments can provide some benefit to every pastor or leader. However, if a pastor or leader begins to live only in their past accomplishments they will miss opportunities and possibilities before them. In addition, the person who is only looking back will become ineffective and irrelevant to the current and future generation.

“Everyone enjoys being inspired. But here’s the truth when it comes to personal growth: Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.” John Maxwell

In Genesis 12, God spoke to Abram about growing forward. He outlined a number of things Abram would need to release in order to for him to experience growing forward. This wasn’t an easy decision for Abram, especially at the age of 65, but it was necessary to fulfill God’s purposes for his life. It meant leaving and letting go of his country, his community and even his tribe. Abram had to be willing to go to a new land and experience a new dimension of God’s presence, promise, and provision. Fast forward to Hebrews 11:8, which reads, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Growing forward!

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

There are a few ESSENTIALS that have helped me in my growing forward since I began my ministry at the age of 21.

  1. LISTENING: Some of my best growth has come by listening to the words and wisdom of more mature and experienced ministers. Rather than resist the help of others, I have learned the value of listening to ideas, suggestions and insights.
  2. LEARNING: Leaders are learners. This can be accomplished by personal devotions, reading great books, furthering education by attending conferences and connecting with those who are ahead of me in experience and accomplishment. I am determined to never feel I have arrived.
  3. LETTING GO: Releasing rather than rehearsing offenses, failures and missteps is vital in growing forward. If you’ve had a bad experience, grow through it rather than die in it.
  4. LOVING: Love is the greatest attribute of the Holy Spirit a person can display. As the primary expression of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life, love will always take you beyond your current situation. When you love God, love others and even love yourself, you are growing forward.
  5. LEADING: No doubt, being a pastor or leader gives you the greatest opportunity to experience growing forward. Making decisions and leading the way will always take you into new territory.

I am sure if space allowed I could add to the list. My challenge to all of us is to keep growing forward!

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. Benjamin Franklin