3 Keys to Developing Others

This week we have some great insights from pastor John Burke on how to be an effective people developer. You can read more of John’s thoughts at www.johnburkeonline.com.

“You have a teaching gift, bro.”  “If I do, God made a mistake because I don’t do public speaking.”  That was my exact response to Dave White as a 24-year-old working in the marketplace. Dave was a people developer. He intentionally looked to see how people around him were gifted, or where they needed growth, and then he encouraged them to develop in that area.  If they were willing, he got involved coaching them along the way.

Dave did three things every people-developer does well:

  • Listen – He listened to determine what areas a person could grow in. What gifts need developing? What places does this person seem stuck? Dave listened to me talk about things I was learning, and noticed how excited I got about the thingsI learned.
  • Assess – He assessed and prayed for what God appeared to be doing in that person’s life. What might next steps be to help this person develop? Dave assessed that I had a dormant teaching gift, because I loved to learn and give away what I was learning (often a sign of a teaching gift). But that gift was undeveloped because of my fear of public speaking. He assessed correctly that God wanted it developed.
  • Prescribe – This is the bold step of challenging a person to grow. It must come with lots of prayer to make sure this is God’s agenda and not your agenda, then lots of encouragement, then a few, clear, simple steps to take.

So Dave prescribed a first step of development, “Teach a college workshop on spiritual growth with me. We’ll do it together.” “No, I don’t do public speaking,” was my persistent reply for about a month. That’s where encouragement, prayer, and persistence come in.  Sometimes spiritual strongholds like fear or busyness or self-centeredness require prayer and persistence. Dave kept encouraging me even as I kept saying, “No.”

One day while praying about something totally unrelated, I had a clear thought crash into my head, “When you resist Dave, you resist Me.” Realizing God was using Dave to challenge me to trust Him, I changed my mind and taught the college group.

Dave followed a simple developmental paradigm. We prepared together, and he gave me a small part that I could succeed at doing. I felt like I failed nonetheless, but he gave lots of encouragement. He also challenged me to do it again, and gave me one thing to work on. This continued for about a semester until he finally said, “You’re ready. I want you to speak to 200 people in my place.”  I was horribly terrified, but actually gaining some confidence that if I kept growing, maybe this was a gift God could use.

You might never know the multiplied impact of taking time to spiritually develop another person, but one day God will show you how His Kingdom came life-by-life to earth.  Don’t miss the opportunity to partner with Him in His great people-development enterprise.

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