How rare it is within Christianity to have someone personally encourage you to take your next step of faith. I will never cease to be amazed at the number of bright young leaders I meet who have never been affirmed by an older believer. Recently I was introduced to a sharp young pastor serving in his first church. He has grown up in church and graduated from a Christian college, yet he has never had an older leader affirm his leadership gifts and talents.
Jesus taught that love is to lay down my life for another. To follow Jesus is to lay down my life for my fellow followers by empowering them to take their next step in fulfilling the Lord’s purpose for their life. Ray and Kelly Siler are part of our group in Chicago and are moving to Portland next month to make disciples. Earlier this year our community helped them with an exploratory trip to the west coast. The group connected them with our contacts in the northwest (parents, pastors, and friends) to help them with housing and research in preparation for their move. We also put together a prayer card and prayer letter to have others join us in praying for this transition. Voluntarily members gave money to help with moving expenses. We wanted Ray and Kelly to be sure they knew we fully support them in this important transition.
The opportune time to encourage others is in their transitions. Transitions are significant because they are the moving of God in the life of His child to fulfill His purpose. Because transitions are central to the life of a disciple so it should be important to me when I see the Lord guiding a brother or sister into a transition. In a real discipling community it is the responsibility of each member to join God in what He is doing in lives of others in the group. I am to serve others in their transitions just as I would like others to be there for me in my transitions.