#308 Serving leaders ask those who follow: “How are you growing?”

September 1, 2021

Serving leaders have a passion, not only for their own personal growth, but they want to see those they lead also growing. They are in the growing people business! So, they attend to their own growth and then quickly turn their attention to the growth of those they lead. They have a vision from God to impact their world and they know that they cannot do this alone. They call a team to help them, and the team also needs to be growing if they are to scale the mountain. They have the same perspective towards the growth of those they lead as the writer of Hebrews.

12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:11-14, NIV).

Serving leaders desire to see those the lead flourishing and growing into their full potential. So, they often ask their followers, “How are you growing?”

Serving leaders ask “How are you growing?“ to encourage change.   

The writer clearly expects growth and progress. An infant is expected to drink milk, but a mature person should be eating meat. Serving leaders expect growth from those they lead and this requires change. Serving leaders are not content with followers that simply continue to do their work at the same level. They desire growth and ask their followers how they are growing to assess the level of change. Simply asking the question helps the follower to understand that growth is encouraged and expected. By asking “How are you growing?” serving leaders encourage their followers to rise and develop the potential that is yet undeveloped.

Serving leaders ask “How are you growing?“ to encourage consistency.

The question of growth is not a one-time question but one that serving leaders use often. The writer says that one of the characteristics of the mature is that they “by constant use have trained themselves…”  A step of growth produces change, but consistent growth is the key to transformation. Serving leaders recognize that many people in a new role, grow quickly as they learn the task, but then plateau when the reach a certain level of capacity. The question, “How are you growing?” encourages the follower to keep developing their strengths and capacity.

Serving leaders ask “How are you growing?“ to encourage continuity.

The writer challenges the readers, “by this time you ought to be teachers…” The expectation is that with growth and maturity there will be a passing on of what is learned to the next generation. Serving leaders take a long view and desire not only the growth of the individual they are leading, but the growth of those who will follow. So, they ask their followers, “How are you growing?” to remind them that they are not only growing for themselves but for those who will follow. They may shape the question even more directly, “Who are you training to take over your role?” Serving leaders ask their followers how they are growing so that they will be encouraged to pass on to others what they are learning.

For further reflection and discussion:

  • Do I have a high expectation of growth and change from everyone I lead? How do I communicate that expectation to them? What do I do when someone is not interested in growing?
  • Are there persons on my team that have stopped growing? How can I ask them a question that will rekindle their desire to grow?
  • How do my followers pass on to others what they are learning? Have I built that expectation into our entire team? Can I see evidence of several generations of training happening in my organization? (An example of several generations would be that those first trained have trained others who are now training others.) If not, what do I need to change?                  

Until next time,

yours on the journey,

Jon Byler

In the next issue, we’ll look at/examine a question serving leaders ask themselves, “What should I stop doing?”