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Where Have All the Mature Christians Gone?

Have you ever considered that others are looking to you as their shepherd?

Your children, your spouse, your roommates, your friends, your employees, your co-workers, your neighbors, those in your church all need you.

Some pastors are paid to equip. However, most pastors are not paid, and their role is no less valuable or important—especially to those they oversee and serve.

For some of us, we’ve heard the passage that describes the conversation between Jesus and Peter when Jesus tells Peter three different times to “feed my sheep.”

We hear that and think: “Yeah, Peter, feed your sheep! I need someone like Peter in my life to feed me! I need a church, a small group, a mentor to feed me! I need other people to care for me!”

After reading this story in John 21, Erwin McManus, a mentor in my life, then asked this question:

“When Jesus says to Peter, ‘If you love me, go feed my sheep,’ why do we always see ourselves as the sheep? Why don’t we see ourselves as Peter?”

You are more ready and prepared than you could imagine.

Maturity does not mean knowing about the Bible.

Maturity means obeying what we know from the Bible.

Maturity means being proactive.

We can experience a life beyond our wildest imagination when we maximize who we were created to be. Jesus’ parable of the soils points out that we struggle to become who we were created to be when we have a hardened heart, a shallow faith or find ourselves trapped among the thorns. If we can avoid these pitfalls, we will be fruitful.

Jesus’ parable points to four commands that will lead to a fruitful life beyond what we could ever imagine:

  1.    Hear God’s voice.
  2.    Don’t give up.
  3.    Don’t give in.
  4.    Obey God’s voice.

This chart shows us a way to apply the parable of the soils to our lives:


Hardened —- Vulnerable —– Receptive (Overcoming Silence)

Shallow ——- Deep ———– Tenacious (Overcoming Trials)

Thorny ——– Clear ———— Intentional (Overcoming Temptations)

Desolate —— Fruitful ——— Proactive (Overcoming Rebellion) 

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Dr. Eric Michael Bryant serves with Gateway Church in Austin as the team leader for Central and South Austin and as part of the teaching team. Eric previously served at Mosaic in Los Angeles and his books include Not Like Me: A Field Guide to a Influencing a Diverse World and A Fruitful Life: Becoming Who You Were Created To Be. Eric coaches church planters and campus pastors, teaches on Post Christian Ministry, and leads a cohort for a Doctorate of Ministry in Missional Effectiveness through Bethel Seminary where he earned his Doctorate of Ministry in Entrepreneurial Leadership.