Through my work at the church, I continually encounter one widely held belief that isn’t true. I tacitly accepted this belief for a number of months in ministry before I realized the distortion.
It’s the myth of maturity.
This myth was brought to my attention as I read a discipleship book called WikiChurch by Steve Murrell (I know. It’s a terrible book name. But it’s actually a good book.) This myth stunts many people’s spiritual lives and needs to be exposed.
The myth of maturity is the belief that no one should engage in ministry until they are “mature.”
The myth of maturity convinces people that “they don’t pray enough, aren’t mature enough, don’t know enough bible verses, have too many past sins, or are too young” to help make disciples of Jesus.
The myth of maturity convinces people that “before they even attempt to minister to others, they need another discipleship class, training course, leadership seminar, and framed certificate on their wall.”
These misguided beliefs lead people to think, ‘One day… once I get trained up and get my stuff together spiritually, then I will be ready to lead and minister to others.’
Yet time and time again, I’ve seen that this ethereal “one day” rarely, if ever, arrives. It doesn’t arrive because the truth is that we will rarely feel ready and mature enough to be used by God. Moses was hesitant to be used by God. Some of the disciples were likely afraid as they were sent out so soon after they joined Jesus. If you’re currently ministering to others or leading in your community, you probably didn’t feel so ready your first day on the job. I rarely feel ready either.
Last year I received a call to go and visit someone in hospice who was near death. I arrived too late and entered a room with a mourning family and a recently deceased parent on the bed. I had never met anyone in the room. It was the first time I had been around death outside of a funeral home. And as a twenty-five year old, I didn’t exactly feel “ready” to step into the situation. But I went because the church had equipped me and trusted me to minister in that situation.
Who feels ready to look death in the face the first time?
Who feels ready to lead their first small group?
Who feels ready to talk with a teenager struggling with addiction?
Who feels ready to walk alongside friends who are on the verge of divorce?
Very few people.
The truth is that maturity comes as we step out in faith and participate in the work God has prepared for us.
Steve Murrell is right when he says, “We can’t wait until every believer feels mature enough to minister because no one wil mature unless they minister. While some members may not feel ready yet, God is ready to use them now.”
Today may be the day for you to step out and stop believing the myth of maturity.
Better yet, it may be time for our churches to stop relying only on “professionals,” start equipping every member for ministry, and begin providing opportunities for all to minister and mature.
When have you been tempted to believe this myth?
How does your church help equip people so they can be sent out and grow in maturity?