I want to share a picture with you that I received a few years ago which feels particularly relevant and pertinent to this season.

In the picture, the Lord showed me the word ‘GROW’. As I focused on the word, I asked God why He was drawing this word to my attention. I sensed Him reply, “Amy, I’m calling you to be a growing leader.”

Of course on one level, this wasn’t a great surprise. But I accepted it as a divine reminder to keep growing in my relationship with God and my leadership responsibility.

Thinking that was the end of the picture I started to drift back to the tasks of the day, but suddenly I found myself drawn back to the word ‘GROW’ and then I watched the letters R and W dissolve in the picture so that all that was left was the word ‘GO’.

I reflected on this two-letter word and asked God again why He was showing me this. This time, I felt the Lord saying, “Amy, I’m calling you to be a growing leader – not a going leader. I then felt the Lord instruct me to focus on the R and the W that had disappeared. I asked God what the R and the W represented and I felt Him say that the R stood for Relationships and the W for Worship.

I recognised in that moment that God was challenging me about my drivenness to ‘go’ more than ‘grow’. Although my ‘going’ had good intentions, my relationships and worship were suffering.

Here is the thing about “going” above “growing”. “Going’ can feel like you’re actually seeing some fruit for your efforts. There’s evidence of your ‘going’. But ‘growing’ takes longer. Sometimes the evidence isn’t as clear, particularly when the focus is stronger roots before the fruit. So it’s easy as a leader to invest more in the ‘going’ than the ‘growing’ because we want to see we’re achieving right here, right now.

‘Going’ is of course an essential aspect of leadership. We are ‘going’ somewhere for sure. But ‘going’ beyond our ‘growing’ will catch up with us in the end.

Our confidence as leaders should be found in ‘growing’ not ‘going’. We need to remember that who we are – and whose we are – is far more important than what we do.

Leaders that have an unbalanced focus on ‘going’ are often caught in the leadership trap of embracing function before identity. They tend to focus on the task rather than the people. They rarely take the time to check who is beside and behind them, and they often confuse the urgent with the important. Leaders who focus on ‘going’ rarely make space for personal learning, study, and intimacy with Jesus. When people ask them how their relationship with God is, their reply returns to what they do in ministry.

Leaders who prioritise growing embrace the truth of identity before function, people over projects, and are committed to be lifelong learners. They are paced by the Holy Spirit rather than the speed of going. Their intimacy with the Father, orders their next steps rather than risks leading ahead of Jesus. ‘Growing’ leaders are led by the Spirit before they lead others. They hold space for people with patience and grace, recognising that the journey is often as – if not – more important than the destination. Leaders that grow make space for themselves and their own leadership development.

So how are we doing in this? Are we leaning into ‘going’ at the expense of our ‘growing’?
Is our leadership engine at risk of running on fumes?

Ultimately, we need to remember we are human beings, not human doings.

Everything we do as leaders must flow out of a secure foundation of understanding that we are children of God, created to reflect the nature of God, and deeply and unconditionally loved. We lead from a place of God’s approval – not for His approval.

A church/organisation/leader avoids permanent death by recognising it will no longer flourish unless conditions are drastically changed to facilitate growth – investing in relationships with people, and prioritising worship of God create the environment in which healthy fruit can result from our ‘going’.

What changes do you need to make in order to make sure you keep growing?

And how can Kyria help?

Here are some ideas:

  • Every first Wednesday of the month, 8-9pm, we hold a live worship hour on Facebook. We want to encourage you to prioritise the presence of God. You hopefully have your own spaces to do this, but there’s something special about the Kyria members coming together for a time of worship, prayer and encounter. You won’t regret it!
  • Consider joining our community in the next Book Club and learn and lean into some learning together (more details on this below).
  • Consider some accountability in the area of ‘going’ above ‘growing’? If you need help in this area, reach out to us at info@kyrianetwork.com and we can help put you in touch with someone near you.
  • Remember who and whose we are is more important than what we do. Remind yourself at the start of every day. You are a beloved child of God. Don’t ever let anyone rob you of that life-giving truth.
  • Invite God to access your ‘going’. Invite God to access your relationships with Him and others. Where can you do some work in these areas?

Lord, help us to commit to the lifelong journey of growing above going. Help us to prioritise relationships and worship. Bless and strengthen us in these areas we pray.

AMEN