Leader's Insight: So Many Christian Infants

Why are we so good at leading people to faith and so bad at prodding them to maturity?

I have been musing on the words of Martin Thornton: "A walloping great congregation," he wrote, "is fine and fun, but what most communities really need is a couple of saints. The tragedy is that they may well be there in embryo, waiting to be discovered, waiting for sound training, waiting to be emancipated from the cult of the mediocre."

"Saints," he says. Mature Christians: people who are "grown-up" in their faith, to whom one assigns descriptors such as holy, Christ-like, Godly, or men or women of God.

Now mature, in my book does not mean the "churchly," those who have mastered the vocabulary and the litany of church life, who come alive only when the church doors open. Rather, I have in mind those who walk through all the corridors of the larger life—the market-place, the home and community, the playing fields—and do it in such a way that, sooner or later, it is concluded that Jesus' fingerprints are all over them.

I have concluded that our branch of the Christian movement ...

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