Jesus invested three years of His earthly ministry into the lives of twelve men. He became their “spiritual father.” This time of spiritual fathering prepared and equipped these disciples to “go into all the world” and fulfill the Great Commission.

New Christians desperately need spiritual fathers and mothers to nurture and encourage them in their spiritual walk. A pastor once told me that when he received Christ, he was in his mid-twenties. A 77-year-old “spiritual father” from his church took him under his wing and discipled him. It made all the difference for this future pastor’s spiritual maturity.

Paul, the apostle, told the Corinthian church that they had many teachers, but not many spiritual parents who were willing to spend time nurturing new believers. In 1 Corinthians 4:14-15 he says, “I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, you do not have many fathers.” These Christians were immature because they lacked true spiritual fathers and mothers who were willing to spend time with them to give them proper training and nurturing. Many times, new believers never really grow to their full potential in God because they never had a spiritual father or mother to care for them.

True spiritual parenting has the intention of developing and encouraging others to walk the path of becoming spiritual fathers and mothers themselves. For more than thirty years, serving as a spiritual father to others has been brought great joy and fulfillment into my life. And I have also been blessed by spiritual fathers the Lord has placed in my life. I invite you to join me on this journey, as you become a spiritual father or mother to others.