I will never forget the experience of becoming a father for the first time. Although I had faithfully attended prenatal classes where I learned how to coach LaVerne through her labor, I hit the panic button when the contractions started. Reality hit me: We were going to have a baby! I wasn’t ready!

I was too young . . .  too inexperienced. . . . I wanted to ask LaVerne, “Couldn’t you just put it on hold for a few months until we are ready for this?” But that was not an option. It was time, and LaVerne gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Somehow, by the grace of God, we learned that we were more ready to be parents than we had realized. Our own parents and friends were available for advice, and—amazingly enough—the baby did not break.

It is not easy to raise children, and most new parents feel unprepared when the first one comes along. Primed by racks of bestselling child-care manuals and how-to videos, parents are still uneasy about their ability to care for their child.

Just as many natural parents feel shaky about their parenting skills, many potential spiritual parents feel insecure and uncertain. They do not feel prepared! Yet one of the greatest catalysts for maturity as a Christian is becoming a spiritual father or mother. This is how the Lord planned it so that we can grow in maturity in Christ. Both physical and spiritual parenthood challenges and even changes our perspectives. Parenthood forces us to overcome pride and stretches us in many directions of growth.

Paul, the apostle, clearly instructed the Corinthians, “In Christ I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me” (1 Cor. 4:15, 16).

As prospective spiritual parents take steps of faith and draw on the help and advice of their own spiritual moms and dads, they will find great success and fulfillment. They will discover that they are more ready than they had realized.

(Much of this was taken from my newly released book, “The Cry for Spiritual Mothers and Fathers—The Next Generation Needs You to be a Spiritual Mentor.”)