Tag: waco

Five Tips for a Healthy Summer

Summer is one of my favorite times of the year, and I think most of you have the same sentiments toward this sunny season! Even though the next few months are full of fun, they are also full of vacations, trips, eating lots of food and time off. This can throw off our routines and make it challenging to live healthily.

There’s a balance to be found between having fun and relaxing and being overly anxious about our health. Somewhere in the middle we can soak up summer for all it’s worth while still taking care of our bodies!


  1. Stay hydrated // The best way to beat the heat’s effects on our bodies is to drink up! Keep a water bottle in your sight at all times to remind you to take a sip. Try switching out one soda, tea or coffee drink in your day for a full cup of water. If all else fails, there are helpful apps you can download to keep track of your water intake and remind you to drink more.
  2. Set a new, exciting goal // What do you want to accomplish? A health goal can look however you want – whether that’s a 5k race or going on a 10-minute walk every morning, dream up a way to stay active that sounds fun for you.
  3. Get an accountability partner // Pick someone you trust and let them know what you need to do to thrive and stay focused this summer. It’s easy to send a text to a friend to let them know you’re getting in time with God, some movement and anything else you’re wanting to commit to.
  4. Get outdoors // There’s always activity and fun to be had outside! Go to a pool, a water park, a new trail, ride bikes with friends, head downtown and keep up to date with local festivals and events. The sunshine (with sunscreen!), fresh air and movement will do wonders for your health.
  5. Eat seasonal // When we focus on fruits and vegetables that are grown in the summer, we get the most flavorful, nutritious and satisfying foods. Focus on eating plenty of berries, peaches, summer squash, asparagus, peas, corn, bell peppers, cucumbers and my favorite summer food: watermelon!

And of course, make sure you use your extra time this summer to connect with the ones you love and have fun while doing it!

Happy summer,

Alexa Wible

Alexa is a personal trainer and health and fitness coach. She focuses on inspiring others to live spiritually, mentally and physically healthy. For more health tips, fitness inspiration and recipes, check out Alexa’s website or follow her on Instagram.



An Interview with City Councilman Dillon Meek – Investing in Waco

It is an exciting time in Waco, and we have the amazing opportunity to shape the future of our city! As the Church, we are called to engage in what is happening throughout the city and establish a Kingdom culture. We believe Waco is called to be a city set on a hill (Matthew 5:14). Now is the perfect time to fight for righteousness in our city and invest our time and energy into seeing it thrive. Our desire is for everyone in our church to live on mission, and there are many opportunities for you to carry out the Kingdom mission right here in our city. Whether serving within the church or in our city, you have an opportunity to love our city, shape the culture and make an impact!


PRAY FOR WACO // “Seek the welfare of the city” Jeremiah 29:7

  • Pray for our city leaders to be filled with wisdom from God on how to prosper our city
  • Pray for unity in families, and for children to be brought up in the ways of righteousness
  • Pray for the Kingdom to be established in our city

OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN THE CHURCH // We believe that the Church is the hope of the world, and we have the privilege to carry hope into every area of our city.

Impact Waco // Impact Waco exists to envision and equip our church to be acively involved in city transformation by meeting community needs in vulnerable and under-resourced areas.

Check out the opportunities to serve with Impact Waco:

  • Grace House Grace House is a long-term faith-based women’s recovery home that exists to bring holistic restoration to women struggling with chronic addiction.
  • Mercy House – Mercy House is a biblically based, one-year residential program that daily invests in men to empower them to live out their best lives – free from addiction, rooted in their worth and purpose and making a positive impact in the community around them.
  • STARS Mentoring Project – STARS is a program that seeks to build strength, resilience and hope in the children of our community through encouraging mentoring relationships and academic support. Through this we’re helping kids succeed in school and in life, which will be part of transforming their lives, their families and our community’s future.
  • UnBound – UnBound is Antioch’s anti-trafficking ministry that is mobilizing the church and activating local communities to fight human trafficking through prevention, professional training and survivor advocacy.

Other opportunities to serve within the church

  • Come Together This event provides an opportunity to build meaningful relationships across racial and cultural lines through open dialogue and relational activities. The next Come Together event is September 29th, and more details will be available soon. Sign up here.
  • Community Feast The Feast is a Thursday night gathering that provides “food for the body and nourishment for the soul” for the poor and homeless in our neighborhood. We share a meal together, worship and hear a sermon. Join us from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in the Journey Room.

OPPORTUNITIES THROUGHOUT THE CITY // Our church has had the privilege to partner with many amazing ministries throughout our city like Mission Waco and CareNet. We believe in the mission of many organizations in our city, and want to support them as best we can. Today we have chosen to highlight a few “backbone” organizations whose primary mission is to organize, coordinate and unify the many non-profits in our city.

    • Prosper Waco – This is a collective whose mission is to build an environment in which all members of our Waco community are able to measurably improve their education, health and financial security. Prosper Waco builds upon the efforts of existing nonprofits and community leaders to measurably improve the lives of the people in our community.
    • Creative Waco – This is a nonprofit organization with a vision to grow and support a thriving cultural and creative community in WacoThrough partnering with various organizations, Creative Waco seeks to celebrate and support creative talent throughout the city.
    • Greater Waco Sports Commission – This is an independent, non-profit organization created to identify and attract new sporting events while enhancing and retaining existing events to generate positive economic impact and enhance quality of life in McLennan County. The Sports Commission carries the vision to help Waco realize its incredible potential due to its community spirit, location, premiere facilities and more.
    • Start Up Waco – This is a non-profit organization whose vision is to create a thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Waco. They are dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs and innovators to build and grow successful businesses.
    • CampusTown Waco – The mission of CampusTown Waco is to connect young, educated professionals to the Waco community through jobs, internship opportunities and events. This organization operates as a part of Prosper Waco.

Another way you can make an impact is by engaging your Neighborhood Association. You can also apply to be on one of the City Boards and Commissions, learn more here.

God’s Vision:
Investing in our City

Last year, my husband Blake and I attended a banquet for Restoration Gateway—a ministry in Northern Uganda begun by our dear family friends Tim and Janice McCall.  Since they began their ministry 10 years ago, they have grown to house more than 100 orphans and have established a homestead, school, hospital and fishery on their 700-acre lot. The banquet emcee commented on the impressive growth of the ministry and asked Tim, “What’s your next dream for this place?” He replied,

“It’s not about my dream, it’s about God’s vision.”

This response pierced me and continues to reshape my perspective of what is happening right now in our small corner of the world—it’s not about our dream, it’s about God’s vision.

This morning I was reading John 6, where Jesus feeds five thousand people from one boy’s small supply of five loaves and two fish. He fed the people and they marveled, wanting to make Him king. While reading I thought– this is the prayer of my heart:

that Jesus would take our small provision and multiply it into revelation of Himself to others.

I want this to be the reason why we do the work God has given our hands to do – not simply to see our dreams come to fruition but to be obedient to what has been initiated within us, that His vision may be manifested right here. As I continue to grow in this mindset, it brings infinite meaning into the here and now because my daily work—work that seems unrelated to “ministry”— is infused with eternal purpose.

“One sows and another reaps.” [John 4:37]

As the rain soaks in the ground outside now, I can’t help but think of the decades of prayer for this town that have gone before us, preparing the soil for all that is happening. Those prayers have made ripe the opportunities to dream, build, grow, and uncover what we ‘pioneer-spirits’ are living into right now. The mantle now comes to us to live into what has been prepared and made ready with great attentiveness and care. He is gracious, and I feel so grateful to live here at this time, at this hour. How often in life does one really feel they can make an eternal and economic impact on a place? Honestly, it’s thrilling to me.

If you’re in Waco right now, you’re being invited into God’s vision for this place.

Maybe you would rather be somewhere else, or maybe you know you won’t be here forever. But the challenge remains to “dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness” [Psalm 37]. Perhaps it isn’t as much a choice about ‘investing in Waco’ as it is to surrender yourself to be fruitful, wherever you’re planted. It is daring and hard to choose and love a place and people despite the messiness, the mistakes, the mishaps—to live the unglamorous days. God can feed five thousand people with a boy’s small offering, and He can take our lives—whatever they hold—and further His vision for such a time as this.

What can you do to cultivate?


“The farther the outward journey takes you, the deeper the inward journey must be.  Only when your roots are deep can your fruit be abundant.”  -Henri Nouwen

  • Pray that as we expand and grow as a city, that our roots would grow deeper
  • Pray that the City of Waco would make the wisest choices for outlining our growth, that the right people would be in the right positions making the best decisions.
  • Ask the Lord what it is you have to give—dreams, resources, ambitions, anything—through which He might reveal Himself and manifest His vision.


Link up with programs in the city that are driven by the real needs of real people. Link up with programs that Antioch has going on to connect with the community, like the STARS program, Grace House, or the Community Feast. If we are focused more on new restaurants and less on people, then we miss it. We truly progress if we ALL progress, and this starts at a one-on-one level.

By Kimberly Batson

20 Things to do in Waco This Summer


  • 1. Visit the bears at the Baylor bear enclosure and get a snack at the student union building
  • 2. Go to Baylor with your swimming gear and play in the fountains at the science building
  • 3. Ride bikes around campus
  • 4. Have a picnic on Fountain Mall, be sure to bring a frisbee or ball to play after you eat
  • 5. Go to the Waco Library, click here for a full list of their summer program events
  • 6. Go swimming at Tonkawa Falls
  • 7. Have lunch at the food trucks and play games on the lawn at Magnolia
  • 8. Spend an afternoon at the Mayborn Museum (admission is free on the first Sunday of every month)
  • 9. Picnic at Mountainview park, the park includes a playground and water features
  • 10. Visit Cameron Park:
    • Picnic at Pecan Bottoms and Splash Pad
    • Walk the River Trail and feed the ducks
    • Climb Jacob’s Ladder
    • Hike around Proctor Springs (be sure to find the spring)
    • Bike down one of the trails
  • 11. Check out the Dr Pepper Museum
  • 12. Take a swim at the YMCA outdoor pool – a day pass is $5 per child and $10 per adult
  • 13. Jump around at Urban Air
  • 14. Visit Cameron Park Zoo, check out their list of summer events
  • 15. Check out the Mammoth Cave
  • 16. Play putt putt or go go-kart racing at Lion’s Park
  • 17. Visit Hawaiian Falls
  • 18. Rent paddleboards or kayaks from Waco Paddle Company and head out on the Brazos
  • 19. Go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning
  • 20. Beat the heat and stop by Coco’s for a snow cone

The Gathering 2017

On Sunday we gathered with our city to worship Jesus at Baylor’s McLane Stadium, and it was powerful! We were led in worship by leaders from local churches and a 1,000 voice choir. Spiritual leaders from around Waco led us in praying for our city, and singer, Anthony Evans, led us in a song as well. Miles McPherson, former NFL football player and pastor of The Rock Church in San Diego, shared to wrap up the evening. Many were stirred to respond to Jesus, and we are so encouraged by the way God is moving in our city!


A special thanks to our photographers: Josh Lo and Jordan Brown.

How to Pray for Our City

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5:14

I’m convinced Waco is a city set on a hill. The Lord has spoken words of life over Waco time and time again, and we have the opportunity to partner with Him to see the glory of God magnified in this place.

In the early 1900s Waco was known as a place of hope and healing. People would travel from all over to visit the artesian springs that supposedly had healing powers. The springs are long gone, but healing, restoration and hope is still something that marks our city.


Waco doesn’t only hold an expectation for physical healing it has also poised itself to be a place for people to find restoration and life in Jesus. Years ago revival was evident at Baylor University. At a conference, students were stirred by the presence of God and found themselves with a desire to be completely sold out to God. This desire is still alive in people all over our city. Last week we hosted Nights of Revival, and the Auditorium was packed night after night as people encountered the presence of God and hungered for more.

Driving around Waco, it is evident our city is filled with different cultures. Our city is painted with diversity, and it’s not only beautiful, but needed. As we’re unified throughout our city, God is glorified. Two years ago churches across the city came together to host The Gathering, a city-wide worship celebration. The culture of Heaven was on display at McLane Stadium as people were unified to worship Jesus.

Waco is a place marked by God, and through prayer, we have the opportunity to believe for His Kingdom to come in our city.


  • Hope and Healing // Whether someone is in need of physical or emotional healing, pray for God to miraculously heal those needing a touch from Him. Pray for hope to be ignited throughout Waco, and for the hopeless to find fresh life.
  • Revival // Pray for a move of God to spread across Waco, and for people to deeply encounter the presence of God. Pray for those in our city that don’t know Jesus to meet Him in a real way.
  • Unity // Pray for the culture of Heaven to be a reality in Waco as we learn to celebrate the diversity of our city. Pray for the churches in our city to lead out in being unified.
  • The Gathering // This Sunday, April 9th, our city will come together to host The Gathering at McLane Stadium once again. Pray for the leaders and speakers to be covered, and for people to fill the stadium and find hope and life in Jesus.

Join us at The Gathering, this Sunday, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at McLane Stadium. It will be a powerful time as we worship and hear from Pastor Miles McPherson, Baylor basketball coach Scott Drew and musical artist Anthony Evans. Doors open at 4:15 p.m. and the event is free, but we encourage you to bring canned goods to donate to Caritas and Shepherd’s Heart food pantries. Learn more, including information on where to park at thegatheringwaco.com.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Coordinator

Making the Most of Your Summer: In Waco

Waco is a wonderland. At least that’s what people always say, right? You may be wondering, “What exactly is there to do in Waco?”

After spending my summer here for the last few years I can assure you, Waco really is a wonderland, and there is no better time than summertime in this great city.

Check out some of my suggestions on what to do in Waco during the summer:
  • Get outside this summer! With one of the largest parks in the country, the Brazos River and Lake Waco, there are many opportunities for some fun in the sun:
    • Cameron Park: Waco is home to one of the largest municipal parks, located right along the Brazos River. Grab some friends and have a picnic by the river, go on a hike or play a round of frisbee golf. The options are almost endless.
    • Brazos River: Speaking of the river, be sure to take an opportunity to get out on the water. Head over to Bicycle World, located in downtown Waco, to rent a kayak, paddle board or canoe.
    • Cameron Park Zoo: If you can’t make it on a safari this summer, Waco has the next best thing! Head out to Cameron Park Zoo for an afternoon with some wildlife.
    • Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market: Saturday mornings were made for the farmer’s market! Reject the snooze on Saturday morning and grab some breakfast or do a little grocery shopping all in one place. During the summer, the market is also open on Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • With the Texas heat, you’ll definitely want to get a cold, sweet treat and these places are worth visiting:
    • Mr. Snow Shaved Ice Stand: This is your classic snow cone stand with flavors like Ninja Turtle and Wedding Cake as some of the favorites. What makes this place stand out among the rest is their combination of snow cones and ice cream rolled into one treat called a Love Nest.
    • Heritage Creamery: Located right next to Common Grounds coffee shop, this creamery is a perfect combination of hipster vibes and waffle cones. Their unique flavors include honey lavender and oatmeal brown sugar. I like a more classic salty vanilla bean, but don’t be afraid to venture out with a more daring flavor.
    • Common Grounds: If you’re not feeling ice cream, stop by Common Grounds and try a Cowboy Coffee. If you’re not much of a coffee drinker, try the Moroccan mint tea. Either option makes for a refreshing, afternoon pick-me-up.
    • Pokey O’s: This dessert truck specializes in sweet Blue Bell Ice Cream squished between two homemade cookies. What could be better than that? Because this is a food truck, you’ll have to check their Instagram to find out their location and hours.
  • If you’re not really feeling the outdoors or something sweet, check out some of these other fun places in Waco:
    • Waco Hippodrome: This recently renovated theatre is the perfect place to catch a movie. With a twist on your traditional movie snack bar, the Hippodrome offers full-service dining during the movie.
    • Downtown Food Trucks: Venture out of traditional restaurants and head to the food trucks downtown. The food trucks offer a hip, Austin vibe with shorter lines and less traffic. From Greek, to Indian to traditional Texas barbecue, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
    • Magnolia Market: Have you heard of Fixer Upper? There’s no way you can live in Waco and not know about the hit HGTV show! Check out Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market Silos to find some inspiration for your home or hang out with friends in the backyard.
      • Local Tip: If you go on Wednesdays, you can enjoy a grilled cheese from Cheddar Box food truck for only $5, just tell them you’re there for Wacotown Wednesday.
    • Visit a Museum: Take in a little culture with the Art Center of Waco, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the Mayborn Museum or the Dr Pepper Museum.

There are endless possibilities to have some fun in Waco, and I hope by the end of the summer, you’ll be convinced that Waco really is a wonderland.

By Destiny Gonzalez- Antioch Communications Coordinator

dc headshot

It’s Complicated: Part 3

Today, College Pastor Carl Gulley wrapped up our series with a message on crucial conversations. There are two sides to crucial conversations, the way we address them and the way we respond. These conversations aren’t always easy, but the reward is always worth the risk.

Key Takeaways:
  • Crucial conversations are when the stakes are high, opinions vary and emotions run strong. (From the book, Crucial Conversations, by Kerry Patterson)
  • The peace you are longing for could require a crucial conversation on your part, whether we like it or not.
  • The reward of these conversations is worth the risk it’s going to take.
  • When a follower of Jesus holds the conviction that he or she needs to step into the awkward zone and have a crucial conversation, the result could effect their relationship with God and their relationships across the board.
  • Questions, not accusations, lead to reconciliation.
  • How to address crucial conversations (Abigail’s approach from 1 Samuel 25:18-35):
    • 1) Come in humbly (The soft start-up. Harsh responses have a 96 percent chance of ending negatively.)
    • 2) Ask questions
    • 3) Briefly state the offense (Inlcude context and specific examples, but keep it brief.)
    • 4) Give them a chance to respond
Key Scriptures:
In Response:

Carl left us with a challenge to welcome feedback and correction this week by asking three people the following question:

“What is it like to be on the other side of me?”

We all need help to see our blind spots. Who are the people in your life that can help you see yours? Ask them this question this week and take ownership of your actions. It’s worth it!

Catch up on the sermons from Week 1 or Week 2 if you missed them.

What to Do in Waco

“There’s nothing to do in Waco.”

This was a common sentiment among me and my friends throughout college. When it came to the weekends (or weekdays for that matter), we would consistently find ourselves sitting around trying to figure out what in the world to do with our lives and our free time in Waco.

But much has changed in Waco in the past several years. Now, when I think about what to do at night or on the weekend the phrase is not, “What’s there to do in Waco,” but instead, “What part of Waco do I want to experience today?”

My family and I have a few go-to, tried-and-true Waco sites that we visit on a consistent basis, but I thought I would toss the net wide to others in our community and ask for their favorite things to do in our great city.

The response was overwhelming!

For several days, college students, young professionals, retirees, parents with kids and even new-to-towners shared their Waco favorites.

The list ran pretty long, so I decided to break it up into a few different categories including Off the Beaten Path Must Do’s, Local Eateries, and Overall Top Vote Getters. Check out the lists (keep coming back when you need some ideas).


Off the Beaten Path Must Do’s:

  • Homestead Heritage
    • Go there on Saturday mornings for breakfast (order the Sweet Potato pancakes – with angel kisses topping) and then walk around all the shops and observe people working at their crafts- woodworking, pottery, etc.
  • Lake Waco Wetlands
    • Visit the wetlands and take a beautiful scenic walk around the area that includes some incredible local wildlife.
  • Slippery Minnow
    • Catch some live music, watch the sunset on Lake Waco and enjoy a nice chicken sandwich.
    • The Slippery Minnow is currently closed for the season, but will reopen in the spring.

Local Eateries:

  • Lula Janes
    • Owner Nancy Grayson started Lula Jane’s after launching the Rapaport Academy in East Waco. The food here is fresh, with one entrée to choose from per day and an assortment of delicious home-baked goods.
  • World Cup Café
    • Mission Waco launched the World Cup Café several years ago as a catalyst for economic development in the Northside neighborhood. Since that time it has become a hub for great conversations and down home comfort food.
  • Common Grounds and Dichotomy
    • If you need a little pick me up either early in the morning or late at night, these are your go-to places. Their styles could not be more different, but they are both great places to grab a nice hot drink and sit down for some cool conversations.
    • Try Common Ground’s Cowboy Coffee for a caffeine boost, or Dichotomy’s pure cane sugar Dr Pepper paired with a shot of espresso for something new.
  • Lolita’s
    • If you didn’t know that breakfast tacos were such a thing, visit Lolita’s and order the Elefante and your life will never be the same.
  • George’s, Viteks
    • If you need to get in touch with your inner meat lover, then be sure to check out Vitek’s Gut Pak or George’s world famous chicken fried steak (or chicken).
  • Dessert – Katie’s Custard, Heritage Creamery, Pokey O’s
    • Your late night dessert cravings should never be neglected with this delectable assortment of dessert places in Waco. Whether it’s the harvest cyclone from Katie’s Custard or the ooey gooey goodness of an ice cream sandwich from Pokey O’s, you will be sure to find sugary goodness at one of these stops.
  • Health Camp
    • Health Camp offers some of the best burgers, fries and milkshakes in town. And don’t be deceived by the name…there’s nothing healthy about it, but it sure is good.

Top Vote Getters:

  • Cameron Park
    • In the heart of downtown sits the second largest inner city park in America (just after Central Park in NYC). This park boasts some of the state’s best mountain biking trails, miles of running trails, two disc golf courses, the indomitable Jacobs Ladder and incredible views from Lover s Leap and Lawson’s Point (ahem…).
  • Cameron Park Zoo
    • If you thought you heard a lion in the woods of Cameron Park, you’re not crazy. The Cameron Park Zoo is smack dab in the middle of the park and boasts an incredible array of animals including lions, tigers and of course bears!
  • Baylor Campus
    • Walk around campus, swing on the green and gold swings, see the new business school, run the bear trail, see the bears and enjoy the new Baylor Fountain on Fountain Mall.
  • Farmers Market
    • One of the greatest improvements in the life of our city over the past few years has definitely been the growth and development of the Farmers Market on the River on Saturday mornings. With live music and local goodness from some of our favorites like Cheddar Box, Sergios and Co-Town Crepes, this is definitely the place to be on Saturday mornings.
  • Enjoy the Brazos
    • With a river that runs through the heart of our city, it is definitely something worth exploring. Whether it is kayaking or catching some waves on a wake board behind a boat, there is plenty of fun to be had on the water.
    • If you’re not one for getting wet, you can have a great time walking along the suspension bridge and riverfront trail and enjoying Indian Springs Park (just look for the cow statues).


Things that you should check out at Least Once:

  • World Hunger Relief Farm, Mammoth Site, Dr Pepper Museum, Waco Symphony, Art Center of Waco and of course the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.

Coming Soon:

  • Magnolia Silos, In N’ Out Burger

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Waco. So go ahead and get out there, explore, invest in our beautiful city and bring others along with you!

By Josh Lawson, Director of Community Engagement


Fathers and Mothers in the Lord

One of our favorite speakers we’ve had at World Mandate is Floyd McClung, founder of All Nations and author of multiple books. We love Floyd, and love this incredible message he has for our blog readers today.

There is a cry in many people’s hearts for someone to father or mother them. There are many spiritual orphans who have never had the opportunity to be loved into wholeness. Fatherlessness is a curse on a nation, and the result of that curse is wounded people carrying an orphan spirit.

The pain in the lives of spiritual orphans empowers five lies:

• The Rejection Lie – I must protect myself from others

• The Fear Lie – I must hide myself from others

• The Performance Lie – I must prove myself to others

• The Blame Lie – I must defend myself from others

• The Control Lie – I must manage myself and others

Spiritual fathers and mothers are mature fathers and mothers because they are not controlled by these lies, nor do they fall into the trap of modifying the behavior of those who believe these lies. They go for the heart. They know that lies are empowered by pain and that Jesus is the truth to heal the pain and dispel the lies.

Fathers and mothers in the Lord do five things well:

• Spiritual Fathers and Mothers Enable Others to ActThey foster collaboration and build life-giving teams. They actively involve others. They understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts; they strive to create an atmosphere of trust and dignity, of faith and vision. They strengthen others by sharing information and providing choice. Their give their own power away, making each person feel capable and powerful.

• Spiritual Mothers and Fathers Inspire a Common Vision – They inspire people to believe they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what their spiritual family can become. Through their passionate appeals and quiet persuasion, they enlist others in the dream. They breathe life into the shared vision and get people to see the exciting future possibilities.

• Fathers and Mothers Challenge the Status Quo – They search for opportunities to change the status quo. They look for innovative was to improve their church. They are learners and they encourage others to ask questions and think for themselves. They are always looking for what God wants to teach them. They experiment and take risks. And since risk taking involves mistakes and failure, they accept the inevitable disappointments as learning opportunities. They believe there are no failures, just learning.

• Spiritual Fathers and Mothers Model the Way – They create standards of common values and then set an example for others to follow. They establish values about how members of the community and staff should be treated. Because complex change can overwhelm and stifle action, they celebrate small wins. They unravel or remove bureaucracy, put up signposts for the way forward, and create opportunities for victory. They celebrate failure if people try, and rejoice in little obediences as the way to get to big obediences.

Spiritual Mothers and Fathers Encourage the Heart – They provide opportunities for healing wounded hearts. They get extraordinary things done in their church or movement by doing lots of hard work based on grace, not performance. They keep hope and determination alive. They honor contributions that individuals make. And because every spiritual family needs to share in the rewards of their efforts, they celebrate accomplishments. They make everyone feel like a hero.

There are seven reflection questions that allow us to assess our level of maturity as spiritual fathers and mothers:

• Does our leadership and discipleship restrict or liberate people?

• Does it lead to conformity or does it promote creativity?

• Does it bring dependence on us or on God?

• Does it produce servility or servanthood?

• Does it build on rules or grace?

• Does it undermine or build a person’s confidence?

• Does it produce fear or faith?

In closing, consider Paul’s message to the Corinthians about being a spiritual father or mother:

“I’m not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten. I’m writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled. There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God’s Message to you that I became your father. I’m not, you know, asking you to do anything I’m not already doing myself.” 1 Corinthians 4:14-16 The Message

In the NKJV translation of verse 15 it says, “…though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ…”

The Greek word used for instructor is a word used for those who supervise children until they reach adulthood. Paul is saying the Corinthians have had a lot of baby sitters but it’s time for them to grow up, and the key to that is having a spiritual father or mother in their lives.

Spiritual fathers and mothers are not instructors for spiritual babies. They are fathers and mothers in the Lord who know God.

Floyd with our college Impact Trip team in Capetown, South Africa this summer.

*I am indebted to Larry Kreider for his book, The Cry for Spiritual Mothers and Fathers. I have adapted the five characteristics of spiritual mothers and fathers from the book, The Leadership Challenge, by Posner and Kouzes.

I have written more extensively on spiritual fathering and mothering in my book, The Father Heart of God, and in You See Bones – I See an Army.