This year has been a most glorious demonstration of God’s ability to change His people. When I came to Florence Alabama 5 years ago, I shared with a group of people the methods of making disciples that God taught me in Africa. This group believed and agreed to enter into this process of Spirit led discipleship. This method involves learning what God is doing in ones life and cooperating with God. Now, we are witnessing incredible fruit in terms of spiritual growth. God is visiting these people in astounding ways and changing them because man is not controlling their spiritual growth.


God is creating a passion in these students because God has access to their hearts. We read in 1 Peter 5:1-3 a most powerful word to church leaders, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” Did you note verse 3, don’t lord it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.


This is one of the most crucial rules of how to make disciples. We don’t control the people to do the right thing. We don’t become the Holy Spirit in their lives. So what should we do? Simple, you live an example of being surrendered to Christ and God is faithful to complete the work within them. We find that what happens when such an example is established in leadership, a most amazing display of God’s access to His people results.


Recently one of our students had an real problem of controlling others. After a season of prayer for Him, the Lord sent me to his house to share about finding his identity in Christ. “You find your value in what you do, so you control those around you.” “No, I don’t,” he said, “Yes you do,” I said. “How do you know this,” he asked. “God told me while praying for you,” I told him. Finally, after a long discussion and getting no real victory I left and told him to seek God for the truth about this issue.


A few hours later he calls me and to tell me God had spoken to Him. He had asked God directly was he finding his value in doing good, rather then in what Christ had done on the cross. God gave him a verse he did not know, until he had looked it up. It was Romans 10:3, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” Wow,” He repented to God right then and there. It changed his life in the most amazing way. His wife could not believe how much he changed. The control was gone; the joy of a new intimacy with God came as a result. But I was amazed at how adamant he was that he did not have a problem with value. He said, “I know who I am in Christ.” I told him, “You may know but you don’t believe.” It’s a big difference between knowing and believing. But the key was not what I said that caused him to change it was what God told him. God wants very much to speak into His people but leaders have told God’s people what to do and have blocked God’s access to them. This is just one of many stories of how God is changing our students in the School of Discipleship.


Thank you for your prayers and support,


Dr. Stephen L Gray