7 Keys to Building People

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Are you passionate about building people? I know I am. I want the Lord to use me to build people every day–and to use this ministry to build people.

I have been asking Jesus for years to teach me how to make disciples like He does.

After all, He is the Chief Disciple Maker, right? He took 12 men (and a bunch of women, too!) and spent His life with them. He poured into them and taught them, both in word and by example, daily.

When Jesus returned to Heaven and left what was left of His work to His Holy Spirit to perform, those 12 men and that bunch of women absolutely turned the world upside down.

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    Yes, I know it was “not by might, nor by power,” but by God’s Spirit that the disciples changed the world. But it was also JESUS who prepped them. It was Jesus who taught them in person first, even before the Holy Spirit was poured out.

    So what did Jesus do to make disciples? What were His methods?

    And how did He go about the task of building people every single day?

    Over the years that I’ve been praying, asking Jesus to teach me how to make disciples, I’ve learned a few things about pouring into people that I wanted to share with you today.

    Without further ado, here are seven keys to building people and helping them become all that God made them to be:

    1. Value people for who they are, not for what they can do for you.

    It’s twisted and off-kilter–even narcissistic–to value people only for what they can do for you. Any decent parent would never say to their child, “I love you because you take out the trash.” No; if you have the heart of God for your child, then you love your child because they exist.

    No other reason.

    That means:

    • Your child doesn’t have to perform a certain way for you to love them.
    • Your child doesn’t have to adhere to your plans for their lives in order for you to love them.
    • Your child doesn’t have to be just like you in order for you to love them!

    If you’re a good parent, you love your child merely because they exist. You love them because God sent them to you. You love them no matter what, and because of that love you celebrate their uniqueness!

    However, in the church today, too many people love others only to the extent that they can use them.

    Once upon a time, my husband and I found it necessary to leave a church we had faithfully attended and served for 13 years. When we left, the pastor said to us, “We’ll miss you, because you tithe and you show up to work.” That just about said everything that could be said about that leader’s mindset. In that culture, people were only valued to the extent that the organization could, very literally, “use them.”

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    However, if we have the heart of God the Father toward people, we will love people for reasons that have nothing to do with how they can serve us.

    This means:

    As you pour into people, use your ministry to build people. Don’t use people to build your ministry. Just value people for who GOD made them to be, and pour yourself into each person because that’s what Jesus says we should do.

    2. People will become who you tell them they are. Every time.

    Romans 4:16-17 teaches us that God speaks those things that are not as if they already were. Check out this verse:

    Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Romans 4:16-17 NKJV, emphasis mine).

    For this reason, speak life into people.

    Even if they’re acting dead in some way, YOU be the person to speak LIFE into them. For example:

    • Tell that person who’s shy and lacks confidence that they ARE a mighty warrior. The truth of God’s Word is that they ARE mighty in Christ!
    • Tell that person who thinks they’re not good enough to teach a Bible study that they ARE anointed, appointed, and called! According to Matthew 28:18-20 (the Great Commission), that’s the truth of God’s Word!
    • Tell that person who feels they aren’t smart enough to complete a college degree that they can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens them! After all, that’s the truth of God’s Word!

    People will become who you tell them they are.

    If you tell someone that they’re smart, strong, powerful in God, anointed, and skillful, that is exactly what they will be and become. People will rise to the level of the truth you SPEAK into their lives!

    On the other hand, if you tell someone (adult OR child) that they’re a no-good, low-down, dirty bum who will never amount to anything, you’ll see they will become that too. Words have power, and curses have power just like blessings do. Therefore, we must always be careful to speak only words of LIFE.

    As it says in James 3:10:

    “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:10 NKJV).

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    Everything you see was created by the spoken word.

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    Therefore, determine with God’s help to be a person who speaks life-giving words of blessing.

    Ask the Lord to set a watch on your mouth, and to prevent you from ever speaking words that are not from Him. Ask Him to fill your mouth with His words, and to let His Word run swiftly out of your mouth into the earth! He will answer your prayer if you will ask.

    3. Allow people to fail sometimes.

    I know it’s really difficult to see someone you love fail at something, but the fact is that failure is part of life. Failure is part of learning and growing. And you can’t protect every person from every mistake!

    Of course, during the process of discipleship and mentoring, you will find that you can help prevent people from making some mistakes. It’s easiest to help people when your mentee actually asks you for help–and when they’re humble enough to not only ask, but also to listen!

    However, along your journey of making disciples and building people, you will find that sometimes people just want to act on their own.

    This is not always a bad thing. Imagine your child; you don’t always want to have to tie their shoes and get them dressed, do you? Indeed not; you want your child to leave the baby stage and begin picking out their own clothes, putting their own socks on, and brushing their own teeth.

    Well, in the same way, people learn and grow by doing things for themselves. And sometimes, that means they will fail.

    For example:

    • Their good idea may turn out to be not so good.
    • Their effort to do something may not be enough to actually get the job done.
    • They might make an error in judgment and learn a lesson the hard way.

    Nevertheless, you have to let them learn. Sometimes people learn best through failure. (Hey, some people are so arrogant that they refuse mentorship and guidance, thereby refusing to learn any other way except by failure.) And when people fail, they have just learned one way that such-and-such will not work out.

    Failure is not a bad thing. As a mentor and disciple-maker, do everything you can to teach people to make choices that do stay in obedience to God’s Word. But even within those realms, sometimes people will fail anyway.

    When that happens …

    Let them fail.

    Let them learn.

    Don’t automatically come to their rescue.

    Failure is part of learning and growing. It’s a natural part of growing up, both physically and spiritually. If people need help, they will either ask or learn the hard way. Be sensitive to Holy Spirit’s guidance and give people space to learn, even if they choose to learn the hard way.

    4. Help is nice, but at some point you have to allow people to do it themselves.

    When a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, there’s a crucial moment in their development. That crucial moment is the moment when the newly-formed butterfly has to break out of its strong, silky cocoon.

    When that butterfly is ready to break out of its cocoon, it uses its wings to do so. And believe it or not, the very process of pushing those wings against the walls of the cocoon is what strengthens those wings to hold the weight of the butterfly.

    Without that process of breaking free, the butterfly will die. Its wings will not get strong enough to hold its weight or help it fly, and the butterfly is doomed.

    For humans also, it is quite literally the struggle of breaking free that sometimes strengthens us for the battle called life.

    When you’re making disciples, building people, and pouring into people, you will generally be a little farther ahead of them in some area. Therefore, you will generally have the ability, and sometimes the resources, to “make” certain things happen for them. You’ll see them with a dream, and you’ll want to make it happen!

    However, be careful.

    There are some times when making someone’s dream happen is a good thing. (See key #6 below for more on that.) But, other times, the person needs the strength that comes from pushing in order to stand on their own two feet.

    For example:

    • Yes, you could help them write that book by ghostwriting from their social media posts, but they need to write the book themselves in order to be able to repeat the process.
    • Yes, you could pay off all their debt, but they need the struggle of paying it off for themselves in order to get cured from using debt. If you eliminate their struggle, they won’t know how hard it is to pay debt off–and they’ll continue thinking debt is an easy fix that gets them what they want!
    • Yes, you could send them to school all expenses paid, but then they won’t have to work very hard and won’t cherish their degree. What if you help them some, but make sure they work as many hours as they can to pay their own way first? Then, they will really appreciate the help–and they’ll use the degree they worked so hard to earn.

    Every person’s life can be likened to the life of a butterfly:

    • The preparatory stage of learning and being challenged is like the caterpillar eating the leaves.
    • The hidden growth of character, and the challenges people face while learning to persevere, can be likened to the caterpillar’s time swaddled up in a cocoon.
    • Then, the birthing process–where people fly into the destiny God has for them–is like the butterfly coming out of the cocoon and winging away on its first flight into the open sky.

    Just like a butterfly, a person is also strengthened by breaking out of a cocoon on their own. Don’t rob them of that opportunity by trying to do absolutely everything for them. The struggle makes you strong.

    Some help is nice sometimes, but be extremely Spirit-led in deciding what help to offer.

    5. Train up a child OR an adult in the way THEY should go–not the way you want them to go.

    When you train or develop any person, do so to help them become who THEY are–not trying to make them whom YOU want them to be. As it says in Proverbs 22:6:

    “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV).

    This means don’t try to make someone into a miniature version of you when they’re not a miniature version of you. 🙂

    For example, how many times have you heard stories where parents raised and trained their child to take over the family business–but that child has no inclination, gifting, or passion whatever for that family business? In situations like that, the parents are training up a child in the way the parents want the child to go. However, they are not necessarily training up the child in the way that child should go at all.

    Building people works the same way whether the person is an adult or a child. When you’re pouring into someone, help them become who they are–not a carbon copy of you.

    The world doesn’t need another “you.” But, the world and the Kingdom DO need every person to be 100% themselves.

    Every person was divinely crafted by God to be 100% unique and original. If you want to be an effective disciple maker, help people embrace their godly uniqueness. Teach them to recognize the voice of God, the leading of God, and the call of God for themselves. And train them up in the way THEY should go, based on who GOD created them to be.

    6. Help people realize their dreams.

    Most people have dreams and aspirations. However, many people think their dreams could never become reality. They think their dreams, wishes, wants, and desires are impossible, and will forevermore stay impossible.

    But, as a builder of people and a maker of disciples, one of your jobs is to teach people the truth of Luke 1:37:

    “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37 NKJV).

    Friend, if you want to build people, become a dream whisperer.

    What do I mean by “dream whisperer”? Only this:

    • Be a person who demonstrates that dreams can come true.
    • Encourage people to have faith for their dreams.
    • Talk with people about their ideas and dreams. Help them look up and out, rather than allowing people to get stuck in navel-gazing.
    • Challenge people in the areas of their dreams. Ask them what their plans and goals are. Encourage them to get started. Challenge them to take specific, concrete action toward their dreams!

    Also, no matter how unrealistic someone’s dream may seem to you, as long as it’s a godly dream (meaning, it lines up with God’s Word), you have to believe in people–and in their ability to see their dreams come to fruition.

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    Believing in people makes a big difference.

    If someone says they want to pastor a church, believe in them that they can do it. Do everything you can to encourage them to take action toward that goal.

    Never tell them they can’t do it; God’s Word says they can! And if a godly dream is in someone’s heart, it’s only because GOD put it there.

    No matter how far off or unlikely a dream may seem, believe in that person. Believe in the call of God on their lives, and believe in their ability to follow God and see it come to fruition.

    Beloved, BELIEVE in the people you are raising up.

    Let them know you believe in them, too. And become a dream whisperer who intercedes, develops, encourages, and disciples people all the way along the path and into their dreams.

    7. Above all, pray for them.

    If you want to build people, pray for them. Pray without ceasing. Pray purposefully. Pray through the Scriptures. Pray through prayer lists. Intercede for them at all times. Fast and pray for them if you have to!

    When you’re discipling people, you learn really fast why the apostle Paul wrote that we should pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). 🙂 Discipling people will challenge you spiritually, mentally, physically, and in every other area. However, it’s more than worth it–but the key is prayer.

    Every person needs an intercessor.

    Most of us need two or three or ten intercessors. Life is just that challenging. 🙂 But if you are called to build people (and you are), with that call comes a God-ordained mandate to pray and intercede before the throne of grace for the people you are discipling.

    All of us need God’s help. None of us can access His help without prayer. And while someone is in the throes of growth, they need more prayer than ever.

    So, if you want to become an effective maker of disciples and builder of people, become an intercessor.

    Related: Read my book How to Become an Intercessor here.

    Beloved, we are all called to build people.

    You are called to pour yourself out in the service of others, just like I am. Jesus called us all into this same ministry; He called us to go and make disciples.

    Making disciples means building people. It means pouring into people. It means believing in them and letting Jesus use you as His hands and feet to build someone else up.

    Are you engaged in this call to build people already? If so, then I encourage you to examine your methods today:

    • Are you using your ministry to build people? Or, are you using people to build your ministry?
    • Do you believe in people and tell them so?
    • Do you use every opportunity to speak life into people?
    • Do you pray without ceasing for the ones you are discipling?
    • Are you challenging them to go after their dreams in the power of God’s Holy Spirit?

    If you will do what Jesus did and make disciples, you will see God’s Kingdom increase–and you will find more fulfillment in your own heart than you ever dreamed. Building people is a joy. And when you pour yourself into this effort, you will well be able to identify with the Psalmist who wrote:

    “As for the saints who are on the earth, ‘They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight'” (Psalm 16:3 NKJV).

    Are you using these seven principles of building people every day? Do these seven keys inspire you to love people more and serve them better? If so, leave a comment below!

    One Comment

    1. DAVID TETTEH DAMEH says:

      Pastor, may the Almighty God bless you. Am also a leader of a church but this teaching has opened my spiritual eye. I will rearrange my my styles of building my people in the church and everyone I came across who need this important factors. Once again thanks.

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