The Power of an Open Home

Without trust, discipleship cannot be effective.

Author and Pastor Stanley Mehta opens Chapter Two of his book, The Art of Raising Leaders, with those impactful words.

Where better to build that trust than within the home?

Pastor Stanley stresses how important it is to keep an open home in order to raise the next generation of leaders.

In today’s culture, an open home translates more as “entertaining” than “hospitality.” In our busy lives, an open homes comes with many qualifiers. Google calendars must sync up. Elaborate menus must be planned. The music and lighting and crockery must be on point.

But true hospitality is much simpler – and also much more powerful. Pastor Stanley uses an old Sanskrit proverb – ‘Atithi Dev Bhava’ – to point out the importance of practicing true Biblical hospitality. He explains that the saying means that one needs to welcome guests as one would welcome God. The word for “guest” in the proverb translates to ‘one who arrives without an appointment.’

In today’s world, a guest without an appointment is usually perceived as a nuisance. But receiving guests at any time is part of the Kingdom culture, says Pastor Stanley.

As one of the former pastors of Bombay Baptist Church in south Mumbai, Pastor Stanley and his wife, Esme, impacted many lives.

But that powerful, godly influence came at a cost. Right from the start of their ministry, Pastor Stanley and his wife insisted on opening the doors of their home to those in need. It meant sacrifice of personal space, of family time, and even finances.

He speaks of the time when as a young family living above the church building, they would open their home to the church youth for evening meetings. Gradually, after church, the young people would come up to Pastor Stanley’s house for lunch and stay on for the evening meeting and sometimes even later. But even with a limited salary, even with old furniture held together by rope and carpets that were falling apart, even with plates that were constantly being broken, hospitality shone through. Pastor Stanley and Esme were able to speak into the lives of the young people and disciple them.

Pastor Stanley also says that opening our homes gives the disciple-maker an avenue to hone the character of the disciple because of the trust that has been built in the intimate space of the home.

 

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Discipleship Spills Over Into Our Relationships

In his book, The Art of Raising Leaders, author and pastor, Stanley Mehta, speaks of how discipleship is the most Biblical form of leadership development.

If we intend to raise successors who will take our ministries forward, then Pastor Stanley emphasises that discipleship is the way forward.

He makes a clear distinction between discipleship and mentorship. While both are relational and foster learning, discipleship is founded and commanded by God. We have been given a divine commission to, “Go, and make disciples of all nations…” Jesus himself showed us a clear discipleship model at work in his three years of ministry.

While each of us is called to make disciples, it’s important that we too are discipled by those who may have walked down a similar road before us with godly grace and maturity.

For a seed to grow into a tree, Pastor Stanley says, it must be subject to a process. It has to be buried, it must receive nutrients and enough moisture from the soil. Only then will it fulfil its purpose. So too with an individual. To become a leader, he or she must subject themselves to quiet learning, to being nourished by others and by God’s Word, of going through struggles and overcoming them.

In The Art of Raising Leaders, Pastor Stanley shares from his vibrant, and often challenging, life as a pastor of Bombay Baptist Church, a century-old church in South Mumbai.

He remembers how, in his early years as a pastor, he was discipled by strong leaders who were willing to pour into his life. That discipleship didn’t just affect his role as a pastor, but it shaped him as a husband and father and friend, as well.

How does that happen? Pastor Stanley says simply yet powerfully: One of the main accomplishments of discipleship is a transformed character.

That transformation affects every aspect of our lives.

Pastor Stanley shares a personal example of how, in his early years of marriage, after a particularly intense disagreement with his wife, he had remained firmly in the “I’m right” camp – till he sought advice from his mentor in England.

After a long-distance call with his mentor, Pastor Stanley was able to reach out to his wife, and together they implemented some changes that his mentor had suggested. Their initial argument, which had led to a stalemate in their marriage, was resolved as his mentor spoke God’s truth into his heart and marriage relationship.

Pastor Stanley says simply: Discipleship helped restore our marriage relationship.

 

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