How do you grow character?


My whole life I have been relentlessly trying to better myself.

I think it all started in middle school. I had an English class that I struggled with. After some testing I discovered I was dyslexic.

Before this discovery was made my teacher made me feel incompetent. My mom even had me take a professional intelligence test in which I faired quite well. This drove me to prove to the world how competent I truly was.

My objective: be the most competent person I could be.

After completing my bachelor’s degree and before I started my master’s, it didn’t take much observation to realize that traditional education doesn’t necessarily produce great leaders. It absolutely can help, but a doctorate in leadership doesn’t necessarily make a great leader. A person may know a lot about leadership, but the ability to actually lead is something different. That is why I decided to fervently seek mentoring first. I spent the next decade working under amazing leaders in phenomenal ministries. They were powerful men with a lot of influence in their communities. I loved learning from them! So many hours and so many conversations. I am beyond grateful. That truly was my first master’s degree. After taking the role of lead pastor I went back to the traditional classroom. I loved it as well! I really enjoyed graduate school.

Now I find myself looking for doctoral degrees. Late at night I search through programs online looking for another way to continue growing my competencies.

Than God spoke to me through a few different people and a few different authors. “Mike, grow your character not just your competencies.”

So, how do you do this? Traditional school isn’t directly or primarily about character development. Sure, they can assign books about character development and one could even ace a test over the information and not actually BE of good character. This is true spiritually too – it’s possible to ace a test about spiritual disciplines and not be a spiritually sound person. I don’t want to just learn about some hip new form of an ancient discipline, I want to actually grow in character and be spiritually sound.

I feel like God has put it on my heart to grow my character, not just my competencies. I want to be like Jesus, not just know a lot about him.

I say the world desperately needs Christians who are just as intentional about growing their character as they are about growing their competency.

Honestly, I feel like I am still a high school kid in character all while having a competency far beyond that.

I believe the world desperately needs competent Christians who are just as serious about their character development.

So, how does one go about growing character?   Not just learning about it, but actually GROWING in it.

*picture credit to

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