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Some people are understandably skeptical when I tell them that God called my wife and me to be missionaries in Hawaii. Living in the proverbial paradise for 13 years and serving some of the most wonderful people in the world definitely has its perks. But it also has its challenges.

Like every other part of the world, Hawaii has forces of darkness constantly at work against the advancement of God’s kingdom. Regardless of such opposition, we have seen the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophetic word in Matt. 16:18 promising that the “gates of hell” shall not prevail against His church (KJV).

Jesus spoke those words to encourage us to press through every challenge we face in our calling to build His church. As leaders, we should echo the same encouragement to those we are investing in, especially emerging leaders.

I’m very thankful that I had great leaders around me who lovingly shepherded me when I was facing trials. They taught me what to do, but they also walked with me through the fire and cared for me when the heat mildly burned my soul. Today I’m richly blessed, not only because I live and serve in Hawaii, but also because I have caring people around me.

I learned early on that raising up and releasing leaders is not just about training them. It has a lot to do with sincerely caring for them. When we train others, our focus is on helping them develop skills. When we care for others, our focus is helping them develop character.

We should train emerging leaders constantly and diligently. Furthermore, we must remain committed to walk with them and care for them when the gates of hell try to oppose them. By doing both, we will raise up effective leaders who reflect the image of Jesus in every area of their lives. It’s not just about what people do, but who they become.

The more opportunities I have to build relationships with other ministers inside and outside our Foursquare family, the more I find that pastors have accumulated great training over the years but have had no environment where others cared for them. They are over trained, and under cared for.

We need to realize that all the training in the world means nothing if our leaders are not cared for properly. If we are serious about raising up and releasing people, we must be intentional about doing both with excellence: training and caring.

If you are currently training emerging leaders around you, I encourage you to make a long-term commitment to ensure they are constantly cared for. If you have trained leaders in the past, make an effort to connect with them with the purpose of caring for them. The kingdom of God always wins when those who serve Him are healthy, effective and lovingly cared for.

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is the former supervisor for the historic Pacific Southwest District of The Foursquare Church.