Sept 7 Affirming Calling

 

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit. Fruit that will last and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. -John 15:16

 

I honestly never dreamed of being in ministry, but here I am after forty three years,  looking back and realizing God sent me to a mission I absolutely love. There was definitely a call upon my life. I can remember my dad picking me up on a Friday night at Woodland Christian Camp, and I told him “I didn’t know what I would do with my life but I knew it had to be something in ministry and helping others.” That calling on my life to use my leadership for Christ has never wavered. I love helping others see their unique wiring, especially women leaders.  However, this past year has been a year like we have never seen before.

 

In the last six months, life has changed.  How many times have we heard the phrase “we are living in unprecedented times.”  The global pandemic is something no one ever dreamed would happen. Here are just a few examples of the changes we have experienced over the past six months:

  • Masks are now a part of our everyday world
  • Working from home
  • Virtual school is the new way of learning
  • Social distancing (no physical touch, stay 6 ft apart)
  • Plastic shield barriers are everywhere
  • No gatherings of more than 10 people
  • Unemployment has skyrocketed
  • Food pantries are struggling to keep up with the needs in their communities
  • Tension and personal stress are higher than ever

 What do these “unprecedented times” mean for leadership?  What does it mean to affirm and empower each other during a pandemic so that we can glorify God?

 

    Leadership is what is needed now more than ever.

 

People are looking for authentic, strong leadership. People are suffering, scared, frustrated, angry, confused and searching for answers. Godly female and male leaders are needed to step up and encourage others to use their unique gifting to impact a broken world.

 

I read a sign recently that said “Leaders are those who always empower others.”  In the middle of this world crisis God wants us to empower and mobilize people into action. Now is the time, like never before that we need strong committed Christ filled leaders!

 

Are there women and men that you know who have God-given leadership gifts that need to be mobilized for Christ? Ask yourself these three questions to help you discover leaders for these “unprecedented times.”

 

  1. Who are the leaders that people are drawn to for comfort and advice during this pandemic? One thing people are looking for in the middle of the COVID crisis is relationship. People being forced to withdraw into their own worlds has probably been one of the hardest things about this season. Jesus was all about relationships, especially in times of crisis when people felt discouraged and alone. His words calmed a sea, offered healing to the sick, and encouragement to the lost.  Today we are offering that same hope through virtual relational connections. Through technology, love and care can continue. The question then is how do we leverage virtual technology to fill the gap and bring relationships to the forefront?

 

  1. Who are the problem solvers (heroes) thinking outside the box on how to resolve issues? The pandemic has required leaders to be problem solvers. It has been so inspiring to hear stories of everyday people who went over the top helping others without expectations of gain or profit for themselves. One of the silver linings in the pandemic is how much creativity is being used in ministry and in every area of our lives. Virtual worship services and training are reaching more people than ever before. God’s Church is going outside the walls of their buildings and impacting their communities. Through the last six months every area of our life has been evaluated and reshaped. Our culture, as we knew it, will never return.  However, it is exciting to see God moving in fresh ways to bring the Good News to a world that is 24/7 being plagued by bad news.

 

  1. Who are the learners? Leaders continue to learn! Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating officer for Facebook and founder of Leanin.org says:  “The ability to LEARN is the most important quality a leader can have.”  Leaders never arrive …always evaluating, learning from other leaders and looking for ways to make it even better. It is exciting to see leaders coming together to share resources, evaluate and set new goals and strategies.  Our world has changed and leaders know that learning from each other will be critical as we move forward. The phrase “we have never done it that way before” cannot be a part or our vocabulary. Learners are free to dream more than we could ever imagined.

 

We have an opportunity as Christian leaders to lean into people’s lives.  God is going before us to raise up a new generation of leaders. I am confident of that! Leaders that see our “unprecedented times” as an opportunity like never before to impact the world for Christ. Yes, it can be a bit overwhelming, and at times exhausting, but the Spirit of God is going before us and anointing new leaders’ hearts. We are not just called to empower others but we GET to be part of them discovering and utilizing their unique gifts to glorify God. There’s really nothing more fun than seeing people discover who God created them to be!

 

 

Debbie Jones

Stadia, Special Assistant to the President