Leadership and Listening to God

Children’s Pastor Jim Wideman wrote, in his book “Children’s Ministry Leadership” (Group, 2003), that “Leadership in ministry is all about influencing others to reach the next level in their spiritual growth and their God-given skills. It’s helping others develop, coaching them to become what God wants them to be” (14). According to Wideman, this type of leadership begins with the growth of a person’s character by their dependence and obedience to God. I would agree. I believe that this last year of my own ministry has been growing me to increase my personal commitment to be a man of integrity based on the principles in God’s word so that I can really continue being about God’s business- to love him, to love others, and have a right perspective of who I am to him- on a daily basis. This is very difficult though. As a bivocational children’s pastor I find my time, passion, and skills divided into making time and energy to do other jobs just to afford the basic things, and then I praise God for whatever is left over.

What does this have to do with leadership and relying on God? Everything! The motivation that I have to lead isn’t coming from what I can get from the people I serve or the people I serve with. The motivation has to be based on the love of God and relying on his Spirit to direct us, and then obeying that direction through fellowship with believers and opening God’s word to discern his good and perfect will. This last weekend I went to a retreat with some friends from Multnomah that allowed me to have some space to just go and read my Bible on the beach and reflect. I read through the first 5 chapters of 2nd Corinthians. Three things that I was reminded by meditating on these passages were this:

– My confidence and competence to be a minister of the gospel comes from God. God has enabled me with the gifts, passion, and opportunity in this season of my life to be a children’s pastor at Glenfair Church. God will lead, guide, and direct me if I let him…and I want to let him!

– I must daily die to my selfishness and be daily renewed by the reality of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ that I proclaim in word and deed.

– Christ’s love compels me and controls me in how I work as an ambassador of reconciliation. I truly desire to see people know the grace and truth of Jesus Christ in their lives. I truly desire to see God use my ministry and church to be messengers of God’s holistic healing, redemption, and coming Kingdom.

In summary, I have been reminded that God has put the pastoral heart in me to do more than just teaching, but to put energy into relational discipleship and evangelism based on listening to God in his word, and discerning how to use every moment as an opportunity to the truth and grace of Jesus in all my spheres of influence to help others reach reconciliation with God and growth in the joy of the Lord.

How have you allowed God’s word to shape you to lead others spiritually?

What character qualities do you need God’s help to develop more of?

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