This week I attended the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas. I had a great time with my wife, Amber, my coworkers, and other good friends and acquaintances. I also met all kinds of new friends: seminary students, young ministry families, established pastors, and well-respected SBC statesmen/women. Associating with such a large number of people, particularly the younger generation, caused me to reflect on my journey of 19 years in ministry leadership. I met people just realizing their callings in ministry, while at the same, met or reconnected with others who have fulfilled a substantial measure of their potential in service to Christ.
I began to reflect on my middle-of-the-journey situation in ministry. I asked questions like, “Where am I?” “Where have I come from?” “What has God used to transform me into a usable vessel thus far in my journey?” “Why are many of my peers no longer in ministry leadership?” “What might keep me from fulfilling all God created me to be and do in the future?” These questions led me to several eye-opening answers. The following is a revelation of my reflections that I share in hopes of encouraging other leaders, especially those just beginning, to seriously grasp the gifts God wants to give them that will teach and transform them into people who reach their full potential as servants in Christ.
In 2010, Amber, Taryn, and I began planting Life Point Church. Things moved rather quickly in the early days of forming a core team: Jesus saved a lady and a few other believers got excited about the new church opportunity. God worked, and I was petrified! I reached out to a long-time mentor/friend of mine and asked with great excitement and trepidation, “How do we do this?!!” I reached deep into the reservoirs of all I had learned through practical experience and academic preparation. I sought out several mentors who were accomplishing what I wanted God to do through me. I became a sponge and prayed, “God teach me!”
The above moment was only one of the sobering milestones that caused me to become a life-long learner. As mentioned earlier, nineteen years have passed since God provided my first church staff leadership opportunity. If one word characterized these nineteen years, I hope it would be “learning.” You may say, “What about reaching the lost, making disciples, or church planting?” Those are indeed core objectives/methods of our Great Commission calling. However, I am not naturally equipped to engage in those spiritual activities successfully. To do so, I need to become a disciple myself. I decided to become a life-long learner.
If I had one encouragement I could give all ministers (especially those in their 20’s and early 30’s), it would be to learn. For young leaders reading this blog, you may have discovered you don’t have all the answers. If you were the big man on campus a few years ago, the challenge of leadership reminds you that those days of elusive glory are long gone! Over the next few weeks, I want to take young leaders (and everyone who desires to grow) through a practical application of my leadership challenges and show the methods God graciously uses to teach those He calls to lead.
Join me on the journey, and get ready to grow in ways you never imagined possible!