There are many uncertainties in this life, in our roles as spiritual leaders as well. In the mystery of his ways, God has chosen not to show us everything.
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed
belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
Deuteronomy 29:29, ESV
The first agenda item in our generational learning curve is to trust him in all things as we lead. Whether we are a pastor, teacher, elder, deacon, mission volunteer, or father or mother, our place of spiritual leadership is secured by relying on his provision and following what he has revealed.
The revealed things are the certainties that guide us through the generations of our mission. They are the intimate wiring and preparation he has laced into each and every believer, and the Scripture he has given to equip us for our life assignment. There is also the certainty of his presence, the abiding truth that he would live in us and be with us as we handled the stewardship of his assignment. In my generational map, these certainties have been grouped into two categories: those about me personally, and those for all believers and spiritual leaders.
There have been five certainties about me personally----
1. Confidence about his call.
His call is the most significant turning point in life. When that call was given to
me three Bible texts were also granted as guidance: Life (Psalm 40:1-3),
Ministry (Ephesians 3:8-9), and Passion (Psalm 71:18). They're framed and
have hung over my desk for thirty-five years, constants in the generational
map. At every juncture, trial, test, tragedy, or hardship they are reminders of his
claim over me.
2. The personal strengths he wired into my life.
Personal strengths aren't keys to heaven. We know his strength is evidenced in
our weakness. But, he has wired each one of us for life (see Psalm 139). My top
five strengths (ideation, input, achiever, belief, and relator) have been key
indicators of his call when making moves. If you haven't done a strength
assessment, purchase a copy of StrengthsFinder 2.0 (Tom Rath, Gallup, 2007)
and do the inventory now.
3. His endowment of spiritual gifts for mission.
Once again, spiritual gifts do not gain me entry to his favor. But, Scripture
affirms he endows every believer with a manifestation of the Spirit to equip
them for service. Go on-line and do a spiritual gift inventory. They are further
clues to your place in kingdom mission.
4. Clarity about his next chapters.
In thirty five years I pastored four churches and worked for several years in the
state convention office. Each move was strategic and made after clear
definition from him. He does not author confusion. Listen up along the way.
5. The finish line.
After age fifty he started showing me the finish line.The vision of receiving a
crown of righteousness and his words "well done, good and faithful servant"
became a guiding principle in those years. I'm convinced we don't talk about
the finish line often enough.
Then, there are five promises made to every believer and spiritual leader---
1. He is always working in our lives (John 5:17).
2. He is always working for our good (Romans 8:28).
3. He is always working his purpose in us (Philippians 2:13).
4. He will finish what he began in us (Philippians 1:6).
5. He is working so people will be in awe of him (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
I've written about these five promises numerous times in this space and in my book Finish.Period. Going the Distance in Ministry (Westbow Press, 2015). They gave me backbone and strength during some of the hard times of spiritual leadership. They will give you encouragement and direction too.
Where are you in your generational map? As the outer self is wasting away is the inner self being renewed day by day? What are the certainties of your generational map? Are you ready to go to the finish line?
These are complex times. You are his choice servant in them. Stay the course as you allow him to complete what he started in you. Remember this certainty for direction, endurance, and persistence---
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at
the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6, ESV