Saturday, November 3, 2012

The next generation of leaders

If you read this on the post date I will be attending a youth rally to lead a workshop on "Do I Have a Future in Ministry?"  I've been excited ever since I was asked to address this particular topic because I am convinced we need to challenge more of our young people of the possibility they have a call of God on their lives.  When I was young I can remember an invitation being given at the end of every church service.  Included in that invitation was a challenge for those who had been called to Christian ministry.  Even in those churches that still offer an invitation at the end of the service I seldom hear anyone being challenged to respond to such a call.  Perhaps this is one reason we see so few young people looking at the ministry as they consider what they want to do with their lives.  No human can call someone into the ministry, but I believe those of us who are in Christian leadership have a responsibility to challenge persons we see with certain ministry gifts to pray about and consider if God has called them into the ministry.

I have yet to meet anyone in ministry today who was not approached by someone in their lives and challenged to consider such a call.  Because I avoided the call on my life I had several who issued that challenge to me.  Finally, one day as my pastor and I were traveling to a conference he confronted me with the possibility that this might be God's plan for my life, and I had to admit that I felt that it was.  Several days later he came and talked to my wife and me about the ministry, prayed with us, and offered to talk to us at any time we wanted to discuss it further.  Unfortunately, a few weeks later he announced he was leaving our church for a ministry out of state.  A few months later our church called a new pastor, and about a year after his arrival I talked to him of my previous conversations with our former pastor.  I asked if he would support the church granting me a license to preach which he did.  About a year later I was pastoring the church I would then serve for the next twenty years.

What if no one ever challenged me to consider such a call on my life?  Would I have pursued ministry?  Of course, it's impossible to say, but it's unlikely.  I was a young man with a good job and active in my church.  Most people would have been content with that, but deep down inside I knew God had called me for more than that, and having people come alongside and confirm those inner thoughts brought me to the place where I had to yield to God's call on my life.

This is what those of us in Christian leadership must do today with those people in whom we see ministry gifts at work.  Again, we are not telling them to go into the ministry; we are just confirming that we see in them the gifts they have and encouraging them to seek God's guidance if entering the ministry might be part of His plan for their lives.

I'm looking forward to my time with the young people in our Region today.  I pray that some of them might hear in my words confirmation of what God has been speaking in their spirits.  I would encourage you to begin to challenge some of the young people in your churches as well.  The Kingdom of God needs more quality leaders for its churches, and I believe the next generation of leaders are now sitting in our churches.  Let's invite them to the work.

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