Several readers raised questions in response to, I Long for a Calling Driven church. The key questions (so far) are:
- What does it look like to “hear” God through the people God sends?
- How do we balance a need for Structure with following our Calling?
- How do we balance caring for the needy with following our Calling?
Before answering these questions, let me put some meat on the bones of a Calling Driven church. A Calling driven church will balance structure and Calling.*
A Calling Driven church is neither a spineless jellyfish, so under-whelmed by structure that it is driven by the tides (and stings whatever it finds), nor is it a backbone-entombed tortoise, so over-whelmed by structure that its moves are ponderously slow (and it hides from whatever it finds). We need structure and Calling.
Hearing God through the people that he sends
When we seek God for direction, he sometimes answers with a word (like when he tells Abraham to leave his homeland), and he sometimes answers … with a person.
- King Saul asks God for direction. God answers by sending a person. Jonathan attacks the enemy—almost single handedly—until Saul’s army joins him in a huge victory (1 Samuel 14). Saul wanted a word; God sent a person.
- When the Israelites are threatened under Persian rule, God sends Esther. She is “brought for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14), and she saves God’s people from annihilation. God’s answer is given through the Call of a person.
Good leaders are aware of structural needs, and they seek God for help with staffing, finances, people, and buildings. But obsession with known needs can distract us from—even blind us to—God’s new directions which may be outside our agendas.
God often answers our requests for help by sending people who see God’s direction outside our known needs, structure-oriented agendas, or even outside our missions:
- The 12th century Church leaders were concerned with the Crusades, a Renaissance, rediscovery of Aristotle, and science. God sent them Francis of Assisi. He brought return to simplicity, imitation of Christ, and care for the poor.
Pastoral leaders need to recognize God’s answers when he speaks on issues outside our known needs and missions. If we ignore God’s answers through the people he sends—myopically focused on our own issues—we become tortoises, overcome by structure.
God brings us people who bring us directions we never knew we needed. Continue Reading…