Next week, I’d like to highlight a few important aspects of being a leader since so many of you who come to study here will find yourself in leadership roles at some point along the way, if you have not already.
By way of introduction, I’ll share a little of my own story…
When I graduated in 2002, I was eager to lead a Bible study or book study where a group of young people would get together to think and discuss theology together. I made a few attempts here and there over the first few years to get something going, but there was always one of the typical excuses of why it didn’t work out. I grew discouraged and sort of tossed the idea aside mentally, while inside I wrestled with why God allowed me to find my niche at the end of college, only to be left hanging afterwards. I basically thought that either God should use this interest in a tangible way that I could see or explain to me why He wasn’t going to.
For all intents and purposes, there appeared to be a silence on this matter for years…
Long about the summer of 2005, life had batted me about the ears a couple of times and I was much more aware of my need of God. I was no longer simply interested in Him intellectually, but I was now also seeking a deeper relationship with Him. I wanted to know what it was like to read His Word because I wanted to be in His presence and to know Him, not just know about Him from afar. This lead to what became a lifestyle of doing Bible study and being in God’s Word daily. It happened, I might add, right while I was in the throes of full-time work and part-time graduate school. Never had I been busier or more stretched, so I was learning much about giving up the ‘time’ excuse with Him.
This is no surprise to most of you, I’m sure, but I was changed from the inside out by those precious moments with God and I began to find Bible study materials that captivated me, challenged me, and convicted me. The Bible was life giving and I discovered that there was a lot to be gleaned from the Old Testament that I had overlooked in the past because I’m not naturally inclined to read narratives and historical accounts.
While graduate school was drawing to a close, I looked forward to the prospect of making time to serve at my church. This time around, I was more open to what God would have for me to do rather than wanting to make my own suggestions. Although I hoped to work with women, all of my prior church work had been with children or teens, so I thought it likely that I might serve again in this capacity. My attitude had improved significantly, by God’s grace and His discipline, and I was not coming from so high a horse as when I’d just finished my Bible degree in college.
So, I prayed about what the Lord would have for me to do and I sought to make the most of the opportunities that were at my church at the time. I knew our church usually offered women’s Bible studies and so when the fall approached, I was disappointed that there weren’t any in the evenings and so I felt I needed to continue going to the college and career study. In the spring of 2008, I was able to attend and women’s study. I still desired to lead my own, but I was willing to continue attending women’s studies since I did not yet see or sense God’s prompting for me to move towards leadership.
Early that summer, I read Lies Women Believe and it stirred again the desire to lead a study, but this time, I did sense that it was of the Lord and I prayed, but didn’t say anything about it. Within a matter of weeks, I was asked by one of the women’s leadership team members if I would be interested in doing a study for the fall. In numerous specific ways, it was clear that God was opening this door and it was time.
I’d been participating and helping with some of the other women’s events over the past year and I was also asked to join the women’s leadership team. Joy unspeakable.
A few threads that have emerged in my young leadership experience lend themselves to discussion for next week about what how we can seek God and serve Him:
1) The call (in scripture sometimes it is anointing) came many years before the ministry began
2) God used the years in between for preparation
3) With victory, expect opposition to arise and seek Him through it faithfully
4) Sometimes you may feel ‘full’ in leadership and other times, you may feel ’empty’