As Christians, we all share a “calling” in terms of how we live our lives as a reflection of God’s love but Spiritual Leaders are those with a specific and defined CALL to order their entire lives around personal ministry – it is a pivotal and life changing decision. It can come early or late in life and it can be dramatic or occur over time. Their life identity centers on being spiritual leaders. They feel partnered with God in His mission and see their personal focus on the spiritual development of others. Personal ambition and goals become subservient to the call.
McNeal predicts that in the future here in the United States, living out the call will bring with it potential persecution and pain, just as it did for the early Christians and does for Christians in so many parts of the world today.
Quote from the book: “God’s call is always relevant to the times. He is not in the business of recruiting leaders to serve the past. He anticipates the need and then calls and equips leaders for each era.”
What does this all tell me? It’s crucial that we keep hearts that are soft to God’s call. Whether it is a dramatic and permanent change in our lives or perhaps just a re-focusing for a season, God is actively preparing and calling people to lay their lives down for the lives of others.
Then he talked about the different models of Christian leadership and referenced what he calls the “New” Apostolic Leadership Model. He lists several character traits for this type of leader. I found these all pretty fascinating because I think they really describe how, both individually and as a group, how our church operates. I felt that the goals and objectives and discussions of our recent vision team process really matched these traits.
McNeal admits that in this ever changing world, the character and content of our call can be difficult to ascertain. But he provides some roadmap for doing so.
He talks about taking inventory of your competencies and gifts – God has placed within us each certain things that we bring to the table to serve Him. Our Call will match those gifts, passions and abilities. If we’re called to reach children, then our gifts will show it, they will respond to us. If we’re called to teach and preach to adults, then they will respond to us. If we’re called to do more administrative things, then our efforts there will bring results. If we’re called to research and write, then we will find our greatest joy there.
What has God anointed in you? When do you feel most alive in ministry? That is probably your area of call to Spiritual Leadership. How is it being reflected in what you’re doing today? What is God calling you to do with this in the future?