I have recently been writing about the 'mid-life crisis' that occurred near my 40th birthday. Mine was not the normal 'rage against aging' that you hear so much about. I didn't dye my hair, buy a sports car or even run around on my wife. I felt a very distinct call from God to invest the rest of my life in valuable, kingdom-building, life-affirming activities. I believe that I have been called to spend the rest of my life changing the world.
Although I love both of those things, the thing that excites me the most is the third calling that God gave to me seven years ago. God called me to 'raise up leadership in and for the church, particularly among young people.' There are a lot of implications to that little saying.
Raising up leadership means that;
We remind people of the importance of leadership and encourage people to answer the call of God in that way.
We must not only identify leaders, but we must also train, equip, deploy and support leaders with our love, prayers and resources.
We must never view ministry, or the church, as a personal kingdom that belongs to us alone. It is God's. He is the master of it. It is God who will call and inspire others to carry on the ministry.
We cannot be offended when someone else hears God's voice in a way different from how we hear it.
A big part of this call is the church. I believe that the instrument that God has chosen to use to reach the world during our time, is the church. There are many para-church and other organizations that serve the purposes of God's Kingdom, but I am called to the church. My longing is for the church to be built up, enlarged and multiplied.
Finally, I am called to raise up young people.
Because of that, I will spend time ministering to children, teens and young adults.
I need to develop relationships with young people in the church and outside of the church.
The key to ministry to (and with) young people is investing time. We live in a world that wants to trade money for time at almost every turn. But there is no substitute for time with our youth.
I am committed to this ministry. You should be too. Together we can change the world by creating an environment that welcomes, values, encourages and trains our young people to do the work of ministry.