For most of the last 18 years Lori and I have done vendor work at all sorts of Christian events, festivals and conferences to create additional income. We have had a wonderful relationship with the Assembly of God district office in Ohio for most of that time and 16 of the last 18 years have sold stuff at their annual events. This last weekend we did that again and something new began to happen. When kids run out of money (as they tend to do of course) they will often ask if we have anything for free. The Lord whispered an unusual instruction to me to give away some product to those who could quote certain scripture verses.
So what I began to do was ask them to quote a verse, they would often quote a common verse such as Gen 1:1 or John 3:16 so I would say ok, give me John 3:16 AND 17 together and you can have the free product. They didn't know verse 17 so I had my bible out, open and ready. I would tell them to go ahead, look it up, study it as long as they needed to and then repeat it back once they had it. Perhaps upward towards 100 kids did this with various verses and it was a true joy to watch the excitement and discovery of young people getting more of God's word into them and then getting rewarded as a result. In previous years we couldn't afford to give stuff away like that but God has blessed our efforts and I knew I had heard His voice.
As I sat there I began to see these future leaders and it reminded me of the past several years here in Central Ohio where there has been an unusual amount of transition and change in leadership at the city level. The prophet in me likes to avoid cliches like "we're in a season of change" because life is always in a state of change so a "season of change" could mean anything. However, as it relates to the leadership within Central Ohio, the last few years have absolutely seen a large amount of flux and shift with key leaders retiring, resigning, even passing away.
While this has been happening, others have been moved in, relocated in and installed fresh to brand new church works and the leadership landscape is absolutely in a state of shift right now. Its not just churches either, its Christian radio and TV stations changing management and ownership in some cases. It's Christian personalities going from one station to another. Some embracing sodomy and rejecting the God they once loved and served while others who were once filled with corruption have been delivered and are now in deep love with Jesus. We are absolutely in a very real season of change right now and this has me excited in a way I haven't been in many years.
I want to add, there is a place for loyalty and honor. It can be a delight when a person remains committed to a given place, work or ministry for decades but it is also true that if you are in the wrong place you not only potentially harm yourself but you potentially harm others by them plugging in with you they miss plugging in with who God truly had for them to plug in with, plus those where you are supposed to be are forced to plug in with others who were supposed to be plugging in with you... so it really is important that we all discern and get where we feel we need to be in this season.
A great indicator that can help is to simply ask honestly if you are being celebrated where you are. Are you being celebrated for your giftings and talents that are unique to you? Are you being identified for what makes you different than others? Are you being given the opportunity to function in gifts and callings or at least being given a path to get to that place eventually? If not, you may want to pray about a relocation to a place where leadership can properly identify who you are and what God has placed in you so you can flow freely as you were created to do.
Leaders right now have an especially important job, more so than usual because we have to hear the Lord as it relates to whom to give those opportunities to and now more than ever we need a return to fresh and proper new testament governmental structure in our churches.
Blessed is the leader who pass the microphone and sit down confidently knowing their authority allows them to be out of the spotlight and elevate others. Mark 17:1. ;)
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