16/01/12 13:00 View entire series at: Letters To A Young Leader
Letters to a young leader is a series of leadership mentoring advice. It is written by Vic Francis who is the Chairman of the VCANZ board. Vic and his wife, Fran, pastor Shore Vineyards in Auckland and have four children.
Some things you need to know about God: God loves your people more than you do
“I can’t invade other people’s lives and inject them with commitment . . . but God can.
My role is to relax,
be as real as I can be,
do the best job I can do at church,
and trust God to work in people’s lives.
What a relief it is to get off the throne of the universe!”
I came back from my first missions trip in 2003 knowing my life would never be the same. I had spent a wondrous two weeks serving the underground church in China, experiencing the presence of God in a new way and was exhilarated by the experience.
As I walked with my wife Fran on the beach, full of a new convert’s zeal, I suggested that she, too, might like to go on a missions trip and that what had changed me was bound to change her as well. Her reaction was sceptical, unsure about this brash new urgency to save the world.
The following year, Shore Vineyards were sending a team to northern India to work among pastors in the Nepali-speaking areas of the Himalayas. Still excited about missions, I urged everyone in our church to take five minutes to ask God if he wanted them to go.
One person who did just that was Fran. She sat at a beach and in just a few minutes found her heart warmed towards this adventure, laughing out loud as she realised her recent reading of books by William Dalrymple and other writers on India was part of God’s very sneaky preparation of her heart.
She went on that journey and we have since then regularly done missions trips together. I’m not sure if she would say missions has changed her life. But it has certainly enriched it.
Five minutes is all it takes. We can preach the most inspired sermons, make passionate pleas for response and appeal to people’s emotions, intellect or better nature. But it’s only when God speaks that lives are truly changed. We, as the saying goes, can lead a horse to water, but we can’t make it drink. And that’s as it should be.
There’s a frustration in there of course, because often we believe a certain course of action could transform a person’s life. But we need to allow people to act because of their own convictions and their sense of the leading of God – not ours.
We need to trust God with our people. He loves them more than we do, he knows them better than we do and he has a plan for them that we can’t even begin to understand.
Of course we worry whether our congregation members will bother to take that five minutes to ask God if he wants them to go on the missions trip. But time and again I have been awed and honoured as I’ve observed the godly way people indeed seek God on big issues and the wonderful ways he answers.
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