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Next generation leaders

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me’” (Isaiah 6:8)

The first week of this month officially marks a full year since I took on the Senior leadership of this Church from Robert Clarke (yes, it’s been one year already!). Generational transition has since been a common theme running through all that happened at our Church. However, it has never been more real to me as in the past couple of months. Lately, many of those I would consider pillars of this Church, faces that have been looking at me from the congregation every Sunday for many years, have been missing for reason of illness and advanced age. On the other hand, however, we have been blessed with “new faces”, a number of new families and individuals who quickly embraced our Church and now call it home.

This, alongside the pleasant sight of a number of new children and babies now filling our Sunday school and crèche, has caused me to realize I was effectively beginning to minister to a new generation, now called to pick up the baton of responsibility for the growth, advancement and welfare of God’s kingdom here in Blackburn. Our Church is what it is today because of the faithful commitment, service, giving and sacrifices of a generation who has loved and followed God with a passion all their life. That responsibility now falls on us. Just like with children that have come of age, we are now expected to walk on our own feet and take ownership of our future.

It is time for us individually to embrace this reality and begin to think in terms of serving rather than being served and giving rather than receive. It is time for us to ask ourselves: how can I contribute to the growth, advancement and development of God’s kingdom in this corner of the world? As Isaiah was challenged in his own day to respond to God’s call to play a crucial part in his generation, so are we. My prayer is that we will answer the same – “Here I am, Send me”

I am convinced that this year we will begin to see a number of individuals rising up to the challenge. I believe we will begin to see people starting a journey of service that will eventually see them become the new columns of this Church. Just as Moses shepherded his father in law’s flocks before God asked him to shepherd his people, just as David slayed the lion and the bear before God called him to slay giants, just as Joseph managed his brothers before God called him to manage an entire nation, so it will be with those who will put their hand to work today.

This is where the wisdom and experience of our spiritual veterans comes in. This will be a time for many to not only take a step back and make room for this host of inexperienced, rough around the edges but passionate servants, but to inspire, train and guide them to become the new hard-core servants and leaders our tomorrow is in desperate need of. It will take a great deal of time and patience, but we do so in the knowledge that we too were once inexperienced, rough around the edges but passionate for Jesus, and that we are who we are today because someone took the trouble of taking us under their wings and giving us a chance.

May the Lord bless our tomorrows. May the Lord bless our people.

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