As Kim and I entered a new season of life, we took a mini-sabbatical to pray and consider what it may look like. We spent time seeking His will. We asked the Lord to maximize our gifts, provide discernment to pursue the highest and best opportunities, to put us in places where we can meet the unique and lasting needs of people, and find a joyous place of wholeness in our marriage and ministry. We committed ourselves to a season of building young leaders and serving great leaders. This is true for our positions within OneHope, locally in the city and society where Jesus has placed us, and in the Kingdom at large.
As we embrace the call to build young leaders, we take on the role of spiritual mother and father to help raise the next generation of sons and daughters. This means we boldly speak destiny over every image-bearer under our sphere of influence. We have the great privilege and responsibility to help illuminate a path that will allow each individual to step into the fullness of their calling and live out their God-given purpose.
We’ve found that a great strategy for initiating that conversation is to help explore these four areas:
- Ability: an individual’s passion or gifting
- Need: a clear area of deficit somewhere in the world
- Opportunity: the place where a person’s unique ability intersects with and can satisfy a true need
- Wholeness: everything being in balance
When I open myself up to answer questions, one of the most asked questions by young people is, “How will I know if I’m in God’s will?”.
My answer is often unexpected. I start by telling them that it’s much easier than they might imagine. First, we must affirm that God has planted a unique passion and ability in each one of us. Then, we must encourage them to follow their passion, become excellent at what comes natural to them, spend time doing what ignites a spark in them, and ultimately serve others. By doing those things, you will know that you are in the center of God’s will.
Sometimes it feels overwhelming to think about all of the injustices and deficits that cause great pain and suffering in the world. It’s frustrating, but true, that you can do anything, but you can’t do everything. If we are living Spirit-directed lives our eyes will be open to the plethora of needs all around us. Many times this generation is searching for big, systemic social issues to solve while blindly passing by the tremendous micro needs of people all around them that desperately need to be served.
One thing that doesn’t change is that a human being’s greatest need is for love and acceptance. Every problem in the world boils down to a sin problem. Jesus is the answer to all of the problems. There is no social justice without spiritual justice. The Church must help the highly cause-oriented generations with a bent toward social justice to realize that whatever problem they’re solving must be saturated in the truth of the Gospel.
God’s will can be found where a need of the world and a passion or skill you can offer overlaps.
Opportunities arise when you find yourself in the position to use your skill or ability to address a felt need.
From the windows of my OneHope office, I could look left and see some of the most affluent neighborhoods in Florida, but to the right, I saw a place called Avondale—ranked in the bottom 1% of US neighborhoods for safety. As the president of a global ministry delivering a biblical message of purpose and hope to children all over the world, there was an opportunity to meet a pressing need located in my office’s backyard.
There have been certain times in my life where I have been in the center of God’s will but have given in to my driven-workaholic self, which really means that I’m out of His will. God never intended for us to inflict stress or anxiety on ourselves or those around us. It has only been recently that I have added wholeness to my framework of properly centering myself as a leader.
To center yourself as a leader, you need a strong community of family, friends, and accountability to help keep your spiritual wholeness intact. Prioritize time in the Word, time with your family, community, and time with the Holy Spirit to help drive what it means for you to be healthy and whole.
When each of these areas are healthy and mutually aiding the others, you can be confident that you are operating with God’s blessing and accomplishing what He created you to do.
Ensure everything you do is Spirit-led. The Holy Spirit has been given to us as our constant companion to steer and to guide. Oftentimes, the Spirit has led me down an unexpected path that has allowed me to experience supernatural encounters and outcomes. When we are Spirit-led, we operate with Christ’s perspective on what really matters.