The other day I was asked, “What do you see as the number one leadership development issue in the church today?” As I approach the end of my 27th year of serving as a Director of Missions and having worked with hundreds of pastors and lay leaders, I answered without a lot of hesitation, “Pastors and Christian leaders who don’t have an honest assessment of who God has created them to be or a willingness to celebrate how God uniquely created them to serve Him.”
When most of us look into a mirror we want to see someone else: someone we admire and strive to emulate. Psalm 139 quickly comes to mind as a source of wisdom on this topic. David acknowledged that God knows exactly what we look like when we stand in front of His mirror: O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. (1-3) So how should we respond to that kind of knowledge?
David also stated that God’s mirror is a “magic mirror.” It is able to guide us into the knowledge of who He wants us to be: Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. (16) So how should we respond to that kind of knowledge?
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You. (17-18) So how should we respond to that kind of knowledge?
David closes the Psalm by asking God to help him see what God sees today when He looks in the mirror: Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. (23-24) So how should we respond to that kind of knowledge?
The one thing you don’t want to see when you look into God’s mirror is something like the reflection that is seen in this roadside mirror that was erected along a desert road. In these days that are truly testing the souls of all of us, my prayer is that you will reflect a vibrant radiant glow that comes only when one loves the Lord with all their heart and soul and mind and when they love their neighbor as themselves.
Mark is in his twenty-seventh year of serving as an Associational Missions Strategist. He served in western Iowa for almost eight years, and is in his nineteenth year with HCN. He has a passion to see pastors and church leaders grow in their abilities to lead their churches. He continues to have a heart and desire to see new churches planted and God continues to use his strategic thinking skills in this area. Mark also has a wealth of experience in helping churches clarify who God has created them to be, and what they can do best to reach their community. He has had ample opportunities to help churches in times of conflict, and has seen God do exciting things to restore a spirit of harmony, returning churches to a time of fruitfulness. He also helps churches in transition by working with search committees. Mark and Phyllis who were married in November of 2018 have four children and three grandchildren. They will enjoy their combined 87th anniversary in just a few days.