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.
Retiring in April 2022, Mark R. Elliott served as a Director of Missions (Associational Mission Strategist) in Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska for almost three decades. He is a strong advocate for obedience and Biblically based disciple making. As such, he knows that making healthy disciples requires Christian leaders to be constantly pursuing spiritual maturity—be lifelong learners. Because of the time constraints of ministry, most pastors focus their reading list on resources that assist them in teaching and preaching the Word of God. As such, books focusing on church health, leadership development, and church growth tend to find their way to the bottom of the stack. With that reality in mind, Mark has written discussion summaries on several books that have helped him to personally grow in Christ and that tend to find themselves on the bottom of most pastor’s stack. Many pastors have found them helpful as they are able to more quickly process great insights from other pastors and authors.
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