Weekly Thought – August 7, 2018
Fred once sent his daughter a scrap of paper with just a few words: “Brenda, opportunity is not mandate.” He was trying to succinctly tell her every open door did not necessarily require walking through. Fred considered every decision carefully, rarely letting impulse interfere with the process.
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Call or Mandate
There’s a difference between a mandate and a call. A call is personal; it comes to the individual. A mandate is collective, corporate. The mandate is the organization’s reason for being; the call is the individual’s reason for service.
A leader needs to have a sense of call, and dedication, to serve effectively. Prison evangelist Bill Glass emphasizes this in training his prison counselors. “You have volunteered to be a counselor, but you have dedicated your life to personify Christ in this prison.” He goes through a litany of experience that might exasperate, even frighten, a volunteer ( e.g. getting cussed out, having urine thrown at him, or hostile body language shown). The dedicated counselor will hang in and not be driven out by these behaviors.
A call may change. A person might sense a call to a different organization, or a different form of service. Sometimes I think the call may lead someone out of ministry.
Recently I talked with a pastor in Iowa whose primary ministry was in the teaching role in a church populated by older, long-time Christians. I asked him how he was doing and he admitted he was very unhappy. And not surprisingly, so was the congregation. I asked him, “What is your real love?”
“Winning people to Christ” was his quick, passionate answer.
“In your saint-saturated organization,” I said, “there are probably very few who haven’t heard and responded to the Gospel. When you get up to preach you don’t see anyone who needs salvation. By gift, you are an evangelist. Have you considered leaving the vocational ministry and going back to automobile sales where you are constantly in touch with unsaved people?”
“That’s when I was the happiest,” he said.
He let his ego, family demands, and social expectations push him into seminary and the pastorate. I later checked on him. He resigned from the church, went bac into sales, and is extremely happy and effective. His call “to win souls” did not match the organizational mandate to do expositional preaching for mature Christians.
Many I know need to seriously determine if their call and their organization’s mandate are in sync.
This week carefully consider: 1) How did I recognize my call? 2) What is the primary mandate of my workplace? 3) Who in my environment can help me analyze the fit?
Words of Wisdom: “A leader needs to have a sense of call, and dedication, to serve effectively.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Nevertheless, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each person, so must he live. I give this sort of direction in all the churches.” (1 Corinthians 7:17 NET Bible)