In a casual conversation recently, a longtime friend in ministry said, “I’m no longer trying to change the world anymore. Are you?” The question immediately caught my attention. This challenged me to reflect for a few minutes on my purpose at this point in my life.
Perhaps there was a time when I thought that God could change the world through me. When I heard Ross Coggins’ hymn, “Send Me, O Lord, Send Me” as a young person, I was moved to invest my life in changing the world and dreamed of ways that might take place.
My feeling about this changed when I came to understand Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 4:11-13 about the equipping ministry and realized that this was what I had been called to do. My practice since then has been to attempt “to change the world” (as my friend said) by helping call out, equip, and encourage others to serve Christ in various ways. This did not mean that direct ministry to people was no longer my concern, but I finally understood what it meant to develop Christian disciples, workers in the Kingdom of God.
I still find myself doing that today. In my work with Pinnacle Leadership Associates, I have the opportunity to coach several clergy persons—pastoral leaders primarily—on a regular basis and walk along with them as their exercise their ministry gifts.
Teaching Disciple Development Coaching© to clergy and lay persons allows me to help others learn how they can invest in the lives of others, not simply reproducing themselves, but helping believers to become what Christ has called them to be.
Finally, teaching seminary classes gives me contact with a wonderful group of ministers and ministers-in-training who have been called to serve God both in congregational ministry and in new and innovative ways. The students I work with at Central Baptist Theological Seminary range for twenty-somethings to men and women who have responded to God’s call later in life. This is a rich experience.
Perhaps I am not “changing the world,” but I do feel like I am a part of those who work alongside God to do so.