What is your process as a leader for knowing where to go next? Sometimes the “going” is literal for yourself as in where God is calling you to move, to work, to serve, or to learn. Sometimes the “going” is more about where your group needs to go next as in changing locations for your ministry or changing focus for a project or even choosing the next Bible study. “Going” always means leaving something behind. After all, GO is the first part of “goodbye.” How do you, as a leader, determine the next step?
From my experience, the first thing I have to do is TRUST that God already knows the plan and will reveal it in time to me. Ephesians 2:10 has been my go-to verse for many a job change: “We are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives” (CEB).
The second thing I have learned to do is ASK God to give me direction through the Bible and through other godly resources such as other books and people. Role models have been a big part of my life. Biographies and books on Christian living have also been helpful. Yet the Bible has been the most trustworthy of all the resources available! It has been amazing how God has revealed an answer to me through my habit of regular Bible reading. Other times, I have gone searching for the answer in scripture. God is always faithful to make sure I get the right message at just the right time.
The third thing I am still learning to do is to BE OPEN for the Holy Spirit to indeed tell me where to go–especially if it’s a completely different path than I would choose. And there have been numerous times in life when that is exactly what happened. For example:
- In college, I was a pre-med major who was not doing well in her studies and a thoughtful Sunday School teacher encouraged me with the idea that I did not have to become a doctor just because it had been my childhood dream. It was a revelation to me and a relief when I changed my major to education!
- After seminary, a friend invited me to apply for a job in another state to work with her and I flat turned her down, yet reluctantly agreed to pray about it. The next morning God used this verse to call me to that new work which would give me a much bigger audience than my current job: “Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity, and especially for those in the household of faith” (Gal. 6:9-10, CEB). That verse is marked in my Bible as a reminder of God’s direction in my life.
- When I married and moved to Austin, TX, where there are numerous colleges and universities, I “knew” I would be able to get a teaching job with 3 graduate degrees. What an eye-opener! Not one interview for any of the teaching positions I applied for. Frustrating . . . until I soon discovered I needed the freedom of not working to be able to be the full-time caregiver for my mother. God knew what was best and prevented me from getting a job I would have had to quit.
I’m sharing all this to remind you that even as a leader, you’re still following Someone, and that is where we will get the best training for being a great leader. Telling people where to go as a leader is a responsibility that must be bathed in prayer and wisdom from the Spirit and the scriptures. Have the courage to ask of any scripture you read, “Where is this telling me to GO?”
Join in the conversation below: How has God led you? Through people? Through the Bible? Through a direct communication of some kind?