Who Are You Intended To Be?

30 From there Jesus and his followers went through Galilee, but he didn’t want anyone to know it. 31 This was because he was teaching his disciples, “The Human One will be delivered into human hands. They will kill him. Three days after he is killed he will rise up.” 32 But they didn’t understand this kind of talk, and they were afraid to ask him.33 They entered Capernaum. When they had come into a house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about during the journey?” 34 They didn’t respond, since on the way they had been debating with each other about who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be least of all and the servant of all.” 36 Jesus reached for a little child, placed him among the Twelve, and embraced him. Then he said, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me isn’t actually welcoming me but rather the one who sent me.” ~ Mark 9:30-37

What does a person have to do to become an insignificant leader? Why don’t we ever hear people say, “You are destined to be really insignificant!” Perhaps it is because many of us are socially wired to want to become great leaders. But what if greatness looks totally different to God than our aspirations and practice of greatness?

These are the questions that I have been wrestling with for quite some time. However, they are not my questions alone. They are the questions the disciples are grappling with in our story. They are the questions of the conscientious church leaders and young people who are trying to make sense of their one precious life in service to God. While we all have a deep longing to discover the answers to these questions, the more important question is: Will we muster the courage to live into the answers? This is the question that was placed before me a couple of years ago during the summer in a way that I could not escape from it.

It happened during my travel to Ferguson Mo. for my immersion class I was taking for Seminary. Our class was privileged to sit in the house of Rev. Seiku, a very wise Fifty–Four-year-old man. In a simple circle, there we sat with this laid back barefoot man with a gentle voice turning our ideas of church and ministry upside down.

He warned us at the beginning that he would respond to our questions—that are very much alive in him—in ways that we were not accustomed.  We were not prepared for what he said. “To be called,” he said, “is a calling to be a new creature in Christ; to be a new being.” So the vocation question for him is, “Will you become who you are intended to be?”

You see Rev. Seiku’s focus is on the BEING of leadership—the who of leadership—and not the doing. “Doing is easier,” he said. there are some questions to be asked regarding this becoming: Are you holding on to control—can you relinquish control? Do you feel safe enough to let go—are you fearless? Are you welcoming strangers and little children? Are you working on those relationships? Then he told us, “contemplative prayer, practicing letting Jesus into our lives, is the way to prepare for a life in these questions.”

Our society suffers from a debilitating addiction to a “greatness” understanding of leadership. Families feed this addiction to their children. An addiction to being the best or greatest in ministry, whether it is about leadership or building institutions, is a virus in the church. The earliest strand of this deadly addiction can be traced back to the church’s origin. It is the very question the disciples are arguing about in this scripture.

Fortunately, Jesus has a response: he provides some answers about how we might break free from our addiction to unhealthy forms of greatness by re-imagining church leadership. This re-imagining is a necessary revolution, a rebellion, an uprising against our traditional understandings of greatness. It is a revolution that invites us to embrace different forms of leadership and practices that we find modeled in the life of Jesus.

I would love you to call on me or stop by and visit with me about what qualities of leadership you hold, and who you are intended to be.

Peace & Love Always,

Pastor Shana

shana.dry@tahlequahumc.org

 

The Wesley at NSU Update

I am so very happy to share with you the blessings God has given our ministry this past month! We kicked off the beginning of this Fall semester with a leadership retreat over at Camp Egan! We planned our semester programming and are happy to be offering a freshman bible study and a women’s small group, in addition to our Wesley Wednesday Worship, free lunch, and Table Talk!

Welcome Week was a huge success! We were blessed to have over 150 students come and join us for a dinner that Wednesday night, and then we volunteered to serve the meal for Feed My Sheep! Our newer students were excited to be a part of a program that gives back to people!

We joined other campus ministries that Thursday after FMS to help lead a praise and worship service for all of NSU. We were happy to be a part of that rich, unique experience!

On the first week of school, students and I passed out those amazing cookies and some fresh lemonade- and we are so glad you gave us so much- we had just enough! Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping out our ministries at the Wesley- we’re blessed to have your support!

We thank you for your continued support with our lunch donation and 12:15 programs. If you are interested in joining the 12:15 program, or on how to become partners in ministry, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Cody for details!

Thank you for allowing us to share with you the blessings from our ministry, God loves you, and so do I!