This is the test of delay at the start of ministry. You have a prophetic word over your life, but it’s not happening yet. The purpose of this test is to help the developing leader grow in faith. This ‘time test’ also purifies the leader’s motives and attitude - if he allows it to. During the time of delay the leader in question can deal with his own impure, selfish or proud motives that can cloud the purposes of God.
When I was 25 I was put forward to be an elder at the church at Brickhill. I had been sitting in on elders’ meetings for about 3 years and was regularly preaching and leading worship. What happened was that the second tier of church leadership, who were nearly all old enough to be my parents, didn’t respond positively to this idea. There was much discussion about me and my relative youth and I got caught in the crossfire. What do you do?
I decided to write a letter. ‘Dear Church, I’m aware that my proposed eldership has caused difficulty for some and the last thing that I want to do is cause disunity in the church, so I’m happy to withdraw my name for going forward as an elder. I will continue to serve the church as I’ve always done. Yours, Steve’. This was read out to the church.
What happened? Those who had previously thought that I wasn’t mature enough and ready for the responsibility began to say ‘I think I got it wrong’. Truthfully, to get to the point where I wrote that letter took some emotional journey for me as I was confronted with the fact that they didn’t recognise me as a leader. We all crave recognition. I had to die to that recognition and live to God. Two years later I became an elder.
One Hundred and Forty Years in Cape Town
4 months ago