Let’s talk about the delicate dance of longevity and faithfulness. I’ve heard it said that, often in leadership, we mistake longevity and faithfulness. Just because someone has always been there, doesn’t necessarily mean they have been faithful and just because someone leaves — doesn’t mean that they aren’t faithful.
After going through the Word and reading all the scriptures about faithfulness and being faithful, here are some interesting points that stood out to me.
God has called us to:
God’s constant communication regarding faithfulness is to be faithful to HIM. Habakkuk 2:4 says “…the just shall live by his faith.” NIV says “faithfulness”. The Hebrew word here means to be firm, sure, established, and steady. This word is used 49 times and is often translated “faithfulness” or “truth”, as truth is considered something ultimately certain, stable, and unchangingly fixed. When it appears in Habakkuk 2:4, its basically saying the just shall live by his firmness, steadiness, and solid belief.
In the circles I have grown up in, I was taught to associate and intrinsically connect longevity to a single task, ministry, pastor, church, or serving position and THAT equals “faithfulness”. In this thought process, we subconsciously (or consciously —- if we are being honest) segregate and label those who change positions, churches, etc., as “unfaithful”. However, I cannot find anywhere it says that those who have ushered for 40 years are more “faithful” than someone who is following the call of God on their lives and pursuing His purpose for their life serving in different churches. While in Psalms it does talk about being “planted in the house of the Lord”, in context it is speaking to the heart of the person relationally with the Lord.
In addition to that, if someone is serving in a solitary position for 40 years but should have utilized their gifting’s and talents in a better way to serve God, are they not on the same heart place as the servant who was given talents and hid them, showing back up with the same amount that he was given? (Matthew 25:14-28) Convenience or years of service should never be mistaken for faithfulness.
While I am not suggesting we just fly by the seat of our pants and be all willy-nilly, I am saying that we need to be led by the Spirit of God regarding where we are serving and leading.
Let's start by leading our ourselves well.
Sometimes the fear of man or the perception that we are being unfaithful or giving up "too soon" keep leaders in the wrong spots . Are we serving in a leadership capacity because it is just what we have always done or have done for x amount of years? Have we talked to Jesus about where He wants us now, in this season?
How we lead ourselves is how we will lead others. We are called to be anchored in the Word and led by the Spirit.
Next, let's lead our staff and volunteers well.
As leaders we need to constantly keep a pulse on our leaders and staff around us. Are they serving in this position because they feel called to it? Is God calling them to bigger or different things? Could they be used in a better way that promotes growth in them? How are we as leaders investing into and discipling those around us to fully pursue all that God has called them to? How are we spurring them on into purpose?
This is not a blog of condemnation 😊 I promise this is good news. Your churches, staff and volunteer groups are CHOCK FULL of people with purpose, passion and talents. God has mercifully entrusted them to your care. We have the amazing privilege to disciple, train, invest and grow right along with them!
God has called us all to GROW. To go from glory TO glory. Faithfulness should be all sorts of tied into growth, provision, expansion, and so much more – and we see that all through scripture.
Let’s endeavor to create cultures that promote pursuing the voice of the Lord and not just the longevity of the position. Let’s push people to launch out in faith (... and if it is serving in the same position for 40 years... bonus!). Let’s teach people to be faithful to God and not just to us. Let’s encourage growth. Let’s utilize strategy. Let’s dig deep into those in our care and encourage them to serve and use their talents and not just be comfortable.
Using the example of an usher…
Mr. Usher has been serving as an usher for many years, but you know he is a very successful businessman. Why not see about pulling him into staff meetings? Use him to help consult your administration?
Ask the Lord, help me to see how we can better utilize him with the talents he has and then give Mr. Usher the option! He might not even know that his gifting could be used in a church setting. Then, you are calling out the gifts you see in him, discipling him on how to use those gifts in a different arena but allowing him to be led!
Trust God with your people, point them to Jesus, serve alongside them while you have them, and disciple open handedly -- then they always feel free to pursue all that God has called them to!
God is in the relationship business.