GRACE TO GROW

growing in graceI’ve known it for a while. There’s been signs all over the place. I’ve known that God was requiring more of me as a leader. I’ve known that God wanted me to do more than just stand behind the podium on Sundays, and make sure the rent was paid on time. There’s so much more to pastoring. There’s so much more to ministry. There’s so much more to leadership, yet, it is possible to not know how to move to the next level. That’s why having spiritual leaders and mentors are imperative for your journey. You will always need someone to help you navigate through the journey of becoming a leader.

I’ve come to realize that each year has been a requirement of growth, which, if I’m honest with you and myself, I’m not so sure I obtained. Yes, I survived the past three years, and the ministry is still here, but I recognize that it is only because, in my ignorance, God’s grace covered me.

Year after year, I’ve sensed that He wanted more. I felt… and ignored the signs, the weight and pressure of the drawing that I was feeling. One because, I didn’t feel ready or qualified, and to be honest, I wasn’t ready to lay down my life completely. I mean, we sing songs like- I Give Myself Away (My life is not my own, to you I belong. I give myself, I give myself to you) and Take My Life, but I’m not sure we truly understand the sacrifice. I’m not sure we understand that the cost of leadership is expensive. Well, let me speak for myself; I didn’t understand.

It’s one thing to get a word to share on Sunday, but I wasn’t just responsible for preaching or teaching a word on specific days, I was fully responsible for the life and spiritual destiny of each person that joined this ministry, God had allowed me to oversee. The role of leadership begin to take on a whole new view. What this meant on a small scale was- I had to be willing to sacrifice time that I didn’t want to give up; TV shows that I didn’t want to give up; sleep that I didn’t want to give up and more. On a larger scale it meant, if the people were going to eat, I had to feed them. If they were going to learn, I had to teach them. Like…I am totally responsible, and their lives and destinies, are depending on me to grow, so that I can give them what they need.

The harsh reality is- as much as I didn’t and sometimes, still don’t want to grow, I can’t remain where I was, when I first started. I can’t continue to operate today, as I did, when I first started three years ago. That “probationary” season is over! God, even with all His patience, will not allow me to comfortably, continue to lead His people in that same place.

So here’s what I’ve learned ladies! When there’s a shift taking place in your life, and you have been granted with MORE (responsibility, leadership, finances, business, opportunities, etc.), what you did before, won’t be enough to sustain you at this new level. The types of prayers you prayed, won’t be the same types of prayers you will pray now. The time you spent in prayer and the Word before, won’t be the same amount of time you spend in prayer and the Word now. Nothing can remain the same as before. Your mindset must change, but most importantly, YOU must change! The scripture puts it like this- Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater.- Luke 12:48 The Living Bible

As you grow, you might find yourself in a place where you want to draw back, but know that your growth is not an option, but a requirement. You can’t be in leadership and not expect to be challenged or to grow, but know that, for every new level, there’s also another level of grace available to carry you through. His grace is sufficient in your beginning stages, and for every new level of growth you reach in your journey.

Pastor Clarissa Johnson