As a Jobs for Life (JfL) staff, we meet every Wednesday morning to pray, study the Word or a meaningful book as well as to strategize, plan and dream together. At a recent staff meeting we wrestled with this question. It is not where we intended to go, but in order to answer questions about direction and activity, you first need to understand the vision or the philosophical “why” before you can move forward in the “what”. There is a great TED talk by Simon Sinek about this.
Each one of us feels called but when we come together as an organization, a family, it can get messy to answer collectively. We all have our own experience and views. We have our gifts and talents. We have our own ignorance and prejudices. We know God is knitting us together in unity but we still have a lot of unanswered questions about what it looks like.
This is so much bigger than the 14 of us on staff at JfL. This is about the leaders, pastors, investors and friends He called to partner in this ministry centered around restoration and work. It is about you and what God is speaking to you in prayer and the people He is putting in your life.
We want to share a few things we discussed about our calling:
God is calling us to be in relationship and live in community with each other.
We need each other. This goes deep and is intentional. It is not for any other reason than the glory of God. In many ways it is counter-cultural but it is His design and is manifest in the Church. One of our most important roles is to be encouragers of each other, lifting one another up and sharing the burdens for the long haul.
God is calling us to be authentic.
We need to be real and transparent. We are all dying to take off the mask and live in the revelation we are all broken. We can no longer allow fear of judgement to determine how we are going to relate with one another. “Everything is fine” is never the answer. We want to hear the truth and enter into the pain.
We are being called to walk in the truth of the Word. It isn’t enough to have a deep understanding of the Gospel. We need to live it out and let the chips fall.
You hear stories about pastors getting real and speaking the truth from the Word about life, regardless of the consequences. It seems so radical and risky. But aren’t we being called to risk it all? What are we actually risking? We need to be willing to take the cultural risk for the spiritual reward. Change only happens through action.
We are called to work for a kingdom purpose to see people and communities flourish.
It is not about our individual accomplishments or the bottom line. We do what we do to bring the kingdom of God to Earth and see lives and communities transformed. This calling is for everyone regardless of where you work and what you do. This means we must do business differently with a greater sense of purpose.
We are called to make a significant shift, changing the current trajectory of our broken world.
Not everyone is going to understand this. It is easier to give our possessions than it is to give our heart. There is tremendous tension as we come against powerful systems that dictate expectations and keep people in bondage. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”
If we want to see change happen in the Church, it needs to start right here with us. God does not move because of our need. He moves because of our faith. We must be obedient to His will in our lives.
In our journey as a JfL family, we have many more questions than answers. Not that we are comfortable in this place of tension and uncertainty, but in our faith we are confident God, the source of all knowledge, truth and wisdom, has the answers. We will be fasting and praying together as we seek direction.
There is no greater comfort than to know Jesus prayed for us today as one of the last things he did on this Earth. In his words from John 17: 20-23:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”