I flew into Vancouver with one purpose in mind – missionary engagement with young adults. I flew out with a different mindset for achieving that goal, and how my heart factored into the equation. You see, I learned that it’s the heart of the leader that matters for the heart of God’s mission.
Even in God’s mission to reach the world, it starts with one individual’s heart. The Envision Summit wasn’t something I was prepared for. After arriving, it was then that God said, “Let’s talk deep, let’s go there! It’s been far too long.” On that day, if I had been left to my own devices (electronic or idiomatic) in the hustle and bustle of work life, I would have called out, “Ya, just after this next Netflix episode.” Because I was making time for that, but not a deep, honest conversation with God. He didn’t even give me a choice that day, and that’s a good thing.
I was a leader that was trying to untangle this string called life, but there were far too many knots in it to let me get anywhere but frustrated. If I was going to be a tool in God’s hands, like a string line for a landscaper used to make an uneven ground level for others, then I needed to deal with those knots in my life.
The first knot was my identity. This issue shook me, and others, so much that first day. If I was to be secure in my identity, then I had to know who I was, as well as how trustworthy the being who made me is. Easy stuff to stomach if you’re not willing to be honest. Just how secure was I really?
The second knot I had in my life, was the need to repent of areas in my life in which I had not let God’s Holy Spirit invade that were still in the ugliness of sin. Rob Reimer, the main speaker for these soul care sessions, called this ‘emptying the suitcase of the soul.’ The Holy Spirit is always calling you one step at a time deeper into His presence. I thanked God in this instance for not overwhelming me with the depravity of my human nature, but rather His goodness and graciousness as that of a strong travelling companion that says, as Christ encouraged His disciples, “and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Now, just one step more, each hour, each beckoning.
A third knot that required more of the Holy Spirit’s leading was for freedom from things outside my control, such as family sin patterns, unprovoked wounds, and debilitating fears. Finding that God cared about it all, making His light shine so bright in that darkness that demons were exposed for how pitiful they are, that surely the only firm foundation on which to stand is Jesus Christ.
The lesson learned during the Envision Summit is that outfitting young adults for mission doesn’t happen fruitfully without the heart of the leader being outfit first. You can only lead others where you have been led before. The heart of the leader matters to God and His mission.