By: Tabita González
When it comes to strategic leadership, any ministry model we choose should always serve the mission, not the other way around. Nuances of culture, social issues, or budgets, should never dictate our mission, but should always inform our strategy and help us to fulfill our goals.
For this to take place, it requires a clear understanding of our mission and a constant attitude like that of the chiefs of Issachar: “men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron. 12:32). Trying to discern our times, nonetheless, can be a daunting and energy-draining task, especially if you attempt to do it on your own.
Maybe you have heard of the acronym VUCA before. This has become a term used to define the world we live in: a culture which is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Admittedly, few of us would embrace those four words or want them to describe our reality! Still, the fact remains that adapting to a VUCA world and discerning the times is a desperate need if we desire to fulfill our mission.
In a significant time of change, instability, and government turnover in the Kingdom of Israel, among men of courage who were gifted in battle, the Lord provided to King David a certain group of men from the tribe of Issachar who understood the times and knew what needed to be done. What a gift to the brand-new king of Israel! I confess that many times I have felt that the purpose of this text is that I should try my best to be that type of leader capable of discerning the times and knowing exactly what needs to be done. How presumptuous I was! No wonder my energy was drained so many times in ministry. The reality is that at the end of 1 Chronicles 12:32, we find the number of these type of men is 200! And there is mention of their relatives who surely had a lot to contribute as well.
The point is that this can’t and shouldn’t be done alone. As I pondered discerning the times together in community, I was reminded of serving on the mission field, and repeatedly bowing on my knees and praying Luke 10:2. “Lord of the harvest, send qualified people who will carry the ministry forward!” He answered that prayer, and I quickly had to learn how to delegate and trust in God to make us relevant to the context in which we were serving. It turned out to be the best answer to prayer I ever received in ministry!
Felix Ortis, a well-known Spanish author in Christian leadership, often affirms that if we want to fulfill our mission in this VUCA world, we need to be surrounded by men and women who see things we can’t see. We need to seek out those who bring different and fresh perspectives to the table, and many who have different sets of skills than we could ever provide on our own. If that eclectic group of leaders begins to move with the same heart and passion for mission, look out!
I pray today that the Lord provides those types of people for you and me in these days, and that he helps us to learn how to move together with one heart for the advancement of His kingdom.
*Tabita González is a missionary serving on the Kansas City District.