Welcome to my little corner of McCormick Seminary — which is NOT actually a corner, but an office in the middle of the second floor of the seminary building – a veritable Grand Central Station of activity. It’s never a boring place, rarely a quiet place, and it’s filled with the comings and goings of staff members and administrators, students, faculty, prospective students and all manner of guests and visitors – all engaged in some form of active ministry, learning and faith formation for leadership in the church of today and tomorrow. Which is what I hope this blog will be about – leadership, spiritual formation, and what it means to take this uncertain, yet incredibly awesome journey into ministry.
And that makes me think of Moses and his progressive formation as a leader of the Israelites (a logical segue). Having crossed the Red Sea to escape from Pharoah and his armies, Moses and the whole congregation “journey[ed] by stages , as the Lord commanded (Ex. 17: 1b),” moving through the perils and challenges of their trek through the wilderness.
At first glance, Moses doesn’t appear to have qualities that would make one think he’s a natural leaders – he’s not a genius; he’s not an eloquent speaker – after all, he stutters; he’s on the lam after having killed an Egyptian who was beating “a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk (Ex. 2: 11).” And when God calls out to him from the burning bush, he is filled with doubts about his ability to do what God asks of him.
Yet Moses does have an alertness to the presence of God; he turns aside to look, listen and discern what God commands, and he demonstrates a willingness (after much protestation and many excuses) to take on the responsibility that God lays upon his shoulders. He agrees to put himself at risk to do what God says needs to be done, and to serve God when he might have preferred to do anything other than…… Moses drags his heels, but ultimately he understands that the best and most faithful ways to lead others is by serving – by always listening for God’s leading, and not his own desires.
As you consider seminary, or journey through seminary, or continue to practice whatever ministry you believe God has called you to follow, ask yourself what you’re willing to risk. What things need doing that are the things of God? Are you willing to be God’s humble servant, even more than you are determined to be God’s chosen leader?