Transitions offer challenges we wouldn’t otherwise experience. The changes that bring on these transitions are inevitable. They will come, but we have a choice in how we respond.
It’s tempting to withdraw, preferring a more familiar past. The present and future can seem so uncertain. I can only imagine what it must be like leading your flock through this pandemic. I can picture the emails that may be coming to you from the many sides of every issue. Competing factions can have you feeling like a wishbone, being pulled in opposite directions. I’ve been there, and I am still experiencing those tensions in my new role.
And yet, with change also comes opportunity. God is faithful to use the transitions in our lives to grow us along with His kingdom, and we serve Him with confidence, trusting in His unqualified faithfulness. That sounds cliché, and I almost hesitate to write it. We’ve all taught this truth so often that it can sometimes fail to penetrate our own hearts sufficiently. However, if we listen and respond with renewed willingness, we can blaze a unique trail and show our neighbors a better way.
God has always proven faithful in the midst of even the most disruptive times. Paul’s words to the church in Rome remind us of this. Led by the Holy Spirit, God’s people welcomed Gentiles into what had been a distinctly Jewish movement. It was nothing less than a bone-jarring transition for the followers of Jesus at that time. It caused some tensions that Paul addressed.
Offer an open hand of fellowship to welcome every true believer … refuse to engage
in debates with them concerning nothing more than opinions.
… determine to never deliberately cause a brother or sister to stumble and fall because of your actions … there is nothing wrong with eating any food. But to the one who considers it to be unclean, it is unacceptable. If your brother or sister is offended because you insist on eating what you want, it is no longer love that rules your conduct. Why would you wound someone for whom the Messiah gave His life, just so you can eat what you want? … For the kingdom of God is not a matter of rules about food and drink, but is in the realm of the Holy Spirit, filled with righteousness, peace, and joy.
—Romans 14:1, 13-17 (TPT, emphasis added)
Though today’s issues are different, we must embrace the Law of Love, as they did. We must be a righteous people who exude the peace and joy of the Spirit regardless of what changes may land in our path. That’s why I pray for you. I want the eyes and ears of your hearts to see and hear our faithful, loving God, who leads us through all transitions. Even better, He has good things in store for our movement because He alone is the giver of every good and perfect gift. That will never change.
As we follow God, may our Foursquare family be marked by righteousness, peaceable shalom, and resounding joy in the Holy Spirit. I see these qualities in Glenn Burris Jr., our outgoing president. He’s modeled these virtues throughout his tenure, offering encouragement to others by his example. Glenn’s unshakable faith has sustained him as president, especially when transitions he was called to navigate were unwelcomed. He’s finished well, and I am so grateful for his mentoring and friendship.
I hope the Fall 2020 issue of Foursquare Leader magazine encourages you. Remember that transitions are an inevitable part of life. To live is to change, and great leaders who grow through transitions bring blessings to all those they serve.