Eddy Alemán didn’t expect God to call him to serve as general secretary of a denomination with historic Dutch roots in North America.
As I write this column, I’m just two weeks into my new role as general secretary of the Reformed Church in America. As a Latino whose first language is Spanish, leading a mainline denomination with historic Dutch roots in North America was not in my ministry plans—that’s for sure! But God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and our ways are not God’s ways (Isaiah 55:8). We need to be willing to say yes to God’s call to leadership in our lives.
When I read the stories of some of the great leaders in the Bible, I relate with many of them. Consider Moses: he was happily tending his father-in-law’s flock of sheep at Mount Horeb when God called him by name out of a burning bush.
What was Moses’s response? “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11).
Then God said to him, “I am who I am. … Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you’” (3:14). Moses was still not satisfied and said, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (4:10). But God didn’t let him off the hook: “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak” (4:11-12). In Moses’s last effort to convince God that calling him to leadership was a bad idea, he said, “O my Lord, please send someone else” (4:13).
Does that sound familiar? Like Moses, many of us try to convince God to call someone else to lead when he is clearly calling us.
I encourage you to say yes to God’s call to leadership in your life. Our culture may honor bold and even brash leaders. But God doesn’t always work through leaders like that. Maybe you are one of those reluctant leaders like Moses or me. Maybe you are wrestling with God’s call and don’t feel equipped to lead. Maybe you feel that you are not good enough to become a great leader. Remember that God has used all kinds of leaders to make a great impact. It’s not about our abilities but God’s empowering. Stand up and lead!