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Session 5 of the Summit

Filed under: God's movement,leadership,willow — 11:55 am

Wow, session 5 of the Leadership Summit (called “Tough Callings”) just finished, and it messed me up.  Something is stirring deep inside.

right before session 5

I had the opportunity to help lead the first few minutes of the session (reading from Colossians 1, the Charlie Hall song “Center,” and the classic “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”) with a killer team of some of my favorite people.  I love our team.  And I’m not sure how it sounded around the country, but the people here in South Barrington sang their hearts out.

After a few more songs, I found my seat and got ambushed by the stories, songs, and prayers of people who have received hard callings…people who have given up everything to serve the poor and most forgotten people on earth.  One after another, these stories pushed and pulled me into some deep and uncomfortable places, and I’m still feeling it.  Here’s the question I can’t get beyond…

Am I in the place I am in, doing what I’m doing, because God
has called me?  Or is this the best gig I can find?

Am I following Jesus into the life he’s made me to live, or am I just unconsciously drifting from “what I think is best” to “what feels right” to “what makes the most sense?”  Is it possible that I’m living the kind of comfortable life I’ve always wanted to live, but just overlaying spiritual language on top of it?  When I pray “God, what do you want me to do?,” am I actually saying “God, here’s what I’m going to do…please bless it?”  I’m not sure.  These are heavy questions that I need to keep digging into.

Thanks for the grace to let me wrestle with all this out loud.  What do you think?  Do you ever feel a similar tension in your life?


  1. Wow…I’m happily surprised to hear that even you were stirred up by the session, knowing that the position you have at Willow seems/looks like a warm hire, given your family ties. However, you wouldn’t be working and serving at your particular job unless you were mightily qualifed. I fully assume that.

    Regardless how any of us end up where we are, we must serve in that capacity 100% surrendered! If you are 100%, consistently surrender, I believe where you are in that moment is where God has assigned you….until he begins to “reassigns” you. You’ll know when that happens. God guides fully surrendered hearts & lives!!!

    I just left Willow to move to Florida. I felt God calling me here and I’m praying for the full plan to play out. I got here to find out that Pinellas County is in huge need of God! There are several of us who, independantly, ended up here, from different parts of the country. We all have the same, strange beckoning here. Very odd. About 8 or 10 of us…looking around and at each other and all asking the same thing….”What next God?”.

    That’s what happens when you’re 100% surrendered! Sometimes “strange, holy things happen.

    Comment by Catherine — August 12, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  2. This is a really important question for worship leaders, Aaron. Important and scary. As one who is presently working in the “best gig” I can imagine, I know full well the imperative, and also the difficulty, of remaining ever able to hear the call of God above the comforting (and ego-bolstering) allure of the awesome gig. I think accountability among other worship leaders – and also people outside of the community in question – is really important to that end. Good for you for naming this vocational challenge publicly; I think it’s truer and more of an issue among church leaders than we usually want to admit.


    Comment by TR — August 12, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

  3. Tom

    Thanks for the words of solidarity! Glad to know I’m not alone…


    Comment by aaronieq — August 12, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

  4. Aaron,

    I know the tension you are talking about. A few days ago I was wrestling with the same thing. Being in ministry as well, I’ve found when I ask those questions out loud not only am I looked at funny, but, people start to question the ministry area I am leading.

    I have found personally that those questions and my reastless heart about what God is doing in all things, have helped memo realize just that I’m dong what He wants me to do and I’m avoiding complacency.

    Keep questioning.

    Grace and peace.

    Comment by George — August 12, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

  5. Way to wrestle with the real stuff, bro! Programming is important, but calling is divine. Was struck by 1 Samuel 15 this week when Saul did what he wanted in the name of ‘obedience’ to God, but God never called him to do what he did.
    Praying for courage for you. Don’t stop wrestling!!! That’s where the joy is!

    Comment by Nate — August 12, 2011 @ 7:08 pm

  6. Dude. Allow me to clarify my initial post….bottomline: You are serving the Kingdom mightily where you are, no question there….the wrestling is the stirring of the Holy Spirit. That wrestling and stirring is great evidence of your surrender! Excited for you and others who are in that place.

    Comment by Catherine — August 13, 2011 @ 9:20 am

  7. Shalom Aaron,

    Here’s a terrific post from a Summit attender about the tension between the her and now necessities of life and one’s
    vision/passion for what’s needed for a better future.


    Comment by Jordan Goodman — August 13, 2011 @ 10:45 am

  8. Shalom Aaron,

    The first line should read “the here and now”


    Comment by Jordan Goodman — August 13, 2011 @ 10:46 am

  9. Hi Aaron-
    I think many of us feel the same way around the globe. This is part of what makes this event so powerful to us all- the connectedness. We are so wrapped up in ourselves, and the flesh instead of “the blood”
    What next is a great question as well. My thoughts and prayers go out to all who have commented here and all who are seeking. I have known for a long time what I wanted to do with my life. I have always felt it was a calling. However, this puts a major divider in my mind. Is this what God wants or what I want? I am a teacher. I always wanted to be one. I am there. Every bit of the past ten years has been a challenge of survival. Are these God’s challenges to make me stronger or are these challenges God’s way of telling me to look elsewhere?

    On a different note, Is there somewhere I can get a list of the songs and artists that performed at the Summit? I would like to seek these out on Itunes. Maybe you can help me?

    May your life be comforted with the
    Peace of Christ;

    Comment by John D — August 19, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

  10. Aaron,
    It is so hard to imagine that someone in your position can feel like this. I’m always wrestling with these questions, praying and searching but I work in a dark, secular job. I wonder does God need me here, am I effective, how can I be a light, is it even shining (sometimes NO). How can it be, leading thousands in worship, that you feel like this? I am really wondering. Do you think it’s just that we are recognizing our unworthiness before the Almighty? Or are we actually not where God wants us… What do you think?

    Comment by Amy — August 22, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

  11. Amy,

    Thanks for the comment. I’m not really sure, but I would say this: I don’t believe there is a true “secular” job, or a pure “ministry” job. Man looks on the outward, but God looks on the heart. Every one of us have a small role to play in God’s Movement of Redemption, and the key is to jump in where ever God has us with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strengths….and let His Spirit guide us to tangibly love the people around us. That’s ministry! When I do that, then my worship leader role is ministry, when I don’t, it’s just songs. When you do that, the gates of Hell cannot prevail, but when you don’t, it’s just a job.

    This is one of those things that is incredibly simple to talk about, but sooooooo difficult to live out. It’ll take us both a lifetime. But thank God for GRACE and second chances. And millionth chances!

    Keep wrestling with this. You’re asking great questions (that we all ask)!

    Comment by aaronieq — August 23, 2011 @ 7:23 am

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