Friday, August 12, 2011

GLS Session 5: Mama Maggie Gobran, Wess Staford, Bill Hybels “Tough Callings”

mama_maggieGlobal Leadership Summit Session 5: Mama Maggie Gobran (Coptic Christian from Egypt), Wess Staford, Bill Hybels

From Bill Hybels: How addicted are we to the narcotic of growth and success?  Could you lead something that had a low probability of succeeding?  That is why it is important to understand your “calling.”

Story from Wes Staford and the persecution Ethiopian believers endure.  In the West we don’t understand how easy it is to be apathetic.

From Mama Maggie (she gets a standing ovation):

We don’t choose where to be born, but we do chose whether to be sinners, or to be saints. Christians in Egypt pay the highest price for their faith.  There more martyrs in Egypt than any other place.  25 years ago she heard her “tough calling.” Mama Maggie’s ministry cares for slum women and children in Egypt.  They put a Bible in every home they visit. True love is to forgive.  The toughest thing for us is to have a pure heart and to know the almighty.  She devotes a lot of time to silence.  She wants us to be silent with our tongue and thoughts and hearts and spirits.  “We leave many and are with the one.”

Back to Hybels:

Jeremiah received a “tough calling” from God.  Initially Jeremiah is excited, but nothing goes well.  People want him to shut up.  He gets beat up. Jeremiah is bitter at God.  See Jer. chapter 20.  Aren’t things supposed to go well when God is involved?  Jeremiah is torn between his calling and his ache for success.  Jeremiah is bewildered by the suffering he is facing.  But he realizes that he has to die to his desire to be successful.  Jeremiah writes a lament about what is in his heart (Lamentations).  But he has a moment of clarity, “Great is thy faithfulness, your mercies are new every morning.” (Lam. 3:22-23)  In the midst of tough ministry we have the assurance of a great relationship with God in Christ.

Hybels reflects on leading a successful, affluent ministry.  He admits he has a nice house, a nice car, a nice office.  Hybels says everything has gone well, and that people in his community who come to Christ are already managers or educated, and they know how to lead.  So Willow Creek has been very successful.  “I stand in awe of leaders who get tough assignments.”

This session was about perseverance and suffering in ministry.  We need to die to the idol of success.  Look at the example of Jeremiah, and other leaders today who have tough callings.  I think most of all of Jesus, how difficult his calling was.  He had it worse than anyone!  Yet he persevered and purchased us back for God through his cross.  And I think also of those of who are involved in Muslim ministry.  God has called us to make the glorious Messiah continually visible before Muslims.  It’s not easy.  We may not be “successful.”  But we need to persevere and be willing to suffer.  In the end we will know.  Our hope is in God.

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