I don’t know about you, but my life has turned out nothing like I planned it. In fact, it’s actually better than anything I could’ve imagined! Yes, there are certainly things that I thought I would have or do, that haven’t come to pass yet, and maybe never will. But I honestly can’t say that my life has been disappointing, or that God has not been faithful, or that I’ve got it all figured out.
This month will mark twenty years that I’ve been in full-time vocational Christian ministry. I’ve served in pastoral roles, been a global worker overseas, served as a ministry specialist and a host of other roles and responsibilities. I have found the sage wisdom of one of my Bible College professors to be very true, “Seize hold of every opportunity and experience that you are given, because it’s like a key that goes on a key ring, and you never know when you’ll be standing in front of a door that one of those keys will open.”
My life and leadership journey has certainly not been a random series of events. I do believe in “calling” and I do believe that God calls people to serve Him in specific ways, for a lifetime or a season and we are asked to be obedient to Him. I’m pretty driven so I approach life, faith, calling and ministry at full-throttle. I don’t believe in doing anything half-way, but with quality, simplicity and excellence. I’m a more Hebraic than Greek thinker, in that I do actually believe that “all things are to be done unto the Lord." I’m also a pretty strategic thinker – which alas, yes, it does mean that I often overthink things. But God knows this about me, it’s how He created me and He certainly leans into it when He’s leading and directing me. I also greatly value “being” and have learned in recent years the practice and discipline of this. “Being” with God is equally, if not more important that “doing” for God. I’ve learned that God speaks loudly in my silence, that taking time to just be with God and be in His Word, not for study or teaching preparation brings me into deeper relationship with the Father.
I’ve also learned that while we need to be strategic, thoughtful and intentional in our leadership lives, sometimes we just need to show up. Wayne Gretzky is famous for saying, “I skate to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been.” Whether we like it not, the familiar is comforting. Tradition elicits warm fuzzies and fond memories. I have been involved in ministry and leadership long enough now that I have a fair amount of experience. I’ve developed philosophies of leadership and ministry, I have tried and true approaches and can even lead in certain areas by rote – which is a little dangerous.
There are million good things that we can invest our time, energy and passion into. I have about 20-30 really great ideas per day; truly amazing things that I can be doing to make Jesus known, build His Kingdom and basically serve humanity. But in reality, maybe two of them are actually things that God wants me to do. As great as the other 28 are, He’s actually only asking me to partner with Him in doing two. Which is really the crux of the matter, what is God inviting me to partner with Him in? What is God inviting you to partner with Him in?
In John 5:19-20, Jesus said, “… ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.’…” What is the Father doing and am I doing likewise? Or, am I trying to do my own thing – as good as it may be? Jesus is skating to where the puck is – to where the Father is leading and at work and that’s where I want to be in life and leadership. I want to be about the Father’s business. I want to show up where He is and be apart of what He is doing. But I don’t just want to show up empty handed. I want to show up with my bulky key chain of life experiences that He has given me that can open doors that He leads me to, a heart that is turned towards Him and knows how to simply be with Him and a will that is obedient to Him wherever He may lead me.
So I encourage you, to find out what the Father is doing in your life, family, church, spheres of influence and just show up ready to partner with Him.
Hailey Armoogan currently serves as the Lead Pastor of Fort Smith Pentecostal Church in Fort Smith, NWT. She has been in full-time ministry for 20 years, having served overseas for eight years as a PAOC Global Worker in Israel, as the Children’s Specialist for PAOC International Missions and in various pastoral roles across Canada.