by guest blogger Jonathan LaBarge

As we have a Lord who is found out on the water, your church becomes something of a laboratory for stepping out of the boat. Your experiments live out Peter’s question: “Lord, if it’s you, call me out upon the water.” But is there some way into confidence for identifying the ways Jesus has called you into something new?

If you were suddenly struck by blinding light (like Paul), come upon a burning bush (like Moses), or hear words in the wind while sleeping in mountain caves (Like Elisha), then you would have all the confidence you need. However, these “theophonies” may not be part of your leadership story. Even still, the call to lead out of the boat remains. What are some other means by which we can gain confidence?

Did Jesus already ask?

As ideas emerge for how you might step out upon the waters, study carefully whether this idea connects directly with what Jesus has already asked of the church in Scripture. If you can identify the theme in question as one of Jesus’ Asks, then move with confidence that the answer is “Yes.” For example, in Mt. 28:19 Jesus directed us to make disciples. He said it so we do it.

Is this in any opposition to Jesus’ Ask?

Remember the interaction between Peter and Jesus in Mt.16 when Jesus started to let them know about his impending crucifixion? “Never, Lord!” [Peter] said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” As you study Scripture to see if the new idea is found in what Jesus has already asked, also pay attention if your idea stands in opposition. Peter may appear valiant in his reproach of Jesus: “Don’t have negative thoughts about yourself. Stay positive, and we can do this!” However, nothing matters more than following the words of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit is guiding you, as of NOW.

As Paul went on his missionary journeys there was plenty he had to essentially make up as went along! It was one spiritual and evangelical experiment after another. A lot of walking on water. His letters throughout the New Testament are often to check in on these experiments, and either make needed corrections or offer encouragement. Notice that there were times when God the Holy Spirit blocked and redirected him (Acts 16:6). Paul saw Proverbs 16:3 first hand: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” You can lead with confidence that simply picking your foot up over the side of the boat is a move already under the guidance of God the Holy Spirit.

More on Change

Want to learn more about leading through change? Check out these helpful resources:

Change Management Effectiveness Profile: This competency-based questionnaire has been designed to help you understand more about your relative skills or abilities in critical areas. It will give you a picture of your overall ability to demonstrate effective change management.

Change Management Skill Builder Booklet: This skill builder can be used as a personal or organizational process to help people walk through major life changes at work or at home.

Managing Change Coaching Guide and Storyboard: This storyboard and coaching guide use a four-step approach to change management. Coaches will find this a helpful resource to help steer people through major change in their lives at work or in the home.

Photo by Tory Morrison on Unsplash