I need to be led.

Because Jesus says so. Because he gifts leaders to lead. Because he commands me to submit to the leaders he has placed in my life. And because I cannot possibly be perfectly well rounded. I have blind spots. I have weaknesses. I have issues I have no idea how to address.

I need to be led.

By Jesus, of course, and primarily—but how does he do that? How does Jesus lead me? By his Spirit, amen. Through scripture, absolutely. But how? Many times, through others.

I want to show you something. “It was he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).

How will all this happen? By Christ’s power, manifested through strategic leaders who know how to get the body moving and serving. Paul introduces five species of leaders here: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers. All are needed, banging on all cylinders, for God’s dream for his church to come true. Each kind of leader brings with him or her a burning passion which sets the direction of their leadership. Imagine a board meeting with one of each type weighing in on an issue.

The apostle speaks first. “I love this idea. It’s practically bleeding Godly vision and will help us take new ground for the kingdom.”

“Not so fast,” says the prophet. “What I want to know is, ‘What is God saying about this?”

The evangelist sighs. “Enough prayer. People are dying without Christ out there. This initiative will help us reach more people. It’s a no-brainer.”

The teacher coughs. “Well, I do have to admit, it’s thoroughly biblical. And it helps our people put what they’re learning into practice.”

“We just have to make sure not to lose folks in the process,” the pastor reminds his peers. “We have to prepare them. Care for them. But I do believe the flock is ready.”

See the difference? And each leader helps the body move in a necessary, Godly direction. Working together, that amounts to God’s direction. But the question is, who are the people asking these questions about MY life? I want to make a big decision, say. Who’s asking me, “How does this square with God’s expanding vision for your life? What is the Holy Spirit laying on your heart? How will this help reach the world for Christ? What does God’s word say? How is this going to deepen your relationship with God and help you lean into community?”

Uh…

I need to be led.

This doesn’t mean giving away my God-given responsibility to seek his will for myself, to meditate on the scriptures, to think, to pray, or to choose. Not at all. But I get stuck from time to time. You? And a leader’s job is to move me. As John Ortberg says, “a leader has a strong bias toward action,” whereas people in general have a strong tendency to stagnate. I might resonate with one or two of those passionate questions, but not all five. I need someone with those eyes poking me in that direction so I don’t neglect something vitally important. So again,

I need to be led.

I need an apostle in my life. A prophet. An evangelist. A teacher. A pastor. What do you think? Where might you need some outside leadership in your life?