Here to Serve Leadership

Here to Serve: Reclaiming a Sense of Urgency to the Call of God


“With the demographic challenge of fewer leaders among us, ministers now have greater options allowing them to be selective about where they go. The effect of that change has produced a more self-centred approach to serving rather than a ‘because you say so, Lord, I will’ posture.”

“How could they do that to you?” I asked after hearing a ministry colleague share about receiving his marching orders to move to another province. My friend was a Salvation Army officer the Lord was using to revitalize a church in the city where I ministered. The news of him being sent to another unknown church in a distant province bothered me. It seemed so arbitrary and unfair. He was serving well, and his ministry was bearing good fruit here. I was convinced the leadership brass was out of touch and uninformed. So, I brazenly shared my opinions and frustration about their leadership system. My friend patiently listened to my objections and then, with a caring but serious tone, said, “Jason, remember that you are called by God, too.”

Those words sat with me for a few weeks. Little did I know they were preparing me for “marching orders” of change coming my way. Only a few months later, I sat around our kitchen table with my family, wrestling with the call of God. I had been asked to consider another ministry position. It was an invitation that made me feel inadequate, underqualified, unprepared and unsure if I would like it or succeed. What made it harder was that I was enjoying the place of ministry where I was. After a few challenging years of struggle and change, we were in a good spot, with a team we loved, in a community we loved. Furthermore, my children were excelling in their school, and we had made quality community connections. Was now the time to uproot all of that?

The importance and urgency of the call of God is something that I see diminishing among us. As a district leader, I see evidence of that in pastoral interviews, transition conversations and church services. I don’t understand all the reasons for the diminishing of the call, but I do see a few trends that have contributed.

With the demographic challenge of fewer leaders among us, ministers now have greater options allowing them to be selective about where they go. The effect of that change has produced a more self-centred approach to serving rather than a “because you say so, Lord, I will” posture.

In my six years of working in the Eastern Ontario & Nunavut District, I have heard various reasons given by people not wanting to go to a particular available church. Here are a few of the more common ones:

  • My spouse wants to live close to their family.
  • I want to make much more money than that.
  • I promised my children that we wouldn’t change schools.
  • I looked online, but there are only a few large stores in that community.
  • That church needs a lot of work, and I want something that isn’t hard right now.


Those responses are very different from what is described of Marian Keller, a former PAOC missionary. “Leaving two husbands and two babies buried beneath the Africa[n] soil, Marian Keller never wavered from her earlier declaration, ‘Had I only more lives to give Him, gladly would I surrender them all.’”1

The other reason I see for the decline of the call comes from immature discipleship. Any discipleship that helps people to know Christ as Saviour but not as Lord is immature and incomplete.

Oswald Chambers, in his book My Utmost for His Highest, said, “God did not direct His call to Isaiah – Isaiah overheard God saying, ‘...who will go for us?’ The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude.”2

When confronted with the call of God (again), I confess that my attitude was about myself and my family. Moving would have been difficult for my children. I remember going to a new school at a certain age, and as a father, I wanted to spare my children from that. Other “what ifs?” and unknowns caused me to hesitate going forward because I wanted all the details to be in place before obeying the call.

A church pew of people sitting with open notebooksSitting around the kitchen table one night, sharing family devotions, we randomly came to Luke 9:57-62. In this passage, a man approached Jesus and said, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Then Jesus said to another man, “Follow me,” and the man provided a poor excuse. Finally, another man nearby shares that he will follow Jesus but must return to his family first. Jesus responds, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

As was our custom, I asked my sons what they thought of that passage and what it meant. My youngest son, 11 years old then, said, “I think it means that Jesus is in charge, and we can trust Him with the details.” Of course, he didn’t know what we were wrestling with at the time, but the clarity of his response and the passage we had just read cut to our hearts. So, my wife and I had an altar moment around that table and committed ourselves to serve Jesus and trust Him with the details.

As I travel to various churches, I see the call of God waning through the lack of prayer, a judgmental attitude toward the world, and an insular approach to ministry. I have found that a lack of burden leads to a lack of urgency. So, at a time when our culture desperately needs the light of Jesus and churches need leaders, how can we reclaim an urgency to the call of God? We must submit to the Lordship of Jesus and allow our hearts to be broken for lost people.

Years ago, I noticed the prayer ministry was dwindling in the church I was pastoring. When I asked the Lord about this, He showed me that we had lost our burden for those without Christ. While reading Matthew 9:35-38, I saw that Jesus travelled around and saw the crowds. He had compassion on them “because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Immediately, I knew that I had to help our people see the crowds again. So, for the next six weeks, we held outdoor prayer meetings in specific locations around the city. The final site was in a new casino. I instructed the group to be respectful as they walked around, pray silently as they observed people, and pay attention to what the Lord said to them. When we left the casino to debrief at a nearby Tim Hortons, the group sat silently, processing what they had seen. Some shared the hopelessness they felt, others were angry about seeing people in bondage, while others remarked at how dark and godless the casino felt. One person said he counted 12 buses that brought seniors in for free to gamble. He said, “It struck me that if a casino is doing all it can to take money from seniors, how come we aren't doing all we can to bring seniors to church to introduce them to Jesus?” That one comment sparked the burden we had been lacking to reach our community. Our prayer meetings came alive again, and they began to change the impetus of the church to reach out beyond ourselves.

Could God still be calling, but we don’t hear it? Could the need be so great, but we don’t see it? As followers of Jesus, do we really understand and submit to His Lordship over our lives?

The call of God has confronted me on several occasions, and I suspect it will continue to until Jesus returns or calls me home. The same applies to you. If the call of God has lost its potency in your heart, get on your knees today and repent as you pray with eyes wide open, looking at lost people. Let the Lord impart a new burden and unction in your ministry. Remember that you are called by God, too.

Jason Luscombe is married to Colleen and has two sons, Lincoln and Liam. They currently live in Whitby, Ont., where Jason serves as the Eastern Ontario & Nunavut district superintendent.

This article appeared in the July/August/September 2023 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2023 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Home page photo © Landing page photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash.

  1. Picture This! Reflecting on 100 Years of the PAOC (Mississauga, ON: The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, 2018), 76.
  2. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (Barbour Books, 1963), 14.

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