The mission Jesus calls us to take part in is to make disciples of all nations. Raising up leaders to teach, serve, encourage, pray and mentor is vital to carry forward God's mission to make his glory known to all.
'Raising Gospel Leaders' is an interview series where we hear from a range leaders at City on a Hill Melbourne about their experience in leading others to know Jesus and make Jesus known.
Callista Low is one of our key leaders in our City Uni ministry - for young adults and students - and shared so generously with us about her experience in the interview below!
What made you say yes to serving in a leadership position?
End of last year was sort of the end of my Uni life and it was also the end of OCF (Overseas Christian Fellowship). I just remember being involved in student ministry and how much joy it brought me seeing people grow and desire God more and seeing that we're all sort of a part of this together. I think the reason I said yes was knowing that I could do this alongside other people as well and that there was a team behind this ministry. I know that there's a purpose in this ministry because I feel like personally as a young adult in this church as well, it's sometimes hard to connect in but having that foundation where we can be rooted in the church altogether as this young demographic was nice.
What does it mean for you as a leader to love and shepherd others? Why is this important?
I look towards that 1 Peter verse where it says to shepherd your flock and it's to set an example to them, as elders of the flock to take care of them. However, it is also knowing that I have my own great shepherd who has given so much to me in my life, and working from that overflow, knowing that I must first feed myself and first have to seek out mentorship. The Greenhouse program has been great in terms of people pouring into my life and me being able to sort of pass that onto other people as well. I think it's important because God has already blessed me with so many things and it's like allowing God to work his ways through me, through the words that I speak, or like through the actions that I portray. I just hope that it imitates Christ, and it ultimately will bring him the Glory, not me.
What are the challenges of this ministry?
Because this is a very new ministry, in the beginning there were communication issues, sometimes we wouldn't delegate things properly because no one brought it up or people were afraid of taking up someone else's time. But the thing that helped overcome it and helped me see that unity in Christ was how talented and uniquely gifted each one of the members are. I think ministry can sometimes just be physically and mentally tiring because you keep on thinking about it or you're relying on your own strength to make sure that things go well. But it's letting God do his work, but also being obedient and being faithful and just letting him use us, however he may, and not depending on our own strength, but also seeing the good that comes out of it.
What are the highlights of this ministry? What makes you go, "This is so worth it!"
I think it's just the fact that people have a space where they can ask questions, where people can spur each other on, seeing that unity, people caring for one another, people edifying one another, and sharpening one another. I think that's a big blessing about community and being together in one space, speaking, talking about God's word, and who God is in our own personal lives. I think there's so much power in the stories and the testimonies that we bring. The leadership team has also been really encouraging and it's been a good space to grow in skills like Bible study reading and to see the richness that comes out of it.
What do you think the barriers are to Christians stepping up as leaders and using their God given gifts within the church? How can we encourage one another to do so?
One thing that I've been taking on more this year is just to step out in boldness, to step out in faith, and to not be timid or shy in the way that I live out my faith. If God calls us to serve one another, calls us to love one another, calls us to be part of a community and to honour one another, then just do it and know that God will help you through it as well. I think it's always that first initial step to say yes to those things, just starting small, and having those conversations with people about how this is something that's been placed on your heart, or you feel like you personally really want. You may not know how or what to do, but it’s about just putting it out there, sharing, and being vulnerable in that moment. It was such open and vulnerable conversations with the leaders that led me to stepping into the role. There's also a lot of grace as well in learning from each other and being teachable and being willing to learn. I think that that comes hand in hand as well.
I know I've felt doubt in my own capabilities and my own skills, my readiness, or my knowledge to do so. But it's knowing that we are God's handiwork, we are like co-labourers with him, and that in leadership you don't have to do it alone. God will be able to equip you in his time and he will send people around you to encourage you and support you. God is the strength of it all and the one thing that I can depend on.