1. Schoonover-Shoffner, Kathy

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Perhaps you know or will read in this JCN (see NCF @ Work, p. 70) that I have been appointed the next National Director of Nurses Christian Fellowship, after Jane Hall retires June 30, 2016. We give thanks to God for Jane and are grateful for her caring servant leadership the past seven years. This has been a season of building up this ministry. Looking forward, this transition brings excitement and a bit of anxiety, anticipation mixed with caution. What's going to change? What can we expect?

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As I enter into the director role, I am greatly reassured by leadership transitions in the Bible. Let me explain.


Imagine being the leader following one of these great leaders: Moses, who led the Hebrews out of 430 years of Egyptian slavery and established the nation of Israel, was a leader "whom the LORD knew face to face; No one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel" (Deuteronomy 34:10, 12, NIV). King David led Israel to its mightiest time. His kingdom was established forever through his descendant Jesus, and David is renown as a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22-23). Elijah confronted wicked king Ahab and stopped the rain for 3.5 years (1 Kings 17:1); he raised a widow's son from death (1 Kings 17:17-22); and he challenged 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah at a sacrifice stand-off to their gods-and the God and won overwhelmingly (1 Kings 18). Elijah is commended as a righteous man whose prayers were powerful and effective (James 5:16-18). After these leaders were gone, the people had to wonder what would happen. Would God act as powerfully again?


Yet God raised up new leaders to continue his divine plan. Joshua took Israel forward into the Promised Land after Moses' death (Numbers 27:18-23). David's son, Solomon, became known for his great wisdom (1 Kings 3). Elisha followed Elijah (1 Kings 19:16-21) and continued to work God's miracles (2 Kings 3:11-20).


What can we learn from these transitions? First, God clearly called each leader. Second, God planned for successive leadership. Joshua was Moses' personal aide since youth (Numbers 11:28); Solomon learned from his father, David (1 Kings 2); Elisha was Elijah's attendant (1 Kings 19:21). Third, God's Spirit came upon leaders as they entered their new roles (Joshua in Numbers 27:18; Solomon in 1 Kings 3:5-12; Elisha in 2 Kings 2). Fourth, God empowered each leader to accomplish his purposes (Deuteronomy 34:9).


How does this translate to NCF today? First, after much prayer and discernment, the leadership of InterVarsity, Nurses Christian Fellowship, and I, believe God has called me to be the National Director. Second, God has been preparing me for many years as I've observed three previous NCF directors, as JCN editor, and as a serious student of the Bible. Third, I am actively seeking God and trusting the Holy Spirit will teach me and guide me into all truth (John 14-17). Fourth, Jesus has all power and authority and has commissioned me, along with all Christ followers (Matthew 28:18-20); he wants us to experience his incomparably great power (Ephesians 1:18-23). I could go on, but these biblical truths assure me of God's actions during this leadership transition.


Before anyone knew I would be asked to become NCF director, God was leading to provide for the work of JCN. He prompted us to start bringing on contributing editors and make plans for a senior editor. God also was speaking to qualified nurses to offer their help to JCN. At the right time, we learned more of God's executive plan and were ready to start putting people in place to do the work of the journal. I am impressed by God's timing and plan!


Just as he has done for millennia, God is in control of his work. He continues to empower ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Pray for the NCF team as we seek God in the day-to-day work and short- and long-term planning for ministry. Be invigorated with us by God's power and authority over all things:


Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.


Jeremiah 32:17