Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Finding Your Role

We preachers can be awfully annoying.  We're always telling ordinary Christians to get more involved in God's work.  We heap loads of guilt on your shoulders, but rarely lift a finger to help you figure out what to do.  I believe God custom-designed each one of us for a specific role in His plan of redemption (Ephesians 2:10 is one of the Scriptures that give me that idea).  So how do you find your role?  I would suggest wrestling with the following six questions:

By the way, I am not talking about volunteering for church ministries.  Yes, we need people in the choir, to serve as ushers, to work with kids in the nursery.  You do these things because you realize that in a family, everyone has to do their part, or because that happens to be your calling.  I am talking about finding your ministry outside these walls.  Too often, people who want to do more for the Kingdom start by asking, "What ministries does my church have that I could volunteer in?”  Instead, the question should be, “What did God create me to do in the world, and what should I do about that right now?”  Here are some questions to help you find your role:

            What are my spiritual gifts?  Recently, I preached a series on spiritual gifts and finding your ministry. You’re welcome to go back and listen to those online (wbchouston.org).  Or google “finding my spiritual gifts,” read the Scriptures that describe those gifts, take a spiritual gift assessment online.  Ask God to show you what gifts He has given you.

            What am I good at?  I’m only good at two things: communicating and watching three football games at the same time.  One of those things is useful to God’s work, and one is not.  You need to look at your skill set and figure out what could be useful to God. 

            What am I passionate about?  Our interests can be a clue to what God wired you to do.  Whatever He made you to do, when you start doing it, you’ll love it.  It will be something that you would do even if it became illegal. 

            What need in our community grips my heart?  Maybe its homelessness or human trafficking or unwed mothers or prisoners in need of mentors.  If you don’t have a cause, ask God to break your heart over something. 

            Who do I know who is far from God?  Move beyond just family members; most family members are more likely to listen to someone else than to you.  Think about your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your children’s friends and their families. 

            How can my gifts, skills, passions, heart and relationships be used in God’s work?  This takes some thought, prayer and a willingness to write God a blank check.  On my sabbatical, I visited Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Northern California.  An older couple in the church had a son with bipolar disorder.  After a severe episode, they began wondering what their church could do to help people like them.  They started a support group.  They get together once a week for a meal and to share prayer requests and needs.  Occasionally there is a guest speaker.  Sixteen years later, it has become a nationally known ministry.  Half the people who get involved are not church members.  Here at Westbury, Brad and Maryann Bryden decided to start a Good News Club on the campus of McNamara Elementary.  Every Friday, they and other volunteers will meet with students who choose to be part of the program. They teach Bible stories and have fun with them.  I didn’t ask them to do this; they heard about this ministry, said, “Let’s try it at McNamara,” and off they went.  That’s what I’m talking about. 

 What can you do?  Don’t put limits on God.  Don’t say, “I don’t have time to do anything else.”  Just write Him a blank check, and don’t stop praying until you find your place.  Our church needs you.  The world needs that kind of church.


Billie Tully said...

Thank you so much for the sermons on spiritual gifts a while back and for continuing to challenge me to be a better person. I went to see "War Room" tonight and was painfully reminded of one area of my life that needs a major makeover.

Jeff Berger said...

Thank you so much, Billie!