Serving Where We're Gifted

Katie and I made it safely to CA and are enjoying our time with her family. Thanks for your prayers for a safe trip! Tonight we have a big potluck with a lot of friends from northern California, and tomorrow we’ll be heading to Lemoore, where we used to live before moving to Washington.

I wanted to share something with you related to this past week. Soon after I became a Christian I attended a young adults’ Bible study. The leader was transitioning out and it fell on me to teach the group each week, but I didn’t want to look controlling so I came up with the idea of encouraging a number of other young men to rotate with me. A few of the guys were reluctant, not really feeling called to teach, but upon my encouragement they agreed. Some of the studies didn’t go well, but one in particular really stands out in my mind. A very close Christian friend of mine, who didn’t really want to teach in the first place, led it. I could tell it was uncomfortable for him teaching and it was equally uncomfortable for all of us listening. I felt terrible for my friend because I could tell how awkward it was for him, and the entire time I remember thinking one thing: this is all my fault. I told myself I would be very careful in the future encouraging people to “step out.” On one hand, encouragement can be good, because sometimes all people need is a little encouragement. On the other hand, encouraging people to do things they’re not called to do can be a disaster…as I learned the hard way, unfortunately hurting a good friend of mine in the process.

This past week I contacted a number of men about being involved in communion. My fear (because of the situation I just discussed) was having someone agree to be in the rotation without really being comfortable with it. I’m glad a few men declined.

In the church, I think certain gifts can be viewed as being more spiritual than others, usually the visible gifts like teaching. This is very unfortunate, because it gives the impression people are more spiritual if they have certain gifts. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus actually repeatedly applauded the work that’s done for Him in secret, so in a sense, it’s probably the service that takes place behind the scene that’s more spiritual than the visible ministry.

July 22, 2012

From the Pastor,

I was really excited to hear about Paul playing his bagpipes for the Special Music today. We have so many talented musicians in the church who should all be praying about using their gifts. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” That means if God’s gifted you in some way (and according to Eph 4 each one of us has at least one gift from God), remember to use that gift “for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12). Normally when people are given a gift it’s for their own enjoyment and pleasure, but when God gives us gifts it’s for the enjoyment and pleasure of others.

On another note I’d like to talk about something that happens pretty often in church in hopes of preventing it from happening at WCC…

Sometimes people hear a pastor say something they don’t understand, or worse, sometimes they hear things that offend them. That’s not really the problem though: the problem is when people don’t say anything about it!

So let’s make sure that doesn’t happen here: if I ever say something that doesn’t make sense, please talk to me about it or shoot me an e-mail for clarification. Even more importantly if I ever say something that offends you, then please definitely be sure to let me know!

There have been times people came to me and said, “You said…” and when they said it back to me it wasn’t what I meant to say, but I could see why they thought I meant that and a brief discussion provided perfect clarification. Usually it benefits me too because it helps me evaluate how what I say is received and allows me to be clearer in the future.

There have been other times when people said I said certain things and I wanted to say, “Are you sure you weren’t at some other church, because I don’t remember saying anything like that?” Still I’m glad they came and talked to me, because it usually allowed for healthy discussion.

The point is, let’s just make sure we always open communication. I’m always only an e-mail or phone call away.