More Body Work
After our service this past Sunday I was talking to a great man who has been a part of the church for a while. That morning another person had led the prayer time and communion (which meant I got to be with my family for those which was great!). The man I was talking to said, “I wish I could do that [meaning be up front leading things], but I just am not at a place where I could right now. Well, maybe someday I can be like that.”
As I explored his comment further I learned he didn’t really want to be up front doing things, he just thought that was what the really spiritual people did. Crap! We spent some time talking about what he really loved to do and he said, “Maybe I could stand by the door and greet people when they come in. You know, really look them in the eye and let them know we’re glad they’re here.” Yes! He knew the type of thing he loved (hospitality) but didn’t think it was a valid spiritual pursuit. He was basically saying, “I know I’m a hand, but if I’m really spiritual I’ll be a mouth.”
One of the things I try to consistently communicate is that the church is a body and we all need to use the gifts and passions God has given us, whatever they are. This conversation reminded me that the sentiment that some gifts are more spiritual and more important than others is deep-rooted. That led me to two things:
1) I need to work with people personally, not just corporately, on validating the importance of their gifts.
2) I don’t apply this same thing to myself. As the pastor I figure I have to do everything and like it. But that isn’t helpful. First, if I do that then I take away opportunities for people like this man to move into a ministry they’re gifted for–which means they’ll do it better than me anyway. Second, I don’t feel the freedom to say I’m gifted in one or two areas because I think I need to put forward an image of being competent in them all. (Yes, I know as a pastor you need to do some things that aren’t your primary gifting–my point is that we should embrace our gifting.) So as I thought about it I realized what I love, and where I think God has gifted me, is in communication and leadership. I love preaching and teaching. I love writing and producing printed materials to help people understand different things. And I love leading people through change as I have the chance to do right now at Mountair. There are other areas where I need to function, and I can in many of them, but they are not my passions or primary gifting. Do you know what that thing or things are for you?