Category Archives: Wired: Your God-Given Gifts

Wired for the Marketplace or Ministry?

Has God wired you for the Marketplace or the Ministry? The answer is yes, on both counts. Consider Jesus’ prayer,

“I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world (worldly, belonging to the world), [just] as I am not of the world. Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” (John 17:15-18 AMP)

The Marketplace is THE Ministry

Robert Fraser published a book in 2004 called Marketplace Christianity. He writes, “Only about three percent of Christians are called to vocational ministry, yet the current church teachings have not helped the other 97 develop for what they do.” I was on staff of a large church when I first read this statement and it startled within me a brand new awareness. As a church leader I was now challenged to turn my attentions from the 3% called to vocational ministry and to give closer attention to the hundreds of ministers filling our seats every Sunday morning. They were the ones who had the advantage of a greater Christian impact, not those of us who worked in the church offices.

My staff position included the development and management of a team ministry culture in our church. Any church minister will tell you one of their greatest struggles is getting their people to volunteer in the church. In a church you work primarily with people who have been born-again and are no longer slaves to sin or their former selves. As I have been preparing for these upcoming meetings with the Renaissance staff I’ve been pondering a couple of questions: one, will a former slave answer to pleas that guilt and shame and resemble the voices of a task master or a losing team? My other question is; if 97% of the church is called to minister in the marketplace will they be less likely to invest their limited time in activities that center around people who are already saved?

In that staff position I had a great personal conviction that we were not to use the people to get the work of the church done. We were, however, to use the work of the church to get the people done. I knew that I knew, volunteer ministry was more about individuals identifying with and encountering their Creator than it was to staff church events. With this new awareness it became more important to me to equip the 97% with eyes to see they were the ones who are called to THE Ministry of all ministries. When people replied to church opportunities with, “I don’t feel called.” I would take that challenge and use this God-Given Gifts course to help them identify where they did feel it. They needed to know how they were uniquely wired to bring ministry to the marketplace and how using the work of the church could help them perfect that.

The Three Percent

My daughter recently returned from a trip to L.A. She had an opportunity to tour the Dream Center where thousands of homeless, addicted, and abused people are rescued and given every advantage to turn their lives around. This is clearly a winning team. How do I know? There is a 2-year waiting list for groups to volunteer. Hello? I mean what compels strangers to sacrifice the time and expense to travel to L.A. and volunteer for this ministry? Can it be that the Spirit of God calls 97% of the church to serve their gifts to the world? How else will the world come to know their precious value to Jesus except that those He calls holy bend themselves down and serve the world through their gifts.

Renaissance is a small group of creative people who are building a church community in the downtown area of Decatur, IL. This group represents about 3% of the church community they serve. This Wired series of blogs is initially for them. Studying the God-Given Gifts will be a valuable resource to for them. This staff will be able to help the community they serve to identify the image of God they already carry into the marketplace. This staff will also be able to help them identify the power of God they can carry into the world.

As the Renaissance staff is equipped with this knowledge they will be increasing the excellence of their volunteer culture. They will not be desperate for help. They will not be setting people up for burnout. They will be strategic to fit people rather than desperate to fill ministries. They are blessed to have a pastor who loves Christ’s Bride and loves to show her off. He refuses the pressure to be an omni-competent pastor. He has been through this course before. It has given him the eyes to see the wiring in others. It has given him the confidence to pull the gifted to the front so that the world can see where Christ lives. He lives in His people. His people live in the world and work in the marketplace just like they do, just like Jesus did.

We begin tonight and I think I will make some Salted Brownies to munch on. Chocolate is good for the gifted soul, right? Next blog will be an intro to the three biblical gift categories and we’ll breakout an emphasis on the Romans 12 gift list. Nothing in depth, another challenge for my gift, but just a lil sumptn sumptn to inspire your hearts:-)


Wired for Joy!

My friend, the one and only Mrs. Valerie P. (Hi Val!), called me this Wednesday shortly after reading my last post, Wired? or Weird? The content and timing of that post was such a God-thing for her. She asked to meet with me in order to help her think out loud concerning a new opportunity that had recently been presented to her.

My reply? Heck Ya! You see it’s a huge source of personal joy for me to walk people further into their destinies. Some people experience joy in physically laboring with others, some get joy counseling people through to physical and emotional health, still others have no greater joy than giving stuff away. Me? I like dreamers and the best news is dreamers like me. It’s like we were made for each other. My favorite part is encouraging them to say yes to the impossibilities in front of them. Why? Because I know the intimacy in God that is waiting for them on the other side. This particular joy, as you will get to learn about in the coming weeks, was key in helping me to identify my own God-Given gifts early on.

Joy is only one reason why everyone should know and study to understand their God-Given Gifts. Knowing how you are wired plugs you into a greater confidence to take your personal place in God’s history. To know how you are wired also gives you great insight into your relationships with others. Knowing how you are wired increases your understanding on how your spouse, your children, your friends and co-workers are wired. When we “get them”, many of our frustrations in relationship to them go on a hiatus! If we take a closer look at ourselves we will have to admit that some of our biggest struggles with others is how they are not like us. Why don’t they “see” what I see? Why don’t they “feel” like I feel? Why don’t they “think” like I think? Once you appreciate how others are not like you-you will be liberated to freely love them more and cheer them on in all those ways they are not like you.

The AdvantageĀ 

Knowing how you are wired is priceless when comes to life’s choices. Like some of you, I wish I would have had someone to teach me about my wiring when I was a teenager. I came by my survivor mentality honestly while growing up in a family with a strong work ethic and driving sense of responsibility. If there was any encouragement to dream it was always conditional to what was reasonable and sensible, which really can work to dry up the clouds of a girl’s daydreaming.

When you start to believe what God says in the bible you have to challenge the boundaries of what is reasonable and sensible. What I was learning is that reasonable and sensible are great anchors but eventually they contribute very little when God is calling you to dream beyond what you can even think or imagine (Eph 3:20). As I began to work on closing the gap between my dreams and my day jobs I determined not to miss my chance with my daughter. I took this information on our God-Given Gifts to heart and set myself to observe her triggers of joy.

To make a long story short, which is quite the challenge for my gift by the way, I was able to identify that her joy was found in working with her hands. She has a God-Given gift of Service. Now, you couldn’t tell she was gifted to serve by how clean her room was because, well, it wasn’t. Her room still has its days but more and more we are seeing “one of these days” finally closing in. Rather, it was the joy she experienced when she created things with her hands. As a little girl she had all the Barbie stuff you could imagine but she would prefer to spend hours at our coffee table coloring. When it came to dinner time she was always hanging around the kitchen wanting to help me. She also had an unusual habit of being enchanted by watching other people doing meticulous work activities. These were just a couple of the clues I got about her wiring.

By the time she got to high school she signed up for a business math course. STOP! I pleaded with her to reconsider that choice and for one single semester take an art course. That’s all it took. She majored in art all four years. It was her joy. She is now enrolled in college culinary courses because she found a greater joy: food and art working together to make for really cute cakes. Additionally she works at a Pier One retail store where enjoys she spends hours setting displays for marketing. She loves her job. What? She loves her job? That would be a first in our family. My joy overflows with knowing that she got the advantage of a 14-year head start on me when it came to knowing where to begin with the rest of her life. Feels like a great win!

My Joy on Friday

Happily, I had a morning open on Friday and got to meet up with Mrs. Valerie P. and hear her heart. I got to ask her how her new opportunity came, what she liked about it, and what parts she felt uncomfortable with. Then we talked about the fire that burned in her heart. That was the one question turned the corner on our conversation into a whole other arena of joy for her. It was funny how our conversation kept returning to that topic and how she passionately she spoke about it. It was an arena that was not even related to the opportunity that was currently challenging her.

Because of the way I am wired it was easy for me to “read” between lines and identify where her joy was and where it had yet to be. Because of the way I was wired I was able to lay out some wisdom that would act like anchors for her decision-making as she brought it all back in prayer to the Lord. Me? I left high. It was my joy to serve my friend insight and wisdom and inspire her to trust God for even more. That joy fueled me for the rest of my day and made what threatened to be just “another” day so much more fulfilling. You see the joy I am speaking of is not conditional upon our circumstances. It’s an eternal joy you experience when you get to give your gift away no matter where you are; on the job, in your friend’s kitchen, in a classroom, before an audience of one or one hundred.

Well, we’ve got lots to discover in the coming weeks. If I could ask you one question today I would want to ask you, what is the one ability you have that you can do for hours on end find yourself leaving fulfilled in, or better yet: joy-filled? You know, that one thing where time gets away from you and you can’t wait to do it again? I believe living the dream has more to do with recovery than discovery so some of us may need to look back to our childhood to best answer that question.

Oh, and by the way, because of how I am wired feedback makes my joy overflow so don’t be shy:-)

Wired or Weird?

It was around 1997. I think. I was a single mom working full-time as clerical support for a MAJOR insurance company. I was about six years into this thing called a “relationship with God” when I began to experience an unusual discontentment. At this point in my life I had been making career choices purely from a survivor mindset. My choices were never about what I wanted to do let alone what I was born to do. That ideal was only for movie stars and rock stars. My choices were always about if their paycheck promised to be bigger than the one I was currently slaving for.

There was this relentless gnawing deep inside working to convince me that there was more to my life than working a job for the paycheck. It wasn’t long before this discontentment brought to me a book tucked deep inside the archives of my mom’s library. Ok, so it was more like a cardboard box of books sitting beneath my end table next to my living room couch, but a library nonetheless. Among Linda’s top 100 was a book titled Discovering Your God-Given Gifts by Don and Katie Fortune.

You know that saying about life not being about the amount of breaths you take but it’s more about the moments that take your breath away? Yeah, this was one of those for me. Three things happened: I read the book, I worked the profiles, I cried. Then I cried some more. Everything that I had thought might be weird about me was actually wired in me on purpose according to God.

Everything that I believed people had rejected about me was the very thing He loved about me. All my career experiences up to that point were in direct conflict to my wiring. I had no joy in my jobs because of the way I was wired not because I was weird. Of course, that opinion may be eagerly protested by a few of my closest of close. Even so, that glorious ah-ha moment took my breath away and liberated me in a way that has only compounded with great interest even to this day.

In the coming weeks I am going to be walking the Renaissance staff through these same materials. I thought I would blog some of the highlights and insights as we explore each gift as a group. I expect it to be as entertaining as it promises to be enlightening. Of course they will bring the entertainment and I’ll bring the enlightenment. I mean come on, have you meet this group yet? Up close and personal? Then you get me, right?

The most I am expecting is that you might begin to consider how God wired you. If you do that then I could expect that you too might encounter the same One Who wired me. You see, part of the tears that soaked my breathless moment came from a Love encounter. I felt Love, a deep-to-my-core kind of love. I found out I, the invisible one ravaged with self-hatred, was hand-wired by none other than the God of the very universe, hello? Are you kidding me? I wasn’t weird after all (note to my dearest Andee:-)! I was on purpose and everything about me mattered to God. Everything about me even mattered to His Kingdom. He seriously had plans to make history with me and He was determined to use my wiring to git-r-done.

The truth is, God doesn’t have any more respect for me than He has for you. What He has encouraged in me He will encourage in you. He is one of those perfect kinds of dads who gets you like no one else gets you. He is like the best coach Who gives you all the team advantages of being His kid and can’t wait to tell you how proud He is of you. How can He not be proud of you? He was the One Who wired you too.

Oh, and yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause, he does have a belly full of jelly, and his real name is Joy. The One Who wired you sent His perfectly wired Son, Jesus, to save us from an eternal misery most closely emulated in the driest of corporate American cubicles. Why? So that we might have joy and have it abundantly. Yes Virgina, even on the job.

%d bloggers like this: