Balance and the Body–Why We Need Each Other

I have a confession to make.  I’m not a balanced person.  Another confession: I never will be.  My skills as a gourmet chef are really lagging behind my other ones.  I, as of yet, have not even begun my training as a luthier.  In fact there are quite a few things that I’m just terrible at.  Chef and luthier aren’t even the worst.  “What is, then?”  Hmm, haven’t given it a lot of thought, but I’ll go with Lasik Eye Surgeon.

There are a few things that I’m good at, there are some things I’m great at, some ok, some mediocre, some slightly above average, some slightly below average, some..”Get on with it!”  All that to say, I feel I’m pretty good at public speaking and teaching, however, when the time comes for laser repair on my eyes, I’ll go with someone else.

(Sidenote:  This will never happen.  Ever.  I don’t want your finger within 18 inches of my eye, much less a laser, while I’m awake.  Not happening.  When the day comes, I will wear glasses, not contacts, glasses.  I don’t even want my finger near my eye.)

Hey Captain Ramble, you getting anywhere today?  Maybe, just move that threatening finger away from my face.  Seriously, it unnerves me.  In the same way that I am unbalanced, most churches are unbalanced as well.  There are things that churches do well and things that they don’t do well.  While it is impossible to get me into balance in the over the top, tongue in cheek ways I’ve described, it is possible for churches to be balanced.

You see, a church doesn’t have to rely on one person or even a small group of people to be balanced.  We all have each other.  We all bring different skills, gifts and passions to the church.  When we all work together, God can use us to be everything he has called us to be as a church.

If your church is weak in something that you are gifted and passionate about, guess what that is not the pastor’s fault or the leadership’s fault.  It’s yours.  God put you in that church with those gifts and passions.  Use them, play your part in the body, your church.  Help your church be better by serving your church in that way.

“But Cloften, my church doesn’t let other people lead and do stuff.  They are very controlling.”  Welpst, there is really only one solution to that.  Punch them in the face and tell them it was from me.  (Just kidding?)  Even still, if you believe that God has called you there and God has impassioned you in this area, do what you can to be a part of the solution.

We, by this I mean me as well, spend a lot of our time complaining about what is and wishing about what is not yet.  We spend less time being used by God to make what is not, is.  (Sorry)  If you are at the Grove, we need you.  If you are somewhere else, I assure you, your church needs you as well.

Especially if you are a luthier.

Where do I find it? (Nehemiah 1 follow up)

January 17, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Bible, Church and Leadership, Teaching

I will try (keyword: try) to post something every Monday after each week of the Nehemiah series.  Most of these topics that we will talk about on Sunday morning could be its own series.  There is so much that could be said, but no one wants to hang out there until 4.  So, I’ll drop a thought or two here.

We talked a lot about the passion and calling that Nehemiah had.  I believe that God has given each one of us a call.  This call comes from our strengths, skills, gifts and passions.  Some people wonder how they can find their calling.  How do you know?  Is it some supernatural moment?  Does it come from some internal tingling?  Will God send you a Twitter message?  “I’m serving and I enjoy it, but I don’t know if it rises to the level of ‘calling.’”

Here are some thoughts:

1) Don’t wait for some mystical confirmation or finding the ideal place to serve to start serving.  Maybe your passion is going to be children’s ministry, maybe it’s not.  You won’t find out by not serving or taking some gifting/passion inventory.  You will find out by serving in the children’s ministry.  Serve somewhere.  Serve in your church.  Respond to some ministry’s need in the community.  Go work with Habitat for a day.  Go feed the homeless.  Do something.  You aren’t going to think your way to your best fit.  You will serve your way there.

2) There is no such thing as a big call and a small call.  All calls come from God.  By definition, they are all big.  Better that someone respond to God’s call to a simple behind the scene’s ministry than feel like they have to do something.  Some people’s passion and calling is in the nursery with small babies.  These are tremendous servants who not only love precious babies but allow parents to worship freely and know that their baby is being loved on and cared for.  If god is the one leading and directing, that is not a downgrade from missionary in 3rd world country.

3) Serving is meant to be enjoyable.  Often we associate serving in the church with a workout.  “You know you did it right if you didn’t enjoy it and it hurts afterward.”  God has designed you to use your gifts.  When you do, God will bless you and you will be very glad that you did.”

4) Pressure + Guilt = Calling.  While that is the typical formula.  I disagree.  Passion + Gifts + Opportunity = Calling

Get out there.  Find a place where God can use you.  Pray.  Ask God to show you your passions and gifts.  Ask friends.

Expect God to do amazing things.


I’m pretty sure that I’ve talked about this before.  (Well, I know that I’ve talked about it.  The question is have I written about it, which, again, I’m pretty sure that I have)  Regardless, it bares repeating, especially since understanding this is a big next step for us at the Grove Church.  We talked about this at the town hall meeting.  (I know at least three of you are wondering why I stopped writing about the town hall.  It was surprising to me how unmotivated I have been to write something that I have already said.  My bad.)

For too often churches have “recruited volunteers.”  This has historically done by passing around clipboards and asking people to “fill a slot.”  If there is a less inspirational vision for getting people to serve in church, I have never heard it.

“If you will become a slot on my spreadsheet, then you will be able to shut me up about needing to fill slots on my spreadsheet.”

What the church needs are not people who feel obligated to do something that someone else tells them is important.  What the church needs are people who believe that they are called by God to serve and to lead, to own the ministry where they serve.  We don’t need people motivated by guilt–external or internal.

Everyone is gifted by God to serve.  There are unique talents and passions that you have.  God wants to use those to serve and minister to people around you.  Unfortunately, leaders can often just recruit/beg/arm-twist people into doing things that the leader is passionate about.  That is a short-term motivator, which is the reason why they are always passing the clipboard around.

If you are at the Grove Church, you have heard me speak very passionately about the need to love and serve our kids.  This isn’t to motivate those who don’t want to serve kids, but hopefully inspire those that do want to serve.  We need people who love kids, feel called to love and serve them.

We don’t want it to end there.  We don’t want you serving the church’s ministry.  We need people who want to partner and lead.  This is our ministry, and “our” doesn’t mean the church’s, it means you and the church.  We need you to own the ministry that you serve in.  Tell us and show us how to make it better.  Be creative, take risks.

I know that often the church has not good a job making people feel like they can be creative and take risks.  If you are a church leader and you are reading this, stop doing that.  If you are the only leader, then the ministry will only be as a good as you.  If you let other leaders lead, then it can be as good as the giftings and strengths of all of you.

This doesn’t simply apply to kid’s ministry.  We need people like this with students, hospitality, tech, the list goes on and on.  This is a great time in the history of the Grove (and hopefully your church as well).  To get to where the church needs to go next, we need you to believe that you have great value to add, are incredibly gifted, and we need you to use those gifts.

Not just to fill a slot but to be a champion.