We started our short Mission Shaped Intro Course yesterday, and we ended up speaking about our own uniqueness.
We all are made differently, I have often looked at other Church leaders and other evangelists and thought “I wish I was more like them!”, often too we have looked at different areas and opportunities and thought “I wish God had placed me somewhere different”.
Yet the “one who calls us is faithful, and he will do it”.
We are called to live by faith and not by sight.
The question in the Christian life has never been “what is everyone else doing?” but rather “what is God calling me to do?”
Taking a step of faith is very different from jumping on the bandwagon.
As human beings we are great ‘cherry pickers’, we see an idea that works somewhere else, or a methodology we like the sound of, and try and ‘shoe-horn’ it into our context. As though what works else-where can simply be transposed somewhere else and have the same results. Yet, I believe, God isn’t into formulas like this =otherwise I think Paul’s letters would read very differently- the question is not “how has this worked elsewhere” but rather “what is God calling us to do here” and are we being faithful to that call.
What is the Spirit saying to us as a collection of Church Congregations seeking the advancement of the Kingdom of God here locally must be the biggest and most important question we can ask.
“If the Lord does not build the house then the Labourers labour in vain”, we see that Jesus (who “only did what he saw his Father doing?”) doing ministry differently from how he was in Samaria to how he was in Jerusalem to what he did in Nazareth. Jesus didn’t think ‘one size fits all’ -so why do we? -Interestingly, contrast the missional technique between Peter and Paul when they spoke evangelistically (Peter in Acts 2, Paul in Acts 15).
Just imagine if Paul -a former Pharisee- tried to mimic Peter -a former fisherman- it wouldn’t work because God was calling them as them to minister into the context to which God had called them.
I think as human beings we are often scared and fearful, we dislike uncertainty and want the promise of “sure-fire” results, God’s ways might sound more risky and more of a step of faith than down-loading the latest resource from a mega0church, but yet it is only through obedience to God that we will see the full fruitfulness of that which we long too see.
The problem is we often think that “so and so” would probably do a much better job if they were here than I have. The problem (says James Lawrence) “is that we compare our blooper reel with someone else’s highlight reel”, our comparisons are often negative towards ourselves, often when we feel weak and ill-equipped often that means we aren’t relying on our own giftedness rather relying on Gods empowering faithfulness.
Comparisons, can be debilitating.
It takes faith to come to realise that actually God has called me to be me, and my unique blend of skills, passions and principals is called, God doesn’t need another clone of anyone, he needs us to be us, and we flourish best when we are being truly and authentically us.
I remember seeing someone engaging in interactive debate, and this really worked for their more ‘in your face’ personality. I have seen others listen carefully and prayerfully and this has really worked for their personality. If we were all a debaters or all listeners we would be a less effective body of Christ, yet perhaps the reason he is sending you in to the situation you find yourself in, in that you are the right person, God’s person, for that particular situation, everyone is different, and everyone responds differently, even if we don’t see it at first!.
Also, as the wonderful “Meet Anne” video shows, we have networks and relationships which are unique to us, no-one else has quite the same set of relationships that we do, being us -and fully us- fully and authentically where God has placed us can enable us to be used by God in a way that’s unique to us.
Also, God uses all sorts of creative ways to advance his Kingdom, my friend Rich Rycroft used his love of football to advance the Kingdom in Hillfield, my friend Charles Sugdan from Frenchay uses his awesome gifts at classical music to enable people to encounter Christ, yet neither of which I would be able to do, but it takes faith to believe that my gifts and skills, passions and pleasures can be used by Christ too (just check out the vlog bellow)…
So, let’s celebrate God’s call on our lives to be free to be us.
So, let’s celebrate God’s call to discover his call to us where he has placed us.
So, let’s celebrate that we don’t have to do what everyone else does, instead even our most random quirks of character can become Kingdom advancing facets.
I discovered the word ‘bespoke’ -you are a ‘bespoke’ ambassador of Christ, made unique for the glory of Christ.
You have a totally unique context, to a unique mix of people and network of relationships, and you have been ‘head hunted’ by the God of all creation to reveal him to his people.
The Spirit of God has a bespoke plan for our areas and context, its not just another course, or another project, but a unique plan that will work for us, taylor-made evangelism made to measure for individuals in a unique context.