I love the journey of discovering what we do well. It’s a blast! We all like doing what we do well. If you’re good at something, you usually enjoy every minute of doing it. But the more time I spend doing what I don’t do well, the more frustrating life becomes.
But once you’ve identified your church’s strengths, it’s time to take those abilities OUTSIDE the walls of your church. To be a missional church, you must learn to take what you do well and GO out there! Find ways to aim your best efforts, your strengths into your community. Let those abilities bless people outside your walls, and many of them will choose to come in.
For example, does your church have a few excellent teachers? If I have to attend your Sunday school to discover that, I probably never will. Why not give that teacher a break from the Sunday school class next quarter and have her do a six-session parenting series out there? Do it in the community room of the bank building or the Pizza Hut basement. Promote it well and you’ll connect with some new friends as you add value to their lives. You’ll also change that teacher’s life forever when she gets to use her gifts out there she’ll never be the same!
Is fellowship your strength? Usually that means our ladies can cook. So why not take those gifts out there. I was speaking to a group of Arkansas pastors on this subject last year and I asked, “What does your church do well?”
A pastor’s wife excitedly shouted, “Funerals!” We all chuckled, but then we started unpacking that with them. She meant that their ladies do an amazing meal, their men do such a great job hosting and ushering and treating the grieving families kindly, and her husband is at his best in a funeral message. She said it kind of sheepishly—“He’s a really good preacher, but at funerals, he’s amazing.”
In seconds, the light bulb came on and they began planning how they would offer this service to the local funeral home so anytime someone in their small town didn’t have a church to help them, they would be ready and available with their special skill.
How can you serve your community with excellence? In times of crisis, we must do anything and everything we can, but day-in-day-out our efforts to serve should flow from our abilities and our passion. That’s the formula for excellence.
If you’re blessed with musical abilities, singing Christmas songs and Easter anthems for the church folks is wonderful, but why not use those gifts in a patriotic musical your community might attend? How about a concert in the park? Your youth group kids are experimenting with guitars anyway. Why not set them up in the community where their friends will come hear them?
Take what you do well and GO out there!
There are some great spiritual lessons that can only be learned out there. You can tell me a thousand times that I need to grow a prayer life, but you take me out there where I’m trying to do something for Jesus, and I’ll learn to pray my guts out. If I stay in the house, I don’t feel the need to pray or to grow or even to wear sunscreen! But if I’m taking my abilities out there, I begin to grow in ways this greenhouse can’t accomplish.
Do you realize that every bit of the future growth of your church is in people who aren’t a part of your church yet? That’s right! 100% of your growth potential is out there! Find your best and aim it out there! You can do that!