“In His grace, God has given us different gifts…” (Romans 12:6)
This past weekend, I had the chance to travel down to southern California with a group of kids and youth pastors to visit a few influential churches and meet with powerhouse church leaders. We took the trip to grow as leaders by learning as much as we could from each other and from other believers who are pursuing the kingdom of God in a different part of the country.
I learned a lot. That’s an understatement. Probably the most helpful realization from the weekend was that each of these churches were effective at sharing Jesus with their communities for one reason:
They clearly understood their community and their mission in it.
This sounds so simple. You have to know where you’re going before you can start going there. Although, I think we’d be surprised to learn how many of us do not understand our mission in the world. I’m not talking about our general calling to share Jesus with the world. I’m talking about being clear on our role as unique individuals following Jesus and living accordingly. Sometimes this is called being “on mission.”
Each of the churches I visited felt different, talked different, and emphasized different things. They pursued the same mission in different ways, and they were all hugely successful at it. They’re a good reminder that we’ve all been given different gifts, talents and skills. Our job is to leverage what God has given us. By design, this will look different for each person.
I want to challenge you to pause regularly to ask questions that will clarify who you are:
- What’s my story? What experiences has God led me through that have shaped my present and are continuing to shape my future?
- What God-given talents, skills or competencies have trusted people called out in my life?
- What circumstances has God placed me in right now? How might I be uniquely gifted to serve others in these circumstances?
- Are there things I should be doing more of? Are there things I should be doing less of?
Even if we’ve asked these before, asking them again will help re-align us with our mission. The churches and individuals that make lasting, positive impacts in the world consistently ask these questions of themselves and make changes as their answers change over time.
Are you “on mission?”