One of the most powerful things we can do as church leaders and friends is to help those in our circle of influence think about the ministry footprint that they leave. Ministry footprints are powerful prints.

Ephesians 2:8-10 tell us that God created us for relationship with Him and to engage in a special work for Him. Paul writes, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

I believe that most believers get the relationship part of this equation. What they don't get is that they are uniquely created and gifted by God to do unique things for God which God actually prepared them for. To the extent that many believers have not figured out and are not engaged in the role they were created for there is a hole in God's plan for his Kingdom. The lack of influence of the church today is directly related to this lack of engagement in the work that God created for each of his children.

In a recent blog I referenced the fact that Paul's phrase "God's workmanship" could be translated as God's unique work of art. There never has been and never will be anyone just like me - or you. That uniqueness also translates into the unique work that only I can do - or only you can do.

Not only are each of us unique but the contribution that each of us can make to the kingdom is also unique. That is a powerful statement. It means that my contribution matters in God's plan. It means that my life and your life have huge significance in what God wants to accomplish in this world.

In fact, these verses address the two deepest needs of the human heart: relationship and significance.

But here is what most believers don't get. God intends to use them in their setting, with their gifting, with their personality, with their quirks (we all have them) in ways that are consistent with how God wired us.

So the challenge is helping people understand how they are wired, what their particular strengths are and encouraging them to leave ministry footprints in their unique way.

What we often do instead is to create jobs, slots or ministries within the church and fit people into those slots with little regard to wiring, gifting and sweet spots. In addition, because our focus is so "church centric" we have created the impression that ministry is in the church when God created us primarily for ministry in the world where we live, work, have relationships and where the people who need God's love are.

The other challenge is to help the average believer (those who don't have the up front gifts or theological education) understand that their contribution to God's work is hugely significant in God's plan. The truth is that God created them for a very unique role that only they can play. And it is when we are all fulfilling our unique roles in the kingdom that the church is effective.

I cannot do what my wife does and she cannot do what I do in God's plan. She amazes me as she uses her gifts of grace and care to help people who are hurting and messed up. I may have a more public job but her contribution is unique to her and her ministry footprint is totally unique - designed by God before she was conceived for His work in her lifetime with her skill set. She is also able to reach a whole segment of people that I will never connect with like she does.

What would happen if we celebrated, honored, and held up all the ministry footprints of our congregations? And if we helped people figure out their unique contribution rather than creating a "ministry slot" for them? Not only would it create ministry ripples throughout our communities but it would give every one of God's people the significance that they are looking for.

This only happens when church leaders are intentional in helping Christ followers understand the unique role God wants them to play in His Kingdom enterprise. It is perhaps the most powerful things we could ever do in our ministries. Oh, it is also the job that God gave church leaders! Ephesians 4:12
  • Oct 18, 2013
  • Category: News
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