screen-shot-2013-06-25-at-143643Who are you?
So far in this series we have been concentrating on the importance of serving in the church. But many people feel they do not have any contribution to make. Rubbish! As members of the body we are not redundant. God would not have put you in a local congregation if you had no place there.

It maybe that at this stage of life you actually need to feed from the church or receive healing. But in reality, as you receive help in these, God has made each one of us to make a contribution in some way, whether within the church community or through that community into the wider society. He chose you from before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4) and made good works for you to walk in (Eph 2:10).

I am privileged to travel widely. Depending on the culture I find myself in I will get varying answers to a question about a person’s identity. In a so-called western culture it will probably quickly revolve around the job the person has. But in Africa, for instance, I will learn about that person’s family, where ‘home’ is (which will be the family ancestral home, often in a village the person may not have ever lived in, but only visited). This is the contrast between a task-centred culture and a people-centred culture. I am quite task-centred myself; but I know which culture I find most interesting!

So which is right? Both – and neither. Our true and full identity is centred in who we are in Christ, not in our job or our family. These are very important aspects of who we are but they represent only some of the defining characteristics.

What do I have to contribute?
The next part of this series will focus on Discovery. Many people have a good idea of what they have to contribute to serving, particularly if they have conspicuous skills and talents, or a well recognised spiritual gift. But there are also many who do not know where to start, often because they see serving in the church as being possible only in a very public sense e.g. by leading a small group or teaching children. However, that is far from the case. In any community people need each other and the health of the community, as with the body, comes when every member is functioning in their gifting and realising their potential. Indeed, the primary role of leadership towards those in their care is to create an environment where people can fulfil the potential that God has put within them.

In seeking a place or opportunity for service the ideal is through revelation by the Spirit. Nothing I am gong to share in the next few postings will ever make this secondary. However, what I shall endeavour to achieve is a framework for thought and prayer based on particular features and characteristics that a person might exhibit, particularly related to:

• Skills/Talents
• Spiritual Gifts
• Calling
• Hearts Desire
• Temperament
• Time
• Spiritual maturity

My prayer is that as we look at each of these topics you will realise how much God has given you to contribute. As you take hold of these and apply them in practice you will not only grow as a Christian but also in your personal fulfilment.

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