One night I found myself sitting at home with my husband visiting with an uber-creative musical friend of ours, the accomplished Chuck Dennie. We had been discussing some different ideas for the church, for ministry and for the preaching team.
As we sat and hashed out a variety of things, Chuck had the most epiphanic message for me. It went something like this:
“If nothing held you back, if there were no boundaries and nothing in your way, how would you serve God? Dream BIG.”
I was floored.
Chuck gave me permission to consider the formerly unfathomable to me. In this moment, he changed the course of what I thought God’s ministry could be for me. I stepped out of the “Cookie-Cutter Ministry Box” in which I had happily served for more than a decade, where I learned so much about servanthood, and I stepped into what God had prepared in advance for me to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
I believe I found the beginning of my purpose and calling.
Should I have been surprised?
Naw. God is faithful. And after all, we ARE His handiwork.
Flashback Two Months
After having gone through a very purposeful and productive season at one of our campuses in worship and women’s leadership, we followed our teenage son’s ministry in broadcast and went back to our “old” campus with a brand new leadership environment after three years.
I found myself unsure and afraid in this season of change. Would I find opportunities to serve again? In what capacity? Could God even use me anymore? These were the “Crazy Train” thoughts that ran through my head.
The idea that I might find myself “purposeless” and having to wait to find God’s ministry area for me was daunting. I don’t like waiting. I hate change. And let’s be honest: I’m a bit of a control freak. (Anyone else?)
Recognizing it would have been easy to just go back into the areas where God had us serving before, it felt like that would be depending on “old works” instead of trusting in God for a “fresh work” for His Kingdom.
See, that Isaiah 43 verse always pops up in my brain at times like these.
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
GAWL! I just had to believe Him.
His Word is Truth.
So I covered my eyes, prayed fervently, and stepped out in faith, hoping there was a way in the wilderness for me.
(Fast Forward Three Months)
You know what ended up happening? The church hired me. You wanna know my response?
I cried hard.
Like a baby.
or may not
have gotten snot
on my senior pastor’s shirt
after I hugged him.
He called me
then we got to work.
You know what else? Much to my relief, the church didn’t get struck with lightning or burn down.
My job description? Create your own ministry helping with Broadcast church and serving the preaching team. Play to your strengths. The field is wide open; stay in-bounds biblically.
This was thrilling. This is what I had always wanted. I had the entire ocean to swim in, the run of the whole field.
Back in the Old Testament, God spoke to Abram and told him he would “the father of many nations” in Genesis 17:4. Scripture says Abraham was ninety-nine years old when this happened. (Whew! Just goes to show, it’s never too late for God to do major ministry in our lives!)
Scripture tells us that Abraham was a man of great faith. Three times in three paragraphs of the book of Hebrews describe it this way: “By faith Abraham…”
What happens when we believe God, trusting Him completely, obeying fully? Will it be said of us that we were people of great faith and that God did a great work in and through us? Can we surrender ourselves to Him, knowing that any work He has started He will complete?
“And so from this one man, and he as good as dead (he was 99, for heavens’ sake!), came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” (Hebrews 11:12, annotation mine)
What have I learned in a year of doing ministry inside of the church?
- I love the Bride of Christ even more than I did when I was in lay ministry.
- Workers inside the church pray and toil endlessly to bring the truth of the Gospel to people who have no hope, no faith and no chance for salvation – for “JUST ONE MORE” to know Jesus.
- God can do infinitely, abundantly more with one silly Church Girl when she’s willing to DREAM BIG than when she keeps herself in a cage of self-imposed limitations.
If He was willing to do this for me, He’s willing to show you YOUR purpose and calling, too.
You may ask: Church Girl, how can I do it, too? Here’s Five Steps, just for you…
- Go where you see God working and join Him.
- Play to your strengths – use all the gifts and talents that God gives you. (You might be surprised what He’ll use from you; He equips those who are called.)
- Stay in-bounds biblically.
- Drop your shackles and step outside your box. If you don’t serve inside your local church, START! The mission is unmatchable, inspiring, and eternal.
- Most of all, dare to be everything God created you to be, with all the facets of who you are. He can use every single part of your testimony and your life to further His message of redemption in this broken and hurting world.
I’ll pull a “Chuck Dennie” on you now. If nothing were holding YOU back, how would serve Christ?
Don’t be afraid to DREAM BIG for the Kingdom of God; don’t insult Him with small thinking. You may find He will give you opportunities “as numerous as the stars in the sky, and countless as the sand on the seashore…”