Living In Partnership With God means to me that, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, I will use my God-given gifts and abilities to enable others to develop and use their God given gifts and abilities. Fortunately people have different gifts – and my challenge is to help people to get into situations where they can develop and utilize what God has entrusted to them. Some people can be great teachers of children, others can be great teachers of adults. Some have the gift of organization, others have the gift of service. Some are very artistic, others can come up with new ideas. My challenge: to take the pieces of the puzzle and to put them together so that every person enjoys caring out their responsibility while growing as one of God’s unique individuals. It is sad when I misread a person or situation and try to fit a round peg into a square hole. When this happens, many people are negatively affected.
When I arrived at Christ Church of Oak Brook my job description included developing the Christian Education program (effective facility usage, curriculum selection, staffing) AND the development of small groups throughout a rapidly growing church, the leadership of Career Group (singles 20-35), leading two worship services each Sunday morning, preaching most Sunday evenings plus counseling, weddings, etc. The only way I could survive this situation was to build an organization and then to staff it with the right people in the right positions – about 200 of them!
Five months after I arrived the church would change from having 5 class rooms to 25 class rooms, from having 19 involved in the Sunday school program to having well over 100 people in a variety of roles.
At some point I met Roberta, a mother of two middle school children. Roberta, a no nonsense person, was sharp, quietly out-going, and she knew her Bible. Her husband had business travel almost every week. Before I could ask Roberta to consider teaching a class of fifth grade girls, I knew I should do everything possible to make all aspects of her teaching as “user-friendly” as possible.
Roberta would want to have excellent teacher education classes to help her sharpen her teaching skills. She would need to know who her regular substitute would be so the two could keep in contact – and who to call if her regular substitute was unavailable. I knew it would greatly help Roberta if most of the teaching supplies she would need were in one location at the church, organized and inventoried: paper of various kinds, easels, pencils, marking pens, dry erase markers, clay, tapes and glues, balloons, maps, posters, Bibles, audio-visual equipment – what in today’s would be a digital projection system, DVD’s of mission work, contemporary issues, the Holy Lands, etc. and CD’s of contemporary Christian music. Roberta would have an inventory list, confident that another person would keep the inventory stocked. And Roberta would need to know I would keep in touch with her and be available to her at any time.
With this organizational structure developing, it was much easier to say “Roberta, would you consider teaching a 5th grade girl’s Sunday school class? I believe you have the gifts and experience to do an incredible job, or I would not ask you to consider this. Yes, teaching will require a significant time commitment on your part I have worked to put the pieces together to make your teaching as easy as possible……. I will call you in a few days so we can talk further.”
Roberta accepted the position. Sally Jo has the recipes her class members brought with the cookies they had baked to Roberta’s home for a cookie party – parents invited!
The only hope I had of surviving the Christ Church challenge was to develop a system – to set programs in motion that could function on a day to day basis without me. I could not spend hours each week putting out brush fires.
As I work to enable others to use their gifts, I am using mine. As I live In Partnership With God I help to enable others to live In Partnership With God. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
For each of God’s children, life should be a rewarding challenge! Remember, not all rewards come on earth.