Comfortable Talents

Having paused for a few days, I want to return now to church revitalization. Sorry for the break, but it couldn’t be helped.

Let’s review: We have formed a committee, defined our mission, and have outlined our strengths and weaknesses. Let’s now deviate. The next step should be message gridding, but we need to do something else first. In reality it would go on simultaneously, but for our purposes we will deal with it separately.

In the Bible we study spiritual gifts. Everyone has been given spirtual gifts and everyone has been given talents. Me? My talent is, frankly, bureaucracy. I can organize and administrate with the best of them. You need a project done? I can oversee it and task others to implement it. I’m rather weak on the ground, frankly. I’m a shy person among those I do not know. I hate meeting new people not because I hate new people, but I’m just not very good at it — but I pretend well and compensate. Having someone introduce me to someone else is no problem. It is, however, very challenging for me to approach someone I do not know and introduce myself. I am phobic about it, which is something most people do not know about and would laugh at and dismiss if they heard, but it’s the God’s honest truth.

So, that out of the way, what the heck am I talking about? I’m talking about comfortable talents. Everybody has them. Are you good on the phone, great with people, a good cook, a great singer, a gregarious greeter of new people, etc.? What is your talent? God gives us all talents. Rare is the person who excels at everything, but everyone excels at something. What is it?

The congregation, if it wants to get back on its feet, needs to do some soul searching. Most likely, only 10% of the congregation is engaged on a leadership team. Most likely, it is that group that sees what should be done and does it without asking. It’s time to spark fires in the other 90%. This requires the preacher and talents.

A preacher, through use of his pulpit, can often inspire portions of the congregation. So, preacher, preach on talents. The leadership team needs to find out what everybody is good at. It’s a simple question really: “You, Mr./Mrs. X, if you could do one thing what would it be, however mundane or boring to anyone else, what would it be?” Everybody in the congregation should be encouraged to write that down and the members of the leadership team should be encouraged to honestly assess what they really like to do, want to do, and would be willing to do. At the same time, the leadership committee should be told to start thinking of ideas that could be done around the church whether or not the particular person suggesting the idea wants to do it. As a disjointed aside, I cannot emphasize this enough: a lot of people have great ideas about what can and should be done, but they do not necessarily think of themselves as the best person to carry the idea forward. Do not let that cause censorship on the leadership team. All ideas are valid and, if no one wants to step forward to carry out an idea, it dies. Do not make the originator of an idea be the implementor if he or she does not wish it. As an example, someone may suggest that the church needs a strong greeter program for guests. Well, I’d readily suggest that, but I certainly would not want to be the one doing it (see above for my phobia). I can be a back up, the second person in a team, but I do not want to be first. There are people in your congregation like me — trust me on that.

So, to recap, what are the talents in the congregation? We’ll soon be getting to tactics and you’ll need to keep a list of these talents. It is easier to get a person involved if they get to play off their talents. You’ll have an easier time getting part of the 90% that is not involved to become involved if you play to their talents.

A great sermon can open the desire of someone to harness his or her talents on behalf of God. They need to be reminded that an easy place to start putting their talents to use is in their own church.

Our next topic is going to be message gridding. It can be somewhat complicated so I’m going to prepare a graphic for it.

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Erick Erickson

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