Miracles In the Making: Finding Your Passion for Service Pt. 7

Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/freedigitalphotos.net

During the months of January and February, I’m teaching a workshop at my church about finding God’s Will as you serve Him. This blog provides brief summaries of the previous classes in order to help people stay up to date if they can’t attend or have missed a session.

 

Previous Posts In the Series:

 

Some of the handouts are available on their respective posts. If you can’t locate the appropriate handout, feel free to request them from me here.

Miracles in the Making

At first, I didn’t think I’d post about our class this past week because we’re in the final stages of our Mission Statements and Vision Boards. I haven’t completed my vision board yet, but I’m sharing a picture of a board I created a few years ago. My Mission Statement is shaping up but not finalized. I’ll share it here next week.

This past Wednesday, we had a small group. The numbers each week have fluctuated from five to fourteen women. That’s one reason why I’m leaving updates on this blog.

At first, I thought my only participant would be a woman new to our church. She hadn’t attended the workshop prior to Wednesday, so I gave her the handouts and a brief overview of what we’ve been doing. Then another woman showed up and wanted help with her Mission Statement. Last week, she’d shared with us a program she’s starting and she wanted her statement to fit this mission and help her create that quick blurb to use when telling others about this new program.

Her program will help children who have experienced something many of us can’t imagine. Because of the nature of this post and the confidentiality of the women who attended Wednesday night, I’m not going to share more about her program at this time. Sometime later, when she has everything ironed out, I will share her information because it is for a very worthwhile cause.

What I wanted to share was the amazing way God brought women together that night. We ended up with six of us seated around the table talking about this program and helping her work on her Mission Statement. The more she revealed, the more we bonded. And I’m still getting cold chills as I recall what happened. One by one, five of these women revealed their OWN experiences with the trauma this new program will focus on. Five out of six of us had personal knowledge and experience!

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

I felt God’s hand in this gathering. Many of the women had missed several sessions while those who regularly attended were not there. God brought this particular group of women together as encouragers for each other and, in so doing, gave this program first-hand knowledge and validation of its mission.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

I’ll admit, that night as I drove to church to teach this workshop, I didn’t want to go. I was tired. I hadn’t eaten dinner. I needed to get up very early the next day. Yet, God blessed me and five other women by being there with us as we revealed our secrets. I drove home feeling very different than when I drove to church.

Amen!

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Influence and Relationships: Finding Your Passion for Service Pt. 5

Image courtesy of Sommai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

During the months of January and February, I’m teaching a workshop at my church about finding God’s Will as you serve Him. This blog provides brief summaries of the previous classes in order to help people stay up to date if they can’t attend or have missed a session.

Previous Posts In the Series:

Some of the handouts are available on their respective posts. If you can’t locate the appropriate handout, feel free to request them from me here.

This past week, we focused more on How we serve in relation to our own personal interaction style.

How You Influence

People tend to fall into two categories when influencing people: directive or informative. If you’re directive, then you will note something needs to be done and ask someone to do it. If you’re informative, you will point out the situation but not point-blank ask them to take care of if. For example, your car is low on gas. If you’re directive, you might say, “Will you fill up the tank while you’re out?”  If you’re informative, you might say, “The car is low on gas.”

This might seem like a small difference, but it isn’t. I’ve seen situations where I’ve made a statement to a person who tends to be informative, and they will assume I’ve asked them to do something. That is not the case. I’m directive, so if I want you to do something, I’ll be straight to the point.

How You Define Relationships

The other dimension of style is how we define relationships: initiating or responding. If you tend to initiate, you focus on what’s around you. Initiators tend to greet and interact with people. If you’re responsive, you tend to focus more on what’s going on inside you. Responders tend to move at a slower pace and observe more.

The Four Interaction Styles

When you combine these dimensions, you get the four interaction styles developed by Linda Berens, Ph.D.

  • Chart the Course:  Directing-Responding
  • Behind the Scenes:  Informing-Responding
  • Get Things Going: Informing-Initiating
  • In Charge: Directing-Initiating

These styles have their own particular characteristics. For example, their approach to a goal:

  • Chart the Course likes to make deliberate, thought-out decisions that lead to the result desired.
  • Behind the Scenes likes to consult others in their data-gathering process in order to make the best possible result.
  • Get Things Going likes to seek collaboration in their decision-making so the result is one everyone can stand behind.
  • In Charge likes to move quickly in decision-making, so they can see an achievable result in a short period of time.

This is a brief overview, and not enough to help you identify and understand how interaction styles affect your own behavior. For instance, you fall into one of these styles, but they are situational. You tend to use your preferred style, but under certain circumstances, will shift to a different style. I shared more about this in the workshop. If you missed this session and want to catch up, feel free to contact me using the link listed earlier in this post.

More information can, also, be found on Linda Berens website.

Interaction Styles and Service

How does this affect your journey while identifying how you want to serve in your Christian walk? The more aware you are of your styles and behaviors, the easier it will be for you to identify an area that fits you. God gave us gifts, and our personalities are part of the equation. For example, I’m an In Charge. I prefer to lead or at least help lead. If I’m not leading, I have to work hard to keep my opinion to myself when I don’t agree with how someone is handling the job. This doesn’t mean I can’t follow, but I might want to consider this when I’m trying to find my niche for serving God.

Are you working on your Mission Statement and collecting items for your Vision Board? Moving forward, we will focus primarily on building our vision boards.

 

 

How and Who: Finding Your Passion for Service Pt. 3

 

During the months of January and February, I’m teaching a workshop at my church about finding your service passion. After we spend a few sessions defining our service passion, we will be creating vision boards to help us focus our efforts on the right areas to support our service.  This blog will provide brief summaries of the previous classes in order to help people stay up to date if they can’t attend or have missed a session.

 

Previous Posts In the Series:

In the previous posts, we’ve looked at Jeremiah 29:4-11 and I Corinthians 12:1-11.

Gifts and the Spirit

This week, we added a familiar passage for many Christians:  Romans 12:1-8. Let’s look at the last part of this passage:

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6-8

If you examine these three passages, you begin to see several correlations:

  • God has a will for us.
  • His will might not match what we expect.
  • We all receive gifts of the Spirit specific to us.
  • Not everyone has the same gift.
  • We should use the gifts God gives us.

As you seek to discover your focus for service, it’s important to remember these points.

Now, let’s look at another passage about the Spirit:

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”” ‭‭John‬ ‭3:6-8‬

Jesus speaks these words to Nicodemus. What follows is a discussion of being born again, but I want us to look at something else in this passage:  Jesus uses the wind as a metaphor for the Spirit. We know it exists, we hear it, we feel it, we see its actions. What a great explanation of the Spirit!

Have you ever felt or heard a prompting from the Spirit? How did you know it came from the Spirit?

A thought comes to you, but it’s not a random thought. It may be unusual in its timing but not without purpose. Sometimes it’s a name of someone you haven’t thought of in some time. For me, that name might surface in my mind several times in a short period of time. Guess what? If I contact the person, they’re often going through something and needed to hear from me. Occasionally, I’m going through something and needed to talk to them. Either way, it’s not a coincidence. Stories like this abound.

My point? We have to listen for the promptings of the Spirit if we’re going to use our gifts to God’s service.

How and Who To Serve

Which leads us to the How and Who of developing your service focus. How will you serve? Who or what cause will you serve?

I gave the participants two lists–one for the How and one for the Who.

The How list contains a long list of action verbs. I encouraged them to circle the words that spoke to them or jumped out as they read through the list. Each person, through an activity, narrowed the list down to their top three.  The Who handout listed several groups or causes. Each person read through this list circling any group or cause that interested them.

Next week, we’ll do the Why list.

From these three areas, you can begin to build your service mission statement.

If you missed last week or are only following these posts online, feel free to contact me, and I’ll send you the lists and the directions to follow while making your selections.

Meanwhile, be in prayer over how God wants to use you.