I Am Enough

By: Amber Harder, Communications Specialist

I am enoughIn case you missed church on Sunday, it’s worth a listen and you can find it here. Dr. David Clark spoke in our current series, Heaven on Earth: Learning to Live in God’s Kingdom, and preached specifically on “A New Personal Mission.” One of my main take-aways from the sermon was that whatever I am doing, whatever my “work” is day in and day out, God can use me as a Kingdom Ambassador in that role.

From Colossians 3:17 –

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Dr. Clark even mentioned we can honor God by changing diapers. This hit home because these days I am changing a lot of diapers between my two littlest ones! I don’t often consider it important work, but God can use me here at home in some very big ways. I don’t have to try and be someone else or do what I deem to be “great” things for the Kingdom – I am enough and the work I am doing is enough when I give every effort to glorify God through my work.

Sunday’s sermon gave me a lot to chew on, but then a funny thing happened. I heard a similar message again on Monday…

This time it was at the U of M while watching a self-reflective documentary, “The Diaspora Journal” by Nathan Araya, a first-generation American whose parents were Ethiopian. In it he mentioned that one of his struggles growing up was that to Americans, he wasn’t “American enough,” and to Africans, he wasn’t “African enough.” He didn’t know where he fit.

In a follow-up Q & A, one attendee asked what Mr. Araya would say to his 8-year-old self if he could go back in time. He said “I would tell my 8-year-old self, ‘You are enough.’ You are American enough, you are African enough, you are good enough, you are smart enough. You are enough.” God has a specific purpose and place for each of us, and we need to live that out. By sharing his own story and struggle, he reminded me that I am enough.

What I am doing and not doing is enough.

Who I am and who I am not is enough.

I am enough. And God has a plan and purpose for me.

And then I came home from the screening and needed to hold a crying baby. I turned on “Last Man Standing,” a show I’ve been watching on Netflix intermittently. In this particular episode, Kyle, one of the employees of the outdoor store, was unwittingly promoted to a boat salesman. Kyle had no skill selling boats and it didn’t make him happy. Once this came to the surface, his supervisors wanted to switch him to another role. In a conversation with this employer, it became evident that Kyle had a knack for knowing the personalities and talents of the other employees in the store and understanding where those individuals would be most effective on the sales floor. Once moved into a position where he could use this skill, Kyle thrived.

Huh. Another instance of someone doing great things when using their unique personality and skill set in the right role. Though it was a sitcom, the truth of the lesson resonated with what I heard in the previous 36 hours.

Because of these 3 encounters, all so close together, I began to sense God reminding me that I am unique; I have a skill set unlike anyone else, and I can glorify Him and be a Kingdom Ambassador right where I am.

Who I am and what I can give right now – it’s enough. It’s enough and more than enough when I seek to do everything for Him.

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My (latest) Wow Moment

raised hands.jpgBy: Deron Vaupel, Ministry Administrator

There are many points in ministry where I have to step back and just say, ‘wow’…times when I’m just blown away by the generosity and diligence of people who, even though they’re not ‘professionals’ when it comes to church-y stuff, jump right in to give, serve, etc., simply because it’s something they’re passionate about. I’ve had this happen more times than I can count with service projects, fundraising, and the general tasks that need to happen in the week-to-week details of ministry.

As the enCompass staff worked through responses to our February teaching series, I believe we all ended up at another one of those ‘wow’ moments. Actually, let me correct that…it was more of an “AHHHHHHWOOOOHOOOOOUmmmm…” moment. I’ll explain:

AHHHHH
Back in September, the staff started working through what it would mean to invite the enCompass community into a deeper understanding and practice of being the body of Christ. This meant taking a hard look at everything that happens at enCompass – from changing diapers to preaching sermons, Sunday mornings to the rare times that things happen on Saturday nights. We did as much as we could think of to prepare for this invitation, including writing up job descriptions and figuring out how to best support volunteers in different areas. It was exhausting and at times arduous, so understandably we could let out a sigh of relief when the series wrapped up.

“WOOOOOOHOOOOO!”
After 5ish months of work, we still didn’t really know what to expect. When 75 people expressed at least interest in learning more about where they might be able to serve, there was much celebration. People actually want to learn more about showing up at 7:30am on a Sunday to push carts and set up chairs? Someone’s ready right now to help with student ministries? WONDERFUL!!!! It’s a lot of fun to see hard work pay off in tangible ways. But then…

“Ummmm…”
Not long after the celebration died down, we had to reign things in with the reality that now we have the responsibility to follow through with people, supporting them as they work to see how they fit in as part of the body of Christ. We talked about what it would look like, but not knowing what sort of response we would get, it was difficult to fully prepare for what was ahead. Fortunately, the staff had a good team of volunteers to help with the follow-up and discernment process. It’s translated to a lot of phone calls, e-mails, coffee dates, and eventually training, mentoring, and further discerning.

I’ve studied Ephesians 4 (our passage from the February series) quite a bit in the past 20 years. But as we worked through it this time, verses 11 & 12 held particular depth:

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…”

My responsibility as someone in vocational ministry is to be a conduit for God’s work in peoples’ lives. I’m called to teach, support, equip, and encourage so that others can more fully use their gifts for the sake of God’s kingdom. It can be overwhelming at times, but it’s these ‘wow’ moments that bring more and more confirmation of my own calling to be in ministry, to be doing all I can for the sake of the Body of Christ.

Thank you for the part you played in our ‘AHHHHHHWOOOOHOOOOUmmmmm’ moment. enCompass wouldn’t be the church it is without each and every one of you.

 

 

Photo credit: blondinrikard via VisualHunt.com / CC BY