Church Involvement

Creating a Culture of Involvement in Every Church

Church Involvement Conference – January 20 & 21

Discipleship1         

 

 

“The Spirituality of  Involvement:   

                                      Challenging the   Norm of Non-Discipleship”

                                                             Dr. Carlus Gupton

                      For involvement ministers, church leaders & members

                                                             January 20-21, 2017

                                     Athens Church of Christ in Athens, TN

 Pre-Registration is Required:   423 745 0554 or travisirwin@att.net

Pre-Registration will begin in September, 2016

See the schedule and details for the complete conference under

“Questions about the Church Involvement Conference”

Your Main Purpose as a Leader

What is YourLeader Purpose as a Leader?

Paul told the Hebrew and Thessalonian Christians to submit to their leaders.  The question for you (as a leader) is this, “Are you as a leader worthy of such submission?”

Tons of books have been written about leadership with definitions, leadership styles and suggestions on how to be an effective leader.   Leadership is found in families, churches, businesses, communities and a hundred other places.

But what about your leadership in the church?   I think you have two main responsibilities as a leader:   (1)   to provide vision [direction] and (2) development.

Whether you are an elder, deacon, pulpit minister, ministry leader, Bible class teacher or some other type of leader in the church, you are to cast some sort of vision.   The vision may be specifically about your ministry, your preaching, your nurturing of the church, your plans for numerical church growth or something relevant with what you do as a leader.   Most leaders in the church have no goals for themselves much less the membership with which they work.   People thus do not know where they are going and what to expect.    What you have, without vision, is a totally ‘maintenance’ church and folks don’t get excited about maintenance and the church does not grow no matter how good you maintain things.

The second thing you should be doing is developing the people around you.  You should be developing future leaders, you should be developing the gifts of your members, you should be developing your ministry, you should be developing yourself, etc.  Such development assists in fulfilling the vision you have cast. Once again, we are not known for developing anything.   We wonder why we don’t have any folks to replace us (and others) when we resign or die.  We haven’t developed any one.   We wonder why we don’t move to higher levels of service in the church; we have not developed ourselves or others to have a higher more effective level of living and serving.

Many church leaders view their main purpose as maintaining what has been entrusted to them.  There are two problems with such reasoning:  (1)   it is NOT biblical and (2) the church does not grow spiritually or numerically with such thinking.

May I assist you learning how to create vision for your church and how to develop the folks around you?   Travis Irwin, Athens, TN

Enabling or Empowering? Which Are You Doing?

(it may appear this article is about drug addiction, but it is not)empowerment1

Anyone who has ministered to addicts knows the term “enabling.”   To enable an addict is to help (enable) him/her continue in his/her addictive behavior.   How?  By making excuses for his/her addiction, taking on his/her responsibilities, hiding his/her addiction, or denying that there is a problem.  Enabling prevents an addict from experiencing the full consequences of his/her addictive behavior.   One who enables (an enabler) contributes to the delinquency and inappropriate behavior of an addict.   However, an enabler may also contribute to, allow and even promote inappropriate behavior in others such as children, employees, spouses, friends, relatives—and, listen to this one:  brethren in the church.   Hold that thought; I will return to it.

On the other hand, those who work with addicts can also empower them so they can overcome their addictions.   What does this require?   First of all, it requires that an addict admit his/her addiction as a detrimental thing.   He/she must also admit that they have a problem over which they have no power; he/she cannot change things without some outside support (in Celebrate Recovery, this is Jesus Christ, in Alcoholics Anonymous, this would be a higher power).   An addict cannot be helped until these two admissions are made.   It is only then, that an addict can be empowered to deal with his/her problem.  He/she then turns to the One (Christ) who can transform him/her and thus empower him/her to new purposeful whole living (John 10:10).

What’s the point?   What does this have to do with church involvement?    Let’s get really honest for a moment.   Speaking from experience, at times I’ve seen enabling behavior in the church.   Yes, it is sometimes seen when we allow sin to go unchecked in the church.   However, there is another kind of enabling that I’ve seen:  instead of discipling members of the church (making them disciples), we’ve enabled them to sit in their pews and do little more.   Now, that’s not true of all members of the church or all churches.   However, it’s a rather large number that we’ve allowed by our silence and our lack of equipping them for service.    We’ve enabled them to remain inactive.

There is an alternative: empowerment.    When God designed His church, He designed her with empowerment in mind.    The Lord has gifted (empowered) us with spiritual gifts and other blessings that empower us (when recognized and exercised) to serve Him in great ways.   We are His workmanship (handiwork, creation) to do good works (Eph.2:10).

When we were delivered from the addiction of sin, He re-created us to do good works; He empowered us.   Who are we to stand in the way of God’s design (and purpose) [empowerment] by replacing it with enabling brethren to be something less?

As individual members of the bride of Christ, we can either be enabled or empowered. As church leaders, we can either enable the brethren to be much less than the Lord designed them to be or we can empower them by following what we sometimes call the Christian disciplines, one of which is ministry.    Ephesians 4:11 says that different ones in church leadership exist in the church to ‘equip’ the saints for ministry (among other things).  Equipping, in my mind, is (at least) a means of empowering church members.   Equipping is more than assembling for worship and sitting in a Bible class.   Much more.

Church leaders, are you enabling your members or are you empowering them?   My ministry exists to assist church leaders in learning how to empower those under their care for service.    I would love the opportunity to work with you in such an endeavor.

Following are examples of empowerment:

  1.  Assisting members in discovering, developing (training/equipping) and deploying (exercising) their gifts.
  2.  Giving permission to serve.  In the truest sense, none of us needs permission.   Some of us want permission and when we have it, we then proceed to serve with greater confidence.   In other cases, members need permission for ministry by those in leadership because of the special nature of a ministry.
  3.  Provide resources:  this could be money, it could be equipment, this could be other people to assist, this could be facilities, etc.
  4.  Words of affirmation and belief
  5.  Prayer!
  6.  Encouraging creativity.  Some churches discourage creativity and it shows.  When Christians are not allowed to exercise their gifts and passions fully, then God’s designed and purpose for that person is thwarted and I believe, the local church is adversely affected in some manner.
  7.  Words of appreciation
  8.  Biblical submission (cf. Eph.5:21); a recognition and appreciation of others’ gifts and an attitude of total cooperation with them in making the local church what the Lord wants her to be.
  9.  In some cases, ‘position’ such as an elder, deacon, etc.  Such positions grant to folks the authority (empowerment) to get things done.   However, every Christian holds the position of servant which empowers him/her to serve the Lord.   What greater position is there?
  10.   What would you suggest as means to empower someone in the church?

Travis Irwin, Athens, TN

423 920 3060

travisirwin@att.net

 

Why Do I Need a Personal Mission Statement?

MS5Why Do I Need a Personal Mission Statement?

Over the past fifty years we have learned the importance of mission and vision statements for businesses, factories, schools and other organizations.   ebay, Coke, Disney, Starback, Apple and other big name companies all have mission statements.  It’s not unusual to see an organization’s mission statement on its produce or an ad.   Such folks want the public to know just how serious they are about their product or service.  Hospitals and doctors proudly display their mission statements.

The Lord’s church is about 50 years behind in doing this even though I am seeing more and more churches have mission statements.  Individual Christians rarely if ever consider such a thing.   To most of us it sounds unscriptural or too corporate or totally useless.   However, I want to challenge such thinking.

There is an old adage that still applies to the church and individual Christians:

Aim at nothing and you will hit it with amazing accuracy.   If we don’t have any life goals or goals as a congregation, we will probably accomplish something by sheer accident.   If we have goals, we will accomplish much more of what the Lord wants us to accomplish for His glory.

If not, we may fail in accomplishing God’s will for our individual lives.

Why Do I Need to Do This?

Because Jesus had personal mission statements such as Luke 19:10; John 10:10 and Matthew 20:28.   Jesus lived a hectic life but He never forgot why He was here.   By the way, He accomplished every goal He came to fulfill.

Apostles had mission statements. Paul knew that he sent to the Gentiles and Peter knew he was sent to the Jews to preach the gospel.   Paul also said, “for me to live is Christ” and Peter said, “we ought to obey God rather than men.”

The Church has been given a mission statement – We have been told to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19).   The church is the means by which the world will come to know of God’s redeeming grace and wisdom (Ephesians 3:9-11). By the way, most of the time it appears that the church has forgotten these mission statements.   Why is that, I wonder.

A personal mission statement will keep you focused.   We are pulled into dozens of different directions every day.   Our lives are full of distractions.   A personal mission statement, when written and heeded will keep us focused on God’s purpose for our lives.

A personal mission statement will give you a strong personal purpose for living. Most Christians have no clue about God’s specific purpose for their lives. They don’t know anything about their spiritual gifts, passions and other blessings with which God has endowed them.   Most people, including most Christians, just go through life with no particular goals in mind.   We are all here for His purpose.

A personal mission statement will help you re-evaluate from time to time.   A mission statement is like a North Star for serious life travelers.   For us unorganized folks it helps us get back to where we need to be in life.

You are more likely to accomplish what the Lord wants you to accomplish. I am one of the few naïve people that believes that every Christian has a general purpose for living (to glorify the Lord) and to serve Him (and mankind) in some specific way (based upon how God has designed him/her specifically).   Life is fuller and richer when it is lived in this manner.

How Do I Go About Coming Up with a Personal Mission Statement?

You will need to discover your spiritual gifts, your passions, your personality trait, your life skills, education and life experiences and possibly some other helpful things about yourself.   This priceless information will help you form your personal mission statement.   Below is an example of how this is done:

I, John Doe, wish to honor and glorify my Creator (the general reason I am alive) by feeding (an example of a thing passion: cooking) the homeless (an example of a people passion) in my spare time using my gift of compassion (an example of a spiritual gift). I will befriend them and tell them of the saving grace of Jesus (my specific goals or purpose). My greatest hope is that they will obey the gospel and live a fuller life and have eternal life (my vision).

Travis Irwin

travisirwin@att.net

Questions about the “Church Involvement Conference”

Q2  Questions & Answers about the 

“Church Involvement Conference”

(formerly the Equip Conference) 

           January 20 & 21, 2017

Why did you change the name of the conference?

There are several other Christian groups that are using “Equip Conference” and so to avoid any confusion we just changed our name.  We had been using the wording “Equip Conference” since 2010.   This (change) has provided us with an opportunity to be more specific in our wording.   We are not in competition with our brethren who use the terms “Equip Conference” and we wish them well.

What is your schedule for this conference?

The general schedule is as follows:

Friday afternoon, 2 to 4 pm “Nuts & Bolts” with Travis Irwin sharing some of the things that have been fruitful at Athens Church of Christ: “Getting Connected” and “Down on the Farm.”

Friday evening, 6:30 to 8:15 pm Dr. Carlus Gupton will speak once during our supper time together on the topic of “The Spirituality of Involvement: Challenging the Norm of Non-Discipleship” followed by ‘Break Out Sessions.’

Saturday morning, 8:00 to 11:15 am   Breakfast for everyone at 8:00 and Dr. Gupton will continue his thoughts in two more presentations this morning followed by two more ‘Break Out Sessions.’

Saturday 11:15 am Lunch Break followed by “Shop Talk” wherein those who wish to stay can share and hear ideas for Connection and Involvement Ministries. This sharing time will last at least an hour and those who need to leave can do so at their discretion.

Why did you choose Dr. Gupton?

Dr. Gupton, in our estimation is probably one of the most qualified men in the brotherhood to address Connection and Involvement Ministers. For a full biography on him you can go to his website:   http://www.lifeandleadership.com/

His thoughts will be uplifting but also challenging.

What about the motels in Athens?

There are 3 high quality motels at Exit 49 on I-75 (I-75 runs between Knoxville and Chattanooga north and south). Those motels are:

The Comfort Inn

The Hampton Inn

Holiday Inn

I would urge you to go ahead and make your reservations soon; these motels are usually full because we are part of a tourist area even during the winter.

What about the meals?

You will be furnished three meals while you are here: Supper Friday evening and Breakfast and Lunch on Saturday.

What about CDs?

Dr. Gupton has given us permission to record his messages and give them to all who attend the conference.   We have paid staff who will duplicate and mail these to you.

What is the cost?

Every sponsoring church (of events) struggles with whether to charge for such events.   We believe this event is worthy of your travel, effort and expense.   We will provide the CDs of Dr. Gupton’s speeches, any related materials, all 3 meals and of course, excess to Dr. Gupton for $50 per attender.

What about registration?

We are requesting registration and payment at least a month before the actual event (by December 20, 2016).

We want the first CIC to be fruitful and well attended. Your pre-registration will help us in this quest.   If you have any questions about this arrangement, you can call the church office and talk to me (Travis Irwin, 423 745 0554).

Why did you pick the dates of January 20 & 21, 2017?   Many may wonder why we are having this event in the dead of winter.   There are two answers. First, when we were planning the 2013 EQ conference we wanted to avoid other church related events (lectureships) and school breaks, etc. (it appears that our brotherhood has something going on throughout the year).   It is nearly impossible to avoid other events, and we agreed to try a January date. The risk is the weather.   We do not have an alternative date if the weather is poor. We will reimburse any fees if the event if cancelled.   The other reason we went with a January date is because the weather is cold yet good during January in East Tennessee.   If the Lord wills, the event will take place.

What if I have other questions or concerns?   If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact Travis Irwin at the church office at 423 745 0554 or on his personal phone (text or phone call) at 423 920 3060 or by email at travisirwin@att.net

 

Equip Conference Becomes C.I.C.

inv5Why did you change the name of the conference?

There are several other Christian groups that are using “Equip Conference” and so to avoid any confusion we just changed our name.  We originally started using the wording “Equip Conference” in 2009.   However, this (change) will provide us with an opportunity to be more specific in our wording.   We are not in competition with our brethren who use the terms “Equip Conference” and we wish them well.   We are going to use the terms “Church Involvement Conference” or C.I.C.

The dates are still January 20 & 21, 2017 and Dr. Carlus Gupton is our featured speaker.   His topic will be: “The Spirituality of Involvement: Challenging the Norm of Non-Discipleship.”   Meals will be provided and two special classes will be offered before and after the Dr. Gupton’s presentations.   If you are interested in seeing members of the church become true disciples you will want to be a part of this conference.

We will release the full CIC schedule soon with housing details, topics and other items of interest to connection and involvement ministers and church leaders.

You can call Athens church of Christ if you have any questions at 423 745 0554.

Travis Irwin, Athens, TN

Diamonds Right in Front of Us

Diamonds Right in Front of Us

In 1843, a man was born who was to have a profound effect upon the lives of millions of people. He name was Russell Herman Conwell. He became a lawyer, then a newspaper editor, and finally a minister. In his efforts to raise money to begin what is today Temple University, Dr. Conwell gave over 6,000 lectures and in each one of them, he told a story called “Acres of Diamonds.” It was a true story that had affected him very deeply, and it had the same effect on his audiences. The money he needed to build the college came pouring in.

The story was the account of an African farmer who had heard tales about other farmers who had made millions by discovering diamond mines.  These tales so excited the farmer that he could hardly wait to sell his farm and go prospecting for diamonds himself. So he sold the farm and spent the rest of his life wandering the African continent, searching unsuccessfully for the gleaming gems that brought such high prices on the markets of the world. Finally, the story goes, worn-out and in a fit of despondency, he threw himself into a river and drowned.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or farm, in this case, the man who bought the farm happened to be crossing the small stream on the property. Suddenly, there was a bright flash of blue and red light from the stream’s bottom. He bent down, picked up the stone – it was a good-sized stone – and, admiring it, later put it on his fireplace mantle, as an interesting curiosity.

Several weeks later, a visitor to his home picked up the stone, looked closely at it, hefted it in his hand – and nearly fainted. He asked the farmer if he knew what he had found. When the farmer said no, that he had thought it was a piece of crystal, the visitor told him he had fund one of the largest diamonds ever discovered. The farmer had trouble believing that. He told the man that his creek was full of such stones – not as large, perhaps as the one on the mantel, but they were sprinkled generously throughout the creek bottom.

Needless to say, the farm the first farmer had sold so that he might find a diamond mine turned out to be the most productive diamond mine on the entire African continent. The first farmer had owned, free and clear, acres of diamonds, but he had sold them for practically nothing in order to look for them elsewhere.

The moral is clear: If only the first farmer had taken the time to study and prepare himself – to learn what diamonds look like in their rough state – and since he had already owned a piece of the African continent, to thoroughly explore the property he had before looking elsewhere, all of his wildest dreams would have come true.

The fact is, each of us is, at this moment, standing in the middle of his or her own acre of diamonds in our local congregations. If only we will have the wisdom and patience to intelligently and effectively explore our churches, we can find the riches that God has placed among us.  With some prayer, study and close examination, we will discover the diamonds among us.   Many members are just diamonds in the rough; they need to be discovered, developed and put to work.

This is what I do best: help churches and church leaders discover God’s diamonds.  God doesn’t make junk.  The church is full of potential that has to be discovered.     Please contact me so I train you to discover God’s riches among you.

Travis Irwin

423 920 3060

FAQs

Q1FAQ’s

What is the nature of your ministry and why do you have a website?   Most church leaders are interested in the spiritual and numerical growth of their congregations.   Some of those leaders are discovering that Christian service is a part of discipleship and spiritual growth, and those same leaders want the members under their care to be true disciples.   They are realizing that ‘spectator’ or ‘sitting’ members should be ‘serving members.’    This is a healthy trend in the church.    My ministry exists for such church leaders and churches.   From my experience as an involvement minister I have learned what works best in  getting members from the ‘sitting’ position to the ‘serving’ position and I want to share this experience and wisdom with church leaders.    My website exists to assist churches in involvement, but it also exists for church leaders to blog or communicate with me.   Bottom line:   I am interested in getting the word out about church involvement.

Why are you in the involvement ministry?

In 2003 I experienced burn out from full time preaching. By 2008 I had retrained myself in several areas of ministry—one was involvement.   I was offered my present job in late 2008 and have loved it ever since.   I am one of a very few full time involvement ministers.   If you spend five minutes communicating with me, you will hear the passion in my voice for this ministry.

What is the ideal size congregation for starting an involvement ministry?   Larger congregations need more organization and more folks in order to make an involvement ministry possible.   Larger churches may need a full time staffer as well.   Smaller congregations of 200 to 300 are ideal in the sense that they usually have a good number of folks who will make an involvement ministry work well without hiring extra full time staff.   The key is a supportive leadership which includes elders, deacons and ministry leaders.  Any size church can have a successful/fruitful involvement ministry using my tools.

How much does it cost to hire you as a consultant?     The most profitable thing I can for you is to ‘listen’ to you.   This is my first responsibility and I will listen to you without charge.  As I listen and learn about your congregation (and her leadership), I will know if you need my services or not.   The best thing I can do is coach and consult and share ideas (that work) with you.  The cost will differ from congregation to congregation because of size, the number of contacts and the scale of the project.   My consulting guarantees that the process is successful.  There is nothing more embarrassing and disheartening than failure.   My services pay for themselves.   What I am finding is that my brethren are very smart and they are very excited about what I do.   This simply means that they are motivated to take over the process once I help them get it started.

Do any of our Christian colleges provide training in involvement ministry?   None that I know of.   I am open to assist colleges in this area if they wish.   I am open to training anyone to become an involvement minister.

What are the obstacles in starting an involvement ministry?   I don’t like to use that word “obstacle.”   If church leadership does the work necessary, they will have a very fruitful/successful involvement ministry.    Church leadership must educate the brethren slowly and thoroughly first.   Experience tells me if we help the church understand the biblical basis of what we are attempting to do, there will be few if any problems.   The opposite is true:  don’t properly prepare the brethren and you are doomed for failure.   Romans 10:17 applies here.   The only possible obstacle could be close-mindedness.   When church leadership is open-minded, the Lord will work through us for His glory and for the edification of the church.

What books would you recommend for us to read as leaders as we prepare for starting an involvement ministry?   I have a list these on my website under “Books.”  I also think all the articles on this website are most helpful.  I am also rewriting two books that I will soon make available to churches; one on bearing fruit and one on developing one’s spiritual gifts.    The I Serve U Inventories will be released soon.

Why do you suggest getting more information from our members than just their spiritual gifts?   The I Serve U Inventories seek six pieces of priceless information about each member.  I am familiar with other involvement individuals and organizations who seek to only discover the members’ spiritual gifts; that alone does not give a complete picture of each Christian.  In fact, the other five pieces of information (that my inventories request) are just as important as the spiritual gifts. Every bit of this information makes for a comprehensive involvement ministry.

What lessons do our members need to hear in order to prepare the church to start an involvement ministry?   Any and everything that has to do with service, spiritual gifts, purpose and the priesthood of believers. I cannot begin to list all of them here.  However a solid preacher will do the necessary work.    This is NOT a quick fix thing; a good preacher will preach on this for at least a year (your congregation may decide to have a specific congregational focus for a year in preparation for kicking off an involvement ministry). I will counsel with your pulpit minister if you wish.    Also look at the “Books” list on this website.

Why should we work with you?   Most folks and organizations that (attempt to) do what I do (1)  are not as thorough as I am, (2)  are not members of the church and (3)  are very expensive.     My approach is to show you how God has designed your members and your congregation for local service in the local church and community.   God does not make mistakes.   We need to work together because I will train members to be actual coaches which in turn will perpetuate what we’ve started together.   I want your involvement ministry to grow and continue until the Lord returns.   I will also consult with you years into the future if you want me to.

What makes the I Serve U Inventories superior to other inventories?    They  seek to discover six priceless pieces of information about each member; there are no other inventories like them. None!   These six priceless pieces of information will be given to the church leadership, deacons and ministry leaders for their use in putting members into ministry for which they are best suited.   This information can be used for other purposes.  It becomes your information.   It is some of the most helpful information you will ever have of your members—even more valuable than their birthday dates and mailing addresses.

I Believe in the Local Church

countrychurch2I have always been impressed with missionaries and at times have found myself a bit envious of missionaries.   I am impressed with missionaries and their families because of their great love for those they don’t even know in some other part of the world.   I admire them for the dedication and sacrifice found in leaving the comforts of family and home for the good of others.   These are very special people and I thank God for them.

And, yet I am also impressed with the local church.   I’ve done a small bit of mission work, but my heart is in (what preachers call) ‘local work.’   I strongly believe in the local church.   I have been involved with local churches since I was a small boy (when my father did local work) and I have been involved with local church work for almost 50 years.   I do not wish to downplay the importance of mission work. However, I want to share some reasons why the local church’s importance should be not overlooked or be minimized.

The local church supports foreign and domestic missions.   While we are on the topic of foreign missions, I must remind everyone that it is local congregations that usually support foreign missions with manpower and money.   They are also supportive of domestic missions here in the States.

The local church prepares men and women for service.   Many congregations have solid Bible schools and youth ministries to prepare young people for Christian living and service.   The local church provides what many of our homes do not in this area.

The local church attempts to meet local needs.   There are many congregations that are heavily involved in meeting local needs.   Some churches provide food or clothing or furnishings or housing.   Some provide counseling and other services. Local churches can’t do it all and yet many of them attempt to meet real needs in their communities.

The local church attempts to reach the lost locally.   Where members are encouraged and equipped for service, many of those members reach out to their lost friends and neighbors and bring them to the Lord.   Some congregations still have gospel meetings while others have special events and classes that appeal to the unchurched.

The local church provides a haven of worship and edification.   The local church provides a place where her members can congregate to worship the Lord, but she also—through her members—provides encouragement and edification to weary members week after week and year after year.

I contend that church leaders must do all they can, in their positions with the Lord’s help, to make the local church strong and a blessing to all who know of her and to all that she attempts to serve.

One of the best ways these goals can be achieved is to help the members of our local churches discover, develop and deploy their non-miraculous spiritual gifts.   Churches who have done this have members that bless their families, the local church and the community in which the church resides. Please allow me to assist you in blessing your members in this manner.   Trav

travisirwin@att.net

 

Putting On the Brakes

brake3Putting On the Brakes

We sometimes infer a disdain for average or less-than-average performance in church ministry.   We are always striving to do more, be more and produce more.

We expect creativity, freshness, newness and the extra effort.

While I can understand some of this thinking–because our goal is maturity in Christ and because God deserves the best—this thinking, if misunderstood, can be very dangerous.

Why am I bringing this up?   At times, I see some servants in the church who are attempting the ‘humanly’ impossible.    Some are attempting to do more than God designed them to do—more than God wills for them to do.   Such folks need to learn to ‘put on the brakes’ or bad things will happen.

When we strive to do the impossible (and the unexpected), we get stressed and anxious or worse.   We can become critical of ourselves or others in the process.   Our thinking becomes imbalanced to the point that we think that God is not pleased with us.  This leads to other unhealthy thinking and living.   Our focus is on self which leads to other issues when, in reality our focus should be on the One who endowed us in the first place.   We become too dependent upon ourselves and lose our dependence upon Him.   It’s a matter of proper focus.

There are other factors that may contribute to our trying to do the impossible:  one is personality.   Some folks are perfectionists and feel inadequate if they don’t achieve some impossible goal.   Others are very compassionate and have great difficulty in saying “No” to any request.    Another contributing factor may be theological:   “I’ve got to do this because this is God’s purpose for me.”  And, then some of us quote that off quoted verse:  “with God all things are possible.”   While it may be the case that God has called you to do something (for which you are passionate), He does not expect you to do more than you are humanly capable.   And that verse about God doing all things: that’s God, not you.   You and God make a great team and even God recognizes your need for rest and recreation.

Even Christ, while here on earth in the flesh, was physically limited.  He simply did what He could.   He did not fix every problem or heal every sick person.  That’s the example we must follow because we are human.

“But how do I know that I have reached my limitations?”   I suggest the following:

  1.  When negative emotions appear, you need to reassess everything.  Remember Martha and her fit of anger.
  2. When others are telling you that you are overloaded, you need to listen.
  3.  Listen to your body, emotions & mind.  They will tell you.  Accept your limitations. 
  4. Ask for assistance with tasks.   Solomon said that two are better than one.    Listen to wise inspiration. 
  5.    Ask the Lord to show you—and He will.   Be sensitive to His answering you.  Neither church leaders, church staff, ministry participants, members nor God are demanding or expecting the impossible.   We are compassionate people who are willing to give what we have for the cause of Christ.  Let us be wise in recognizing our human limitations and do what we can for His glory.  Some of us just need to learn to say  “No” and say it in love.   It’s OK; even God says “No.”   We also need to recognize our limitations and work within them for His glory.

Travis Irwin

travisirwin@att.net

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