“Hi, I’m Chris,” said the soft-spoken 20-something as he stood at our door. My husband and I had the secret charge of mentoring him as a first-time small group leader. As the host home for his group, we quickly realized this shy guy had a real ministry. Over the next 12 weeks, we nurtured his gifts, group leadership skills and talent. For our group Bible study, he chose a book by Louis Giglio on worship, and around this book he creatively designed a photography course. After Bible study, it came time to break out our cameras and iPhones. That’s when Chris lit up like the light on a flash. We worshipped God together by learning to take better pictures. No songs sung, just a skill that we could use as an act of worship for the Lord to better showcase the masterpieces he has already created, by leveraging better light or using the rule of thirds. Week after week we studied the word, laughed and learned to be active worshippers by taking the time to crop, edit and filter on Photoshop Express.
Over our few months together as a group, everyone witnessed how photography was truly a ministry for Chris. He started his business part time to pick up weddings, and at those weddings he captured the raw emotions of a hope-filled bride. At church, his close-up photos showed the tears in someone’s eyes as baptismal waters mingled with them. One time in Miami, he felt led to take a professional photo for a family and sent it to them.
Flavors of ministry
Many times, in our paradigm of a worthy ministry, we think of the many problems in the world to be solved. There are those who hold the flag of righteousness high for big issues such as sex trafficking, world hunger and children’s rights. And, we need situational ministries, like that of 4KIDS of South Florida, which meets the needs of those in foster care. Then there are those whose ministries are birthed out of relatable pain, like healing the post-abortive woman of shame or helping the divorcee start over. We need those, too. But the beauty of God is also found in the infinitely diverse tapestry woven into the Body Of Christ. We also need a little fun and flavor. Ministries like Chris’, which are spurred by passion in various interests, are the endeavors that set our souls back on fire for the good things of God. Finally my brethren, whatever is good, pure and lovely, make a ministry from these things!
Find your passion
In South Florida, our 360 days of sunshine and outdoor living mean we can grille for a cause, play tennis for God or run an inspiring 5K. What talents or passions have you buried because your parents required practical studies? Maybe like me, when approaching my mom and brother in 6th grade saying I felt I had a call of God on my life, you were told to go to college, get married and study something practical that would give you a “real job.” There’s nothing wrong with nurturing a career you and your parents choose, but if it diverts you from your passion, could it be that it’s quenching God’s plan for your life?
If time or money were no object, what would you do? Would you go back to medical school because that’s what you originally wanted to study but didn’t get in? Or, would you go back even further than that to the passion and energy you had for your high school softball team? Could you set aside the practice hours for a hobby reinvention? Would you take the time to get a uniform back on and minister to your adult team? My friend, Christine, was brought to Christ and released from a lifestyle of bondage after a year on a softball team that showed her God’s love. So think back. What gave you passion? What light can you ignite? Maybe start a quilting ministry, and pray over every stich.
For me, I’m reminded of the guitar I once had. I took piano lessons from the time I was four and just never felt that I was very good. At 13, I asked for a guitar. Turn the hands in opposing directions and voila! I was good enough to join a local band. Fast-forward 30 years and at a recent Hillsong concert, Way FM was giving away a signed celebrity guitar. I said a little prayer and got in line, “Lord, if I win it, I’ll practice again and play it for you.” Well, I didn’t win it, but what’s holding me back from buying a guitar? Is it the excuse of time or my nicely polished lady-nails? Lord, have your way in our ministries.
Is it time for you to dream again? The answer is a resounding yes. This is your year. Let the kingdom ministries arise and let their enemies be scattered!
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV).
Dr. Anne Arvizu is CEO of Christian Coaching International, Inc., and founder of The CCI Coach Institute. CCI equips leaders wanting to integrate the skills of professional coaching into their own lives for personal development or professional certification. Visit GodCoach.com.