31 Days: Day 17 – Use your talents to reach out

Outreach is a heart attitude. It’s not an event. It’s not a church line item. It’s a place of heart that aligns itself with the heart of Jesus in loving people right where they are. Sometimes people come to us in our churches but most of the time they don’t. We as Christ-followers must go to them. People who need to know Jesus are all around us. They are next door to us. They sit in the office next to us. Their kids play soccer with our kids. She’s the lady you see every week at the bank. He sits in front of you at church. We are one of those people too. We need Jesus as much as our neighbor next door and remembering that will help us not be judgmental or condescending as we engage with our community in sharing life changing Truth.

If you’re looking for ways to reach out to others a great place to start is by looking at how God has gifted you. What do you love and enjoy doing? Maybe you know your spiritual gift and maybe you don’t.  (A spiritual gift is something given to a person when they become a follower of Christ. Not only does the Holy Spirit indwell that person but there is a special gifting given in order for the building up of the church. It’s not like you open a box and it says “congratulations you won the gift of encouragement” or “teaching” or “exhortation”. No, it’s not like that. It’s more like as you walk with Jesus and grow in your relationship with Him he equips you and prepares you to serve others in specific ways. You’ll figure it out with him over time.)

There are a million tests out there to help you discover your spiritual gifting but sometimes I wonder if we put too much into those tests. Like what did the Apostle Paul do before the Myers-Briggs test came out? But I see nothing wrong with these tests either.

So whether you know for sure what your spiritual gift is or not look at how God has equipped you. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? How have you helped others in the past?

Pray for God to give you an opportunity to serve others in a capacity that He will be glorified. And remember it’s okay to serve in an area that is NOT your gifting or in an area you don’t love and get the warm fuzzies.

I’m doing that right now in the kids department at our church. But I’m surrounded by excellent people who are gifted in this area. This is how bad I am at leading kids stuff – I had a group of 15 kids and quite a few are non-readers or are just learning to read. But I have at least 8 excellent readers in 3-5th grade. I handed out scripture verses to be read and who did I give them to? ALL the non-readers!  I gave long verses to these precious still learning to read kids and it took 20 forever long minutes to sound out all the words. Who does that? Yeah, I’m just not a great kid teacher. Oh we have FUN together playing but when it comes to classroom management, thinking through a lesson fully, organizing, etc. I’m not your girl. But we’re making it and nobody has died yet. So yes, we can serve outside our spiritual giftedness but looking for ways to serve within our gifting is great too. And the non-readers might thank you.

Do you cook and enjoy it? Then consider doubling your next recipe and deliver to a single Mom, a new Mom, a family dealing with sickness or a shut-in. I had a friend in GA who when her children were little and serving was a bit limited because of all that was on her plate she did just this – she cooked for people as she cooked for her own family. She was already in the kitchen so she just made more. We were the recipient of her divine meals on several occasions. One time I watched her walk up to a new Mom with triplets in a grocery store parking lot and offer to make dinner for their family.  Such a beautiful outreach ministry. And she viewed it as that as well.

Are you great with kids? The more the merrier?  How about inviting neighborhood kids over for cookies and milk. Make halloween cookies together and then let the kids run around the backyard and play. Host a backyard party if you don’t want the kids inside. Throw out some cookies and juice and all the scooters, bikes and riding toys you can find.

Like to read? Start a book club with a few other people in your neighborhood. Choose a book with purpose and material worth talking about and discussing. Like 50 shades of gray probably isn’t what you’re going for in outreach. Yeah, not that one please.

Is hospitality your thing? (by God’s design it’s actually all our thing)  Offer your home up for a youth group event. Invite people over for dinner. Have tea on your front porch. There’s a lady in our church who does this and our youth love going to their home. They purpose to use their home for God’s glory and for reaching out. They do it well. Another lady in our church  makes the best ever pound cakes. She makes them up and freezes them so she can just pull one out and take to someone in a time of need. Oh and yes we do NEED us some poundcake sometimes ya know. This poundcake anyways – takes the yum factor to a whole new level.

So you get the point – take what you’re already doing, what you’re good at and take it up a notch or two in terms of outreach. Use it for purpose. For God’s purposes.

 

 

 

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