Divinely Designed to Serve ~ Message 5 – Experiences

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Divinely Designed to Serve, Part 5

Ephesians 2

Bruce A. Hess

If you would, please take out the Word of God, and turn in the Word of God today, to the book of Ephesians and chapter number 2. Ephesians, chapter number 2.

While you are going there, I want to take just a moment to talk about camels. Yes, we are going to talk about camels. Now, you know camels are divinely designed. They’re odd, of course, right? But they are an amazing design. We are all aware of camel humps. You do know that camel humps are mostly fat, which can provide energy to the camel when food is very scare. They can go many days with little or no food or water. Camels have padded feet that keeps them from sinking into loose sand, very much like the webbing of a snowshoe keeps a person on top of the snow. It is an amazing design that God has.

A camel’s eyes are protected with three eyelids. There are two outer eyelids, which include long curly eyelashes, which protect the eyes from blowing sand. Then, the thin inner eyelid winks over the eyeball and cleans off any dust that may get in there.

You may not know it, but camels have special muscles that enable the camel to close its nostrils during a sandstorm and their thick eyebrows shield their eyes from the desert sun. Clearly, we would say, God created animals for a specific environment.

Now, in some ways we are very much like that. You go, Whoa. Yeah, it’s true, I mean we are odd in our own way. We are peculiar; we have our own warts; our own strangeness, right? But God has divinely designed us for a specific environment also. That environment is to serve God and others.

Today we are going to be completing our series we have entitled, “Divinely Designed to Serve.” Our foundation verse that we’ve used over and over again is Ephesians, chapter 2, and verse 10, where it tells us that, “We are His workmanship (His handiwork, His masterpiece, His special composition) created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we (that’s you and me) would walk in them (that we would live them out).”

What we have been doing is, we’ve been looking at an acrostic this whole time, which talks about how He has shaped me and how He shapes you for ministry. It involves the English word SHAPE, S.H.A.P.E. Each letter stands for something. The “S” stood for Spiritual Gifts that He has given to us. “H” is our Heart Passion that He invigorates and energizes in us. Then, we have our Abilities. We have our natural abilities and our acquired abilities, and also our Personality.

Today we want to go to the last letter in the acrostic, which is the letter “E,” which is our Experiences. He uses our experiences to shape me and to shape you for ministry.

Here is what is interesting about the letter “E” in our acrostic, the experiences part is frequently overlooked. It is regularly discounted. People often disconnect it from this idea of God’s Divine Design for me to serve. What I want to emphasize is that God never wastes anything; that God utilizes everything.

A theme we are going to see throughout our time this morning is this, There is Purpose in your Past. There is purpose in your past.

Here is what I think is going to happen today—I think God is going to surprise some of us. Some of us are going to come in this morning and we are going to be surprised by the new perspective about experiences that we gain. I think some of us are going to come out of our time today with a new perspective that can make a difference for the rest of our life when it comes to some of the experiences that we have had in our life.

I want to begin by looking at a famous verse. It is Romans, chapter 8, verse 28, where it says, as Paul is writing, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

We want to zero in on a few of the key words in that verse. The first one is the word “know.” We know. This is not mere speculation; this is not some sort of a weak theory or hypothesis.

We know that God causes, what? All things to work together. What all is included in all things? It would be, what? All things, right? That would include our joys and our sorrows, it would include our accomplishments and our struggles.

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good.” What is the good that He is working towards? Well, we learn from the next verse, verse 29, that the good is He is seeking to develop His image in our life. He wants me, and He wants you, to be more like Jesus.

So, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Men and women, that includes positive experiences that we have in our life, and it also includes painful experiences we have in our life.

It includes positive experiences; experiences where we have thrived and painful experiences where we have survived. It includes the high points in our life experientially, and it includes the low points in our life experientially.  It includes our positive experiences and our painful experiences.

Positive experiences for example like our education, like our training, like our accomplishments, like our achievements, like our adventures. But, also painful experiences, like the hardships that we have undergone; the failures that we’ve had; the deepest difficulties that we face; and the life struggles that we wrestle with on a regular basis. So, this is part of the way God chooses to shape you and me, using our positive experiences and our painful experiences.

As we’ve been showing you all along, the principles that we have been sharing come directly out of Scripture. We see them clearly illustrated for us in Scripture. For example, let’s just take one person—the Apostle Paul. We are going to see how God used positive experiences in his life to shape him for ministry.

We have several passages up here [on the screen], Philippians 3:5, Acts 22:3, and then Acts 17:1-3. What do those verses talk about? Well, if you go to Philippians 3, Paul says, regarding his own life, the way he was raised, he said, I was circumcised on the eighth day, I was a member of the nation of Israel, I was from the tribe of Benjamin, I was a Hebrew of Hebrews.”

Then, in Acts 22, verse 3, it tells us that he grew up being educated under Gamaliel, who was the number one Jewish scholar of the day. Those are some positive experiences he had that helped shape him for ministry. What did those positive experiences bring for him? It brought him a lot of credibility and a lot of qualification for the early stretch of his ministry.

That is what we learn in Acts 17, verses 1-3, because early in Paul’s ministry he had a pattern of ministry. His custom was to always, on the Sabbath Day, go where? Do you remember? He would go into the synagogue. He understood because he was raised in this whole Jewish system, he understood everything in the synagogue, the way that the service would flow in the synagogue. And it says he would go into the synagogue, and he would seek to reason with them from the Hebrew Scriptures. They would want to listen to him because of the positive experiences he had, the qualifications he had. He would share with them from the Hebrew Scriptures the evidence that Messiah was destined to suffer and to rise from the dead.

So, when you look at the positive experiences that he went through in his life, we might say to Paul:  there is purpose in your past. See how God used those positive experiences he had to shape him for ministry?

But he also had, Paul did, painful experiences. He delineates that for us in 2 Corinthians, chapter 11, verses 23-27. Remember when he is just beginning to talk about everything that happened to him? It wasn’t a bunch of joyous things; it was a bunch of difficult, painful things. In that section of 2 Corinthians 11, he talks about the imprisonments (multiple) that he underwent, the beatings (multiple) that he underwent. He talks about the multiple dangers that he faced. He said, I faced the danger of hunger, and the danger of thirst, and the danger of cold and exposure to the cold. He even talks about there were assassination attempts that happened in his life. A lot of painful experiences.

But here is what is interesting:  because of those painful experiences that he underwent in his life, he had some credibility. Because of those painful experiences, because of God’s presence and grace that saw him through that, he earned a hearing of credibility from others that were experiencing negative things in their life.

2 Corinthians, chapter 4, verses 16-18. See, he’s gone through all these things, but here is how he is encouraging those at Corinth who were undergoing difficult times, he says, “We do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”

You think about all these painful experiences he went through; he describes them as ‘momentary, light affliction.’ Whoa! Wait a minute. What he went through isn’t light affliction—it is about as difficult as you can get in this lifetime, but he was comparing it with eternity. He says, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us (as we go through these painful experiences) an eternal weight of glory.” You see how, as he went through those painful experiences, it gave him some credibility to talk about how God’s presence and grace can see you through them.

We could say, Paul, that there is purpose in your past. There is purpose in your past, Paul.

By the way, that is true today, not just back when Paul lived. It is true today. A positive experience that we have can shape us for ministry. A positive experience can shape us for ministry.

I am going to tell you a story for example, of Tommy and Amy, who were a young couple falling in love. They decided to make a commitment to honor God and to honor each other by abstaining from physical intimacy until they got married. Was that easy? No, it was hard. It was difficult for them, but God gave them the strength to keep that commitment. We wish we could see that commitment being realized more in our day. They got married. Now they are husband and wife. They chose to use their positive experience of working through that commitment to help young couples stay pure before the Lord, prior to their marriage. So, God can use positive experiences today to help shape us for ministry.

Maybe you grew up in a spiritually solid home, a home that was loving, a home that had grace in it, a home that had laughter in it. That can become a platform to point others to share practically what it looks like to have that kind of a spiritually solid home. A loving home, a home with grace, a home with laughter. So, even today God can use a positive experience to shape us for ministry.

But He can also use painful experiences to shape us for ministry. I want to hit pause for just a moment because I think we need help here. I really do. I think we need help when it comes to seeing hardships as part of God’s shaping of me to minister. I think we need help in seeing our own failures—we all have them—as  part of God’s plan to set me up for ministry to others. We have a hard time understanding that the deepest struggles we have can be part of God’s shaping for us in ministry.

I mean the truth is, we doubt that God could use a divorce in our life. We doubt that God could use an abortion. We doubt that God could use an eating disorder. We doubt that God could use alcoholism. We doubt that God could use sexual abuse. We doubt that God could use a job loss. We doubt that God could use false accusations.  And yet, He uses painful experiences like that to set us up to minister and to serve to other people.

In a sense, all of us are broken. And when we are broken, you know what the enemy likes to do? The enemy likes to come along and whisper little things in our ears like this—you know, I think you’re pretty worthless because of that experience that you went through. I think you ought to feel a lot of despair. I think you should feel rejection from God because—here comes the message–God couldn’t ever use somebody like you.

So, here is the point in all of this, when we encounter a painful experience, men and women, we have a choice to make. The choice we have to make is, are we going to believe God will work that painful experience for good, that He will take that setback that we have as a ‘set up?’ Or are we going to rather make the choice to merely be a victim? He wants us, Satan does, to feel victimized and to become paralyzed in the pain that we have from that painful experience. We have a choice that we have to make. We have the choice to become engulfed in self-pity or to embrace the painful experience as a sacred scar. Is the outcome in my life going to be misery, or is the outcome in my life going to be ministry?

I want to direct our attention to 2 Corinthians, chapter 1, verses 3 and 4. A great couple of verses. It says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our God is the Father of mercies, He is the God of all comfort.” It says there that He, “Comforts us in all our affliction so that,” there is a purpose and a plan beyond just comforting us. “He comforts us in all our afflictions so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” In other words, a crisis that we go through God can use as a catalyst for ministry to others.

Think about it, who better to help one walk through the valley of the shadow than one who walked through the valley of shadow before you did? Right? Because someone who walked through the valley of the shadow before you, can confirm to you, as you are in the midst of the darkness of that valley, they can confirm that with God there are no accidents. With God there are no accidents. He will be with you. They can confirm He is worthy of being trusted. They can confirm that His grace is sufficient for you when you are walking through the valley of the shadow.

There is a life principle I want us to ponder, and I encourage you to just even ponder this, this next week. Here is the life principle: “often our most effective ministry will flow out of our most difficult experience.” Let’s say that again. Often our most effective ministry will flow out of our most difficult experience.

I don’t just want to talk abstractly. Let’s get real. There is a 4’ 10”, ninety-pound, single mom and she is walking to the grocery store in Michigan. A large man jumps out of the bushes with a knife. He takes this single mom, drags her off into a field, slits her clothes, and yes, the worst happens. She finds out later she is pregnant from that event, a tragic event. Can God use that? Would God use that? Could God use that? That little, tiny mom decided to give birth to that child and immediately put her young daughter up for adoption.

I want to introduce you to that young daughter that came out of that violent event. Her name is Rebecca Kiessling. I met Rebecca at a banquet and corresponded with her a number of times. Think about that violent event, I mean you want to talk about a painful experience—knowing you came out of such a violent event. For the past twenty-seven years she has been a pro-life speaker internationally. She spoke at a crisis pregnancy center; she has spoken at adoption conferences. If you would like to learn more about her whole story, you can go to her website which is, rebeccakiessling.com (r-e-b-e-c-c-a-k-i-e-s-s-l-i-n-g.com)

Often our most effective ministry will flow out of our most difficult experience. It is true.

Stephen Arterburn tells the story of a woman that he knew in his church that had an entire lifetime of bondage, but she found the courage to change. Here is what he said, “She is now seventy, but five years ago at the age of sixty-five, she admitted that she had been sexually molested as a child. For decades she had carried this secret around with her. She had trouble giving to others because of her own deep pain. By finally opening up about her problems to some people in the church, she was courageously saying that she would not settle for being a victim anymore. As she honestly worked through her pain, she began to discover God’s healing grace and the comfort that He can bring. A year after sharing her secret she began a ministry to help others who had been abused, to help them find the same freedom and fulfillment she was experiencing.” He goes on to say, “She now minsters to more than five hundred women through her outreach program. Her sorrow was turned to joy as she watched others heal the same brokenness that was preventing them from knowing God’s best.” Here is what he goes on to say, “That is the beauty of God’s plan, the full circle of His redemptive love. Those in need are lovingly served and are slowly and gradually transformed by such love, then they too, can begin to serve others in need and the cycle, once a destructive path of pain, becomes infused with the healing power of God.”

I want to remind you, this doesn’t just happen, you know, in other places around the country, this happens right here in Oklahoma. This happens right here in our community. For example, Ron Grant, who spent seventeen years as a prison chaplain at Joseph Harp Correctional Center, which is a medium security prison in Lexington, Oklahoma…seventeen years as a prison chaplain. If you said to him, Why did you ever decide that you wanted to serve in that way, he had an answer. You see, Ron Grant was a cabinet maker who was mistakenly arrested and thrown into jail for twenty-four hours before that all got cleared up. While he was in jail, he was just looking around and he said, you know what? I think these people need help. I want to help them.

I’ll tell you the story of Tracy, who lives in our community. Her husband committed suicide. That’s a painful experience to go through. A year and a half later after her husband had committed suicide, she was volunteering to speak at a support group addressing the subject matter of teen suicide.

We have others in our body who have been through painful experiences, and they said, you know what? God can use that. We had some people here in our church who had to walk through the issues of dementia with their parent and then they turned around and said, you know what, we want to help other people do that, so they started a dementia support group.

I want to share with you the intriguing story of John Baker. You say, I’ve never heard of John Baker. Well, for many years John Baker battled an addiction to alcohol. That addiction almost cost him his marriage, his family, and actually even his physical life. But thankfully John found the Lord, trusted in Christ as his Rescuer, began to attend a local church, and that whole spiritual turning point in his life led him to write a letter to the pastor of the church, outlining a vision for a ministry he believed God was just nudging him a little bit to start. He also thought, felt, as you can imagine, great feelings of inadequacy even thinking about this, but the pastor challenged him to go after his dream.

The very next year John launched a new ministry called, you might recognize the name, ‘Celebrate Recovery.’ It is a biblical process to help people find freedom from addictions through the love and grace of Jesus Christ. So, for the next ten years after he started Celebrate Recovery, God used John to deliver hundreds of people from the grip of a destructive lifestyle. Today Celebrate Recovery is an international ministry helping millions of people overcome painful pasts and harmful addictions through the merciful and powerful love of Jesus Christ.

Here is what is interesting: if you were to meet John Baker, you would see an average guy who took everything that God made him to be, how God shaped him, as a positive, even the painful events of his life. He decided to use that for His glory, God’s glory. So, with God’s help and leading he has made, and continues to make, a difference in other people’s lives by fulfilling His unique design that God brought about in his life.

Many of you know that I have battled prostate cancer two times. I can still remember, emotionally, when I hear the word cancer, I can feel what I felt like when they first told me that over the phone. I never dreamt what God was going to do in that in my own life. I’ve had the opportunity to take that painful experience, which is a painful experience, and God has allowed me to inform and counsel and help other men who are struggling with prostate cancer walk through that, double digits of men.

Some of you know that my son and his wife lost their first child at full term. The cord got wrapped around her neck. That was a painful experience, but I can tell you God has used that as they have now been able to minister to other couples that go through that experience.

My youngest daughter went through multiple miscarriages and then eventually God was gracious to them and gave them a daughter, whose name is Summer. They are able to utilize that experience,  a painful experience. That’s the way God works. He can use a painful experience as a catalyst to serve other people.

Again, we have a choice to make when we are facing that painful experience. We can make the choice to become engulfed in self-pity, which ultimately leads to misery in our life, OR we can make a choice to embrace that painful experience as a sacred scar, which can lead to ministry.

I was reading this week about an eighty-four-year-old lady who was asked this question: what would you change about your life as you look back on eighty-four years? Her answer was fascinating. She said – nothing. Nothing, because God has used every experience, even times when I failed God terribly, to strengthen my relationship with Him and use me—here it comes—to minister to others. God worked out every circumstance for good. Sometimes, men and women, we need to lead with our limp in life.

Often our most effective ministry will flow out of our most difficult experience and God is always at work even in the darkest of times so that we could say, God is saying to us, there is purpose in your past. There is purpose in your past.

Someone might be thinking, you know…well, when it comes to serving other people and ministering to other people, if you have a significant disability that pretty well disqualifies you. Someone who has a significant disability can say, there’s nothing I can do, God can’t use me. That’s not true. One illustration would be Caleb Burklund who has a significant cerebral palsy disability. He has to be in a wheelchair all the time. But, if you ever go, in one of our services, out through this door you will find Caleb is out there with his mom handing out bulletins. See, even with all that significant disability, he can still serve.

I want to tell you the story also of Brady Nevilles. Brady Nevilles, I was just talking to him this week, he was in our office. He is legally blind by a disease that he inherited and if he wants to travel here, he can’t drive, so he has to call the city. He has to pre-arrange, a couple of days ahead of time, a reservation to get on a bus, which brings him over to Wildwood. He comes with his companion dog, Conway. He comes in our office, and he sits there, and he stuffs the bulletins that you pick up, that is who is stuffing them. He is just working away. Then, he also helps us with other tasks that we have around the office.

I know of people who have been homebound, many of them bed-bound, and they think, well, there’s nothing I can do. Yet, they decide that they’re going to pray consistently and regularly for other people. That is a key ministry.

Some of us are a little older, you know, we are on the ‘well-seasoned’ side of life, and who expects someone who is ‘well-seasoned’ to serve? I was speaking to one of us who fits into that category a couple of weeks ago as we were going through this series. And they said this to me: You know what, I can’t serve at the same level I used to do. When I was younger, I did a lot more. They went on to say this: I can still though utilize my gifts and my heart passion. I’m not going to sit idle, I just do it in a different way now. In other words, I’m not going to stop serving, I’m going to make a shift in how I serve.

So, no matter our experiences, be they positive or painful, God can utilize them to shape us, to equip us to serve Him and other people.

Now, some of us might be in the midst of a very painful experience right now. I just want you to be encouraged by some of the words from Psalm 139. If you are thinking of a painful experience that you are having, here is what God says to you and to me. The psalmist is talking to the Lord, he says,

“You chart the path ahead of me…every moment you know where I am.” That is comforting.

“You both precede and follow me.” He is walking with you before it, He is walking with you after it.

I love this part. “You place your hand of blessing on my head.” If you are in the middle of a painful experience that is a wonderful truth.

Then, he goes on to say, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to know!

See, God’s plan is to shape us to serve Him and other people. He divinely designs us to serve using our spiritual gifts, our heart passions, our abilities, our personality, and yes, our life experiences.

So, we’ve covered a lot of stuff this morning and all through this series all month long. I want to talk about Life Response. What can we do to respond to everything we have learned? The first one I have up here is, Fill out your M.A.P. You go, what is a M.A.P.?  Well, a M.A.P. is a handout that I have. We have some of them out on the table in the Gathering Hall. You can also go to wildwoodchurch.org/serve and download it. [ It is also available below at the end of this transcription] It’s just a little plan to help you work through everything we’ve done in this series. It has a place where you can unwrap your gift and you can fill in a couple of blanks. Where you can monitor your heartbeat, fill in a couple of blanks. Where you can add in your abilities and then plug in your personality, fill in a couple of blanks. Then, letter “E,” embrace your life experiences and you can fill that out. Then, the idea is to transfer the blanks onto a piece of paper, and then we have a bunch of questions that we want you to prayerfully ask before the Lord. This is just a way to help you further apply what we’ve been covering this whole time.

So, number one, Fill out your M.A.P. Number two, I would say, Get

Creative. Get creative when it comes to how God wants to use you to serve others. Allow yourself to think a little creatively. You know Ken and Aaron are both really good mechanics, but that’s not their job. During the week Ken manages an appliance department in a large chain store and Aaron carries on his insurance business. Both are married guys, with nearly grown children, but here’s the way they got creative. The first Saturday of every month they schedule simple auto repair and auto care for single moms, senior citizens, and other people who are financially pressed. They only charge for the oil and any parts and Ken and Aaron consider this their burden and their passion, and they believe it is a calling from God. They got a little creative.

I read about another group of people in a church who all had the gift of giving and they decided to get together and they started a little fellowship that they called Salt Shakers. What would happen is, various people in their church who had needs would get checks in the mail, maybe $50, maybe $75, maybe $100-$200, any amount that would help them in their situation. As they got that mailed to them, the return address would only say Salt Shakers. Some people who wanted to minister their gift to those who had need.

As we get creative some of us might think:  you know what, I only have a little ministry idea. I want to read you a quote from that famous guy – anonymous. Have you ever noticed how many wonderful quotes anonymous has? Here is one of the things he said, he said, “Find out what God would have you do. Perform that service well. For what is great and what is small, only God can tell.” So, don’t be discouraged!

Then, the third thing that I would say is, to Aim for your “sweet spot.” You know, if you’ve ever played tennis you want to hit the ball in the sweet spot of the racquet. So, aim for your sweet spot where it seems like you’re best designed to serve.

I still want to remind you that we still have to change diapers; there’s still messes that need to be cleaned up and no one feels like: I have the gift of diaper changing. I remember one Sunday before we had our cleaning crew present with us on Sunday mornings and Mark was preaching. So, I was wandering around in the hallways during one of those services and someone came up and said, Oh my goodness, the toddler toilet has completely overflowed! Everybody who was teaching was busy, who is going to clean it up? So, that is what I went and did. I cleaned up the toddler toilet and it wasn’t a very pretty sight. Trust me on that. Sometimes we have to do those kinds of things.

Aim for your sweet spot. By the way, don’t get paralyzed waiting for the perfect fit. But aim for that. By the way, if you haven’t taken one of those yellow cards and filled it out, I would encourage you to fill that out, just showing your interest in serving. We’ve had more than fifty of them already filled out. We’ve got more opportunities to serve so, if you haven’t done that, fill it out and put it in one of the buckets that are at the doors as you leave. Also, check out the Children’s Ministry wall out there. We’ve got other opportunities for you to lead and to serve in ministry.

As we close, I simply want us to look at these words from Colossians 3, verses 23 and 24. “Whatever you do, keep working at it with all your heart, as for the Lord and not for people, because you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. Keep serving the Lord Jesus Christ.” Let’s do that together, alright? Let’s keep serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s bow in prayer together. Father, we thank You so much for the Word of God. I’m so excited, this is a living book, a living book that we hold in our hands. What a privilege it is to open it up and to see parts of the way that You have planned to use us in life, because You have divinely designed us to serve. May we be men and women, young people, even our children will understand that they have a call to serve You and to serve others. We pray that You will be honored as we do that, and we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Questions for Reflection

Divinely Designed to Serve

Experiences (Part five)

1. Bruce mentioned that camels are divinely designed by God for a specific environment. Have you seen a camel up close?  Every ridden one?  Ever touched one?  Ever smelled one? Share.

2. Bruce stated that our life experiences are often overlooked or discounted when it comes to understanding they are part of God’s plan to S.H.A.P.E. us for ministry to others.  Why do you think that is?

3. We looked from the life of Paul at both a positive experience and some painful experiences that God used in designing Paul for ministry to others. What positive life experiences has God used in your life?  What painful experiences has He used? 

4.When we encounter a painful life experience, we face the choice of being engulfed in self-pity OR embracing it as sacred scar.  Can you identify a “sacred scar” in your life?  Elaborate.

5. A life principle to ponder: “Often the most effective ministry will flow out of our most difficult experience.”  Why is that?

6. Do you know anyone who turned a painful life experience into a catalyst to serve others?

    Explain some about it.

7. Is there a particular ministry/serving dream you’ve had…one where you wish you could someday serve others that way?  Elaborate.  What obstacles are keeping you from being able to serve in that way now?

8. I (Bruce) ran across an interesting phrase recently.  In Acts 13:36 it says, “David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers.” You know, one day all of us will “fall asleep and be laid with our fathers.”  The key question for each of us is: how effective will I be in serving His purposes for me in my generation?  Pray that God will strengthen you, give you wisdom, and effectively use you for His glory!

M·A·P

Ministry Assessment Plan

I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. 1 Cor. 9:26  (HCSB)

M.A.P. is a tool to help you compile, process, and summarize your unique personal resources

that God has provided to serve Him and others.

Share this process with a trusted friend(s) who knows you, who will affirm and encourage you, champion and cheer for you, and will pray for you!

Unwrap Your Gift  

S –

Spiritual Gift: A special Spirit-given ability to serve God and others.  
  • My top 2 Spiritual Gifts are 

1.  ________________________       2.  _________________________

  • Two ways I could use my gifts to serve others

1.  ________________________       2.  _________________________

[Note: for help take the Spiritual Gift Indicator for the 9 Consensus Gifts – available at wildwoodchurch.org/serve]

Monitor Your Heartbeat  

H –

Heart passion:  what you care deeply about…what touches, motivates, invigorates, and energizes you (could be people groups, causes, etc)  
  • What hopes, dreams, and ideas do you have about serving God and others? (List top 2)

1.  ________________________       2.  _________________________

  • I would love for God to use me to _________________________________
Add in Your Abilities  

A –

  • What natural abilities has God given you?  (List)
  • What acquired abilities and skills has God allowed you to cultivate?  (List)
  • What are your 2 top abilities?

1.  ________________________       2.  _________________________

Plug In Your Personality  

P –

Personality: a composite of characteristics that make up an individual.   

See the Personality Contrast Handout for some insights [available at wildwoodchurch.org/serve]

  • What 2 steps could you take in the next year to allow your personality to shine for God’s glory?

1.  ________________________       2.  _________________________

Embrace Your Life Experiences  

E –

            List:

                        Job experiences –

                        Family experiences –

                        Ministry experiences –

                        Personal experiences –

(What positive and painful experiences stand out that could be helpful to others?)

            What would you say are the 2 most impactful experiences you’ve had?

1.  ________________________       2.  _________________________

Transfer and compile the answers from all the above blanks below:

         *** Note: sometimes life circumstances force us to adjust HOW we serve, but that’s OK!

                You can still serve in a way that fits your life situation and your S-H-A-P-E***

Meditation questions (as you ponder the answers above):

            What aspects of serving God and others interest you most?

            What creative ideas about serving others appeal to you?

            What kind of ministry activity would you love to be doing in three years?

            What obstacles are hindering you from doing that now?

When it comes to God using me to serve Him and others

I dream of/about _________________

            What areas of spiritual growth or training should you pursue?

Follow where your M.A.P. leads you!

(Ephesians 2:10)

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