Giving can be such a sticky thing for people sometimes. And for those who have yet to take the dive into participating in giving financially in a church, we may often hear the reasoning, ?I just don?t have enough.? It?s easy for us to abstain from things under the guise of ?I don?t have enough.?
But one of the things we challenge our church, City Beautiful Church in Orlando, with is this: Give from what you have, not from what you don?t have. It?s the classic story of the widow?s mite?that elderly woman who gave her last bit of money, honoring God in faith.
But this article isn?t about giving financially. The point of this article is to ask this question on a broader scope.
Do you find your church not doing certain things because you?re focusing on what you don?t have? Or are you valuing what you do have and getting creative with it?
Our church just moved into a new space. After ten years of occupying other people?s buildings (and at one point being in five facilities within the course of one year), we finally moved into a space that is ours seven days a week.
There were certainly difficult things about moving around so much. But when we had the right perspective, we had the opportunity to get creative with what we had instead of seeing things through the lens of what we didn?t have. Each space provided new opportunities to cultivate a unique worship environment. Each room we met in had it?s own uniquenesses, allowing us to create worship experiences that fit the spaces.
At one point, we were meeting each Sunday at the Orange County Regional History Center in the heart of Downtown Orlando. And in front of the building was a beautiful park. So as Christmas rolled around, we gathered about two dozen of the performers in our church and created a beautiful finale to our worship gathering throughout the park using the multiple levels of fountains and concrete pilings. It was certainly an experience we couldn?t have created anywhere else, and it was beautiful.
But of course, it was easy for us to groan every time we had to push all of our audio gear from a trailer to a venue?again.
In the same way our venues provided us with unique opportunities, our church as a whole experiences this same reality. There are things we have and things we don?t have in every area?human resources, finances, facilities, experiences? The list goes on. And in the same way, we have the opportunity to focus on what we have or what we don?t have.
When we focus on what we don?t have, we shut off creativity. Asking ?what can we do with what we have? is the beginning of creativity.[quote]When we focus on what we don?t have, we shut off creativity.[/quote]
This is helpful in
- solving problems
- knowing your church?s identity
When we face problems as a team, our best leadership is to help our teams ask, ?How can we solve this problem with what we have?? The tendency is for us to take the easy road of despair, throw our hands up into the air, and say that we can?t solve the problem because of what we do not have. But when we?re willing to ask, ?What can we do with what we have,? new doors of creative thinking begin to open, and we can potentially encounter some miraculous situations.
Does the feeding of the 5000 ring any bells? The disciples were focused on what they didn?t have, so they had the perfectly good idea to send everyone away to get some dinner. But Jesus saw what they could do with what they did have?some bread, some fish, and the supernatural power of God.
Knowing what you have is also helpful when it comes to helping accentuate your congregation?s unique strengths. You may not be great in some areas (and you should probably keep working toward health in those areas), but your church most likely has a few really fantastic assets. I know for me, it?s much easier to keep my attention on the things that aren?t great and neglect the opportunity to build and refine our strengths. But it?s important to keep your eyes on both!
Don?t let your unique strengths fall apart because of neglect. Keep championing them toward even greater effectiveness.[quote]Don?t let your unique strengths fall apart because of neglect.[/quote]
So, I want to leave you with this challenge:
Ask yourself, ?What are our church?s unique strengths, and how can we use those to serve one another and the world in some creative ways this year??