When I was doing youth ministry in the early 90’s, we were always looking for good volunteers who could connect with students. We wanted to give students an opportunity to have other significant adult influences in addition to their parents. One time a college student called me from one of the local Christian colleges and said he was majoring in youth ministry, and he needed a church to volunteer so he could earn credits and get some experience. I thought that was great. Someone is calling me instead of me pursuing them. That was a nice change. I told him to come to our outreach meeting that next Wednesday so he could see what we do and meet some people. I got off the phone and envisioned this cool, hip college student that the students would immediately be drawn to, and he would build relationships with students and have a great ministry. I was fired up.
Well, he came that next Wednesday and he wasn’t anything like I envisioned. He was shy – a complete wall flower. He didn’t talk to many people and the high school kids just seemed to ignore him. He didn’t initiate any conversations and he didn’t jump in and participate in any of the activities. After the evening, I was discouraged because I thought he wouldn’t be able to work with high school students. He wouldn’t be able to relate to them or pursue them. It wouldn’t be a good fit at all. I had a meeting with him the next day and I wasn’t sure what I was going to tell him, but I felt like I needed to be honest about the fact that he would not fit in our ministry.
We got together the next day and I wasn’t looking forward to our talk. But before we could even get into anything serious, he shared: “I’m not very good with people. I’m not very outgoing. I tend to be very shy, and it takes me a long time to build relationships. But I am good with computers. I love to organize data and put that data into something that is useable. And I noticed that when you guys are in your team meetings you take attendance. It also seemed to me that you were doing it all by hand. I think I could help you computerize that attendance. This would help the team leaders so they could follow up with kids who weren’t there and connect with the new kids who attended.” He identified an exact area where we were weak, and we needed some help. I was blown away. I didn’t know what to say. After I got over my initial shock, I asked him more questions and we worked out a plan for him to get started right away. After he left my office, all I could think about was how wrong I had been. I strongly felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and how my attitude and thoughts toward this man were arrogant and completely inappropriate. I had assumed that because this young man didn’t have the right gifts, that he couldn’t help us in the ministry. I was wrong and the Holy Spirit pointed that out in dramatic fashion. That day became a defining moment in my ministry because the Holy Spirit developed in me a conviction that everybody has a place in ministry, and everyone can contribute to the body of Christ.
We are talking about spiritual gifts and where people can serve and contribute in the church to building God’s kingdom. What about you? Do you know your gifts? Are you serving in areas that are using your gifts? Everybody has a place to serve and be significant in God’s kingdom.