Why don’t more people step into Church leadership?

One of my favorite things I get to do to serve the church is leading our young adult ministry. It’s not a large group of people but it’s growing in number, and in its effectiveness, and it keeps me thinking young. We are in the middle of a study called “Identity: Image Bearers of the King”. We have been looking at how God has created us to be His ambassadors on earth while we await His return.

Our most recent study was on the “Office Gifts” from Ephesians 4:7-11. This particular night I noted two things that our young adults seemed to have never been taught from this passage. The first came from verse 7, many people when they teach on the “Office Gifts” start on verse 11 completely missing this part. “Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift (CSV). “Each one of us” is a key to understanding this passage. Every person who is a follower of Jesus Christ has been given an office in the church. This doesn’t mean that we are all hired by the church or that we have equal authority. It does mean that we are all capable of carrying a portion of the burden that is caring for the Church.

The second new piece of information to many of our young adults seemed to come from verse 11, ” And He Himself gave aron-320023-unsplashsome to be… (CSV)“. He, here referring to Jesus, gave each one of us to be gifts to the church. You are the gift! Each member of the body is a gift to the church! What would happen if every person actually believed that they had a part to play in the church? And, what if they had a roll in “equipping the saints for the work of ministry”? Verse 12 tells us that the goal of these gifts is that we all might “reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son”.

When so many in our faith communities have never been told that they are a gift to the Church, is it any wonder that we haven’t grown into maturity? Is it any wonder that the Church is so fractured? That’s the point of this entire passage, we are all meant to be one, to function in a manner where we all support each other.

So why don’t more people step into Church leadership? I’m sure there are many reasons, but I think an easy one to address is that so many have never been told that they are a gift to the Church, that they are an important part, and that if they aren’t there we are missing something.


While I receive great joy from working with our college and twenties at my local church, my full-time job is with Envision Atlanta.  I run oversee our Bussiness Development Team where we create and maintain businesses that function as discipleship platforms.  Each member of Envision Atlanta raises their own support.  If you would like to find out more about what our site does or my role with the team, please email me at brianvalois@gmail.com.  If you would like to help support me financially, please follow this link.

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T-Shirt Theology

As I was going through my t-shirts the other day and I noticed one I hadn’t wore in a while.  My “W’s” t-shirt.  Now if you don’t know who the “W’s” are, you missed out.  They were a ska/swing band back in the late ‘90’s when Christian ska was at its height with the Supertones and Five Iron Frenzy.  But that’s not the point of the story.  I remember exactly where I was when I got this t-shirt.  It was a Christian music festival called Kingdom Bound held at Six Flags Over Darien Lake.  I haven’t been there since 2000.  That makes this t-shirt at least 17 years only.  That’s absolutely incredible to me.  I’ve worn this shirt to the beach, played soccer

Brian W's Shirt
 

18 year old Brian wearing what is now almost an 18 year old “W’s” shirt

 

and basketball in it, I’ve worn it to class, worn it on dates, and probably used it to clean up a mess or two.  The screen print is starting to fade and peal, it’s not quite as soft as it once was, but it’s still wearable and it doesn’t have a single hole (other than the neck, arms, and waiste)!

It’s got me thinking, why do so few things hold up?  Why is it so hard to create things that last?  People spend lifetimes building what won’t last.  Mass fortunes are squandered in a generation.  Companies are mismanaged and fall into bankruptcy.  I don’t know about you but I have a burden to build something that will last.

1 Corinthians 3 says:

“9 For we are God’s coworkers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to God’s grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. 14 If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward.”

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A still very wearable “W’s” shirt 17 years later

 

I read a lot of hope into this passage.  The God of all creation, who created you and me in his image, has called us coworkers and called us to build and create as he pours out his Spirit on us.  But again, how do we know it’s something that will last and not just another heap of garbage?  We start with the foundation of Jesus and we choose our materials wisely.  The way to build something that will last is through Jesus, isn’t that why he told us to pray “Your Kingdom come, your will be done?  Then on top of that foundation you build with things that hold up against the fire like truth, justice, and wisdom.

 

Go out and get building the Kingdom!

 

 

 

As an Envision Missionary I raise my own support in order to do the work I do.  I receive no salary unless people like yourself give.  envision-atlantaPlease consider giving being a partner with me by donating to the cause be it small or large, every bit helps.  Click here to discover how you can partner with me.

Proud to be a window cleaner

For much of my life I didn’t care what people thought of me.  At least that’s what I told myself.  I hid behind the “I don’t care what people think” mantra.  One day I woke up and realized that I did in fact care. I looked around me and saw people my age who had started businesses, started not-for-profits, and were pastoring churches.  It felt like I was way behind.  All that time of pretending and trying not to care had lead to inaction and wasted time.

My view of life began to change from where can I get pleasure to how can I become successful not realizing that success is just as much of a trap.  After all, what is success?  If left undefined success is just as much of a trap as pretending not to care can be.  If only I had realized that success is really just doing your best where you are.  Dollars shouldn’t define success, nor should titles or the car you drive.

I worked in a job I thought was beneath me for three and a half years, embarrassed when people would ask what I did for a job.  It took time to start to redefine what success was to me.  I had to decide to work above my pay grade, to always be adding more value that was asked of me.  I started listening to podcasts for people trying to develop themselves and trying to get out of my comfort zones.

Through some injected enthusiasm from my soon to be boss and support from my wife I ended up quitting that job.  I jumped in to a new position with a missions organization where I get to mix business and missions.  My first development is a window washing company.  I wouldn’t have always been able to say it, but I can today.  I am proud to be a window cleaner.  I’m proud because with some help I got to create a business that one day will employ people.  I’m proud because it’s a way to meet people out side of the church.  I’m proud because it’s a building block for whatever is coming next.  It’s not a job that’s beneath me it’s a job that can be as big as I want it to be.

At some point you have to decide that you aren’t afraid to be compared to the person next to you because we are all on different journeys.  That doesn’t mean we don’t look to others form inspiration and motivation.  It just means that you keep getting up and doing your best where you are and take a risk every now and then.

 

As an Envision Missionary I raise my own support in order to do the work I do.  I receive no salary unless people like yourself give.  Please consider giving be it small or large every bit helps.  I am currently looking for another 25 partners to give $25 a month to keep my work going. Click here to discover how you can partner with me.

Why I joined Envision

Like many Christians I lived nominally for many years, never sharing my faith for fear of offending someone.  I rarely opened my Bible and prayed only when I needed something.  God felt distant, far away, and uninterested in the everyday happenings of my life.

Things began to change back in 2012.  My wife and I were living near Pittsburgh and had a friend in Atlanta who was getting married.  We decided to make a week out of the trip rather then just a weekend.  My in-laws were speaking at a College of Prayer event so we attended that.  During one of the sessions there was a call for repentance and I felt I needed to repent for something that had happened to me when I was 14 and repent for the lies I had believed since then.  It was amazing; I encountered the presence of the Spirit in a way I had never before.  I felt free!  A half a life of living in shame was gone!

In the fall we moved to Atlanta so my wife could take a job as the children’s ministry director at a church.  The next spring we attended the same College of Prayer event and something amazing happened again.  There was a call for people who felt called into ministry, maybe for the first time to come forward and to be prayed for. My feet started moving before my head knew what was happening but as my mind caught up I knew I was in the right spot.  I didn’t know what ministry for me would look like but at that point it didn’t matter.

I spent the next three and a half years trying to figure out where I fit into ministry and even trying to figure out what ministry even was.  Eventually I began to realize that God had given me a heart to pastor but I didn’t know what that meant.  I  entered the licensing and ordination process with the Christian and Missionary Alliance.  I applied for a job at a local church and didn’t get it…then another, and another.  I didn’t get it, isn’t this what i was called to?  Why was my path running into dead ends if God had told me I was a pastor?  I began to pester my wife with questions about church.

“Why does outreach mean we are asking people to come in to church?”  “If being in church is so important, why are we so worried that people come to our church and not just happy they are going to a church?”  “If we believe that the gifts of the Spirit are for everyone, why aren’t we teaching people use them and giving place for them?”  “Why does the Bible talk so much about widows, orphans, poor, and foreigners so much but we don’t seem to talk about them in church?” And on and on and on…

What I didn’t realize was that God was relieving to me that His place for me wasn’t in a traditional role as a pastor but something different.  Enter Pete.  One day Pete Brokopp showed up at our church.  He had been scouting a town called Clarkston for a new Envision site.  I was part of a group invited to have dinner with him and he shared his vision with us.  As you may have guessed his vision was the answers to most of my questions.  Not only that but there was a position that looked like it was made just for me.  I get to use my business degree as a way to help our church planting goals.  I get to mentor and to help raise up leaders and to pass on what has been given to me.  What seemed like a dead end has become a new chapter in my life.  Please keep praying there is much work to be done!

 

 

As an Envision Missionary I raise my own support in order to do the work I do.  I receive no salary unless people like yourself give.  Please consider giving be it small or large every bit helps.  Click here to discover how you can partner with me.