Have you ever considered what your best gift in ministry is? If you were to give the very best of yourself to God’s work in the world, what would that look like?
I am guessing that you are a very gifted person. After all, you are reading this, so you know how to read and can use a computer. But your gifting probably extends well beyond that. You might be super organized, or a gifted strategist. You might be a natural relational leader, or a visionary. You may have super specialized skills honed over years. Maybe you are great with kids or have a compassionate spirit that draws people to you for healing. Whatever your particular make-up, what would be the best gift you could give to the church?
Like you, the staff members of Summit Church are very talented. I am privileged to work alongside some of the brightest most competent people I know. I get to see an amazing level of focus and commitment from the team and am humbled and inspired to work alongside them. However, whatever the diversity of their gifting or scope of responsibility, we all have one thing in common. We all share the same answer to the question, “What is the very best gift you can give to the work of God through His church?”
That gift is our own individual commitment to personal holiness.
That simple truth, that the very best gift we can give to the church is our own commitment to personal holiness, has been a mantra on our staff for years and informs how we enter every new year. Every year, we get together as a staff, and in small groups share our personal holiness plans. We believe that if we are intentional to use professional reviews to assess how our skills are being put to use in moving forward the Vision of Summit, then we should be at least as intentional in assessing what personal holiness looks like. So we share those plans, pray for each other, and some of those small groups even commit to meet regularly through the year in order to keep focus and prayer.
So what is personal holiness? First, it is not self-righteousness, and plans for personal holiness should not look like a restating of the Old Testament Law. Rather, personal holiness is the humble and intentional pursuit of Jesus reflected in all arenas of one’s life. The pursuit of personal holiness is not a list of what we have to offer God, but rather an invitation for God to inform and transform every corner of our lives.
If we do that, if we pursue Jesus with our lives and leave nothing in our lives exempt from surrender to Him, then God can and will do amazing things in and through us. Conversely, if we are the most talented, educated, and experienced people in the world, but do not have a renewing commitment to personal holiness, then all those skills and gifts we have to offer are diminished. When that happens, we suffer and the church suffers. No amount of gifting can compensate for a lack of personal commitment to pursue personal holiness.
How we develop our personal holiness plans varies, after all it is a personal plan, but I’ll share with you the template I have used and refined over the years.
Personal Mission Statement: A simple statement that gives the big picture of what personal holiness looks like. This statement remains fairly constant over the years. (Mine: To pursue Christ first, above all other things, and in that, to let the work of God shape my mind, body, and soul so that His will for me—to be the best Husband, Father, and Worker that I can be— will be more fully lived out for His glory and the sake of others.)
Arenas of life: In each of these headings I will write the 1-3 things that will open me up to transformation or practically allow me to be a reflection of God’s love to the world around me.
Devotional (Spiritual disciplines, etc.)
Moral (Is there any area of unrepentant sin, a habitual failing, or a spiritual distraction?)
Family (How do I best serve and love my family in a way that honors them and reminds them of God’s love for them?)
Vocation (What specific work practices will best allow me to be a reflection of Godly character in the workplace?)
Physical/Mental/Emotional (What does physical/mental/emotional health look like, remembering that the body is not divorced from the spirit?)
Relational (Who do I need and who needs me in order to better engage in spiritual transformation?)
I would invite you to approach your pursuit of personal holiness with this same perspective and intentionality. After all, the best gift you can give Summit, whatever your skills may be, is to follow Jesus well. We need you, and the world needs you to be at your best, and that is only possible when Jesus is at the helm of our everyday lives.