Starting something new…

Have you ever found yourself questioning whether God wants to use you in a particular way? I think we all have. Or is it that I just continually do that over and over? In the past, I have questioned whether God wanted to use me as a youth pastor. I’ve wondered whether God wanted to use me in full-time ministry. I’ve questioned if I could be used by God through preaching, as an evangelist or some other speaking ministry. I’ve wondered how God could use me to plant a church, multiple house churches, or even a house church network. I’ve questioned if I’ve done the right thing by volunteering my ministry and found a new way to fund my family’s life while serving both through my career in meeting practical needs and being a witness and outside of my career both in a local church and possibly through a parachurch ministry.

A bit more than a year ago, I felt a movement of God in my life to create spiritual community where the Body of Christ functioned fully, crossed racial barriers, and empowered women to lead equally with men. We ventured into that, recruiting others to join us, focusing on individuals that weren’t currently attending church, were between churches, were new to the community or helped us cross racial barriers. We moved forward with 8 adults and 8 kids. Meetings were regular. God was speaking to me. Others seemed to be growing. Then, over time, it became more and more difficult for us to meet regularly. Was this the community God called me to create? I don’t know.

Meanwhile, God led my entire family to begin attending a new church on Sunday mornings. It’s been really good for us. We’ve been encouraged. The music is fire (as the kids say.) They seem like our kind of people, but we’ve found it difficult to develop any new friendships. After talking with the campus pastors, we decided to start a small group. Yet, we still had this previous ministry meeting in our home that God had helped us create. It had waned, but not gone away. There was still some life, but it needed reignited and fanned.

I began praying about this and asked God if we should be doing both or possibly combine them. I questioned God. I questioned those involved. They seemed open to combining both groups and I followed God’s direction to do so. We’ve met a few times, but attendance has been a bit sporadic by those who said they were interested. God, is this how you want to use me?

Also, meanwhile, I’ve been wondering if this new type group we had been creating was meant to be of the parachurch variety and if so, what does that mean for this group. I’ve been thinking a lot about how God has gifted me and how I can use those gifts to best serve his Kingdom. For some time, I’ve been told I have a gift of writing, yet I haven’t really used this gift much except to prepare a sermon or small group discussion. I’ve been wondering if I haven’t really been using this gift enough. Should I become an author of books? Should I write for some other publication? God, is this how you want to use me?

I have no issues serving God. Point me in a direction and I’m there. Recently, at our new church, I was challenged to make a difference by discipling through a one-on-one format. Much of my ministry life, I’ve been passionate about making disciples as being way more important than just making converts. I had plenty of experience with the latter in my youth ministry days. I was always very passionate about the fact that there was more to life than just becoming a convert, that we must become true followers of Jesus. Unfortunately, I honestly did very little to make that happen beyond my next youth group sermon or retreat plans. I was making disciples in a factory type setting, a modern way of making disciples. They all got the same teaching by me and my system. This new church had given me a very practical way of making disciples through one-on-one relational meetings covering 10 pre-packaged lessons. My first step was to go through it myself with the leader of this ministry. God, is this how you want to use me?

I love one-on-one ministry. For close to twenty years, I have met with a prayer/accountability partner (about 7 or 8 different partners) discussing my life of sin, how to be free of it and praying God will forgive me and deliver me. He has! And he continues to every week. This, however was helping a new or renewed believer through ten sessions to help them get a firm foundation in their faith. This, I could do. In fact, as recently as this morning, I finished taking my first friend through the ten week course. God, is this how you want to use me?

At this point, you might be asking yourself, did ya figure out yet how God wants to use you??? Yes, and no. I definitely believe God is using me daily in my career at Springfield High as a School Counselor. I am making an impact in students’ lives meeting practical needs that can change our community both now and in the future. I meet regularly with my own prayer partner(s). My wife & I have recently started a new shared leadership position at an after school ministry. Yet, I know there is more. I believe there is more I can do within our local church. There is more I can do in the Body of Christ. The question I’m asking myself is, “is it through writing?” My initial guess is yes, in part, due to the fact that since I started this blog about an hour ago, my finger has been feverishly, non-stop typing on my iPhone creating this entry. Non-stop. I’m not sure how “gifted” I am by it yet, but if you read this far, I must be doing something right (that was intentional đŸ˜‚.) Can you use emojis in your blog? I know I have a bit to learn, but not only is this pretty natural for me now, it is also fairly therapeutic in its own right (there I go again.) God, is this how you want to use me?

As I close, I challenge you to start asking yourself this question if you haven’t been. God does want to use you. He is furthering his Kingdom in this world and he is using his people to do it. He doesn’t have to. After all he did a pretty great job on the world and universe all by himself. But he chooses to use his people to further his Kingdom. In fact, the Bible is full of these people from beginning to end. Most of them were pretty inadequate people, yet God used them anyway. In fact, the more inadequate and the more they knew it, the better. It’s time to start asking yourself, better yet asking God, is this how you want to use me?

Published by Shawn D. Congleton

traveler, writer, lover of God, thinker, family dude, in no particular order

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