Giving the True You to Your Community
Who are you? Ok, who are you really? More than that, are you giving the true you to your community? Parker Palmer in Let Your Life Speak describes vocation as ... “at it’s deepest level is, ‘This is something I can’t not do, for reasons I’m unable to explain to anyone else and don’t fully understand myself but that are nonetheless compelling.” You see, vocation is like a magnetic pull. It is like birds migrating from Canada, down through the San Pedro River Valley in Arizona, to Central America. We don’t know why or how birds know how to do this, but they do. There’s something hard-wired within that compels and draws them south for the winter. Vocation is a lot like that.
For inexplicable reasons we simply gravitate towards some things and away from most others. I love learning, reading, writing, and teaching. It is no wonder why I love academia and am a professor on the side. It is an intrinsic pull. The same goes with creating, launching new ventures, and the like which fits perfect in the realm of church planting. What energizes me is creating strategies and mobilizing planters for places that are off the beaten path. I want to see churches planted in all of the hinterlands. The places where most church planters shy away from. That comes from my love for obscurity and anonymity and why I love and follow small-college football. Given a choice I’d rather go to a football game to see Western New Mexico University in Silver City, NM than watch the Oregon Ducks or USC Trojans.
The fear is that we live out someone else’s vocation. Maybe our parents suggested we go to Law school, become a doctor, take over the architectural firm, pursue a career as a high school teacher, or follow in your Dad’s footsteps to be a senior pastor. But who are you? What gives your soul life and nourishment when it comes to doing things you love and potential careers? The foundational premise is that first of all you need to be honest with yourself. Stop living other people’s lives.
Palmer writes, “What a long time it can take to become the person one has always been! How often in the process we mask ourselves in faces that are not our own. How much dissolving and shaking of ego we must enduro before we discover our deep identity––the true self within every human being that is the seed of authentic vocation.” I’ve worn other people’s masks too long. I know who I am. I know what I love. I know what I am not. I am more than ever freed up to simply be me living the life God has called me to and wired and gifted me for. How about you?
This is the epicenter of church planting and social entrepreneurialism (and Intrepid). The authentic you is a gift to the community you’re seeking to love, live out the gospel before, and share the gospel with. While all of our primary vocation or calling is to God and to live for him, our secondary vocation is live the life God has hard-wired and gifted us for. When you do that in conjunction with church planting you give your whole self to you community.