You Are What You Do and What That Means for Church Planting


Ever heard the phrase “you are what you do?” It’s the idea that your actions and activities reveal more about who you are and what you’re about than necessarily what you say. Parker Palmer in his book Let Your Life Speak gets to the heart of the matter when he writes, “Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”

The idea is that much has already been written and hard-wired into our DNA … our personality, background and experiences, talents, passions, and interests. These all play an enormous shaping role in our lives and calling. I was reflecting this past week how in a sense I really am the same person I was in high school, even long before I met Christ. I was curious, creative, and always had multiple and often divergent interests. I played football, basketball, baseball and ran track. I was the president of the French club and the art club. Even in football I had to jump around between quarterback, running back, slot receiver, long snapper, safety, punt returner, and more. I’m not saying I was even the best at any of those things, but they reveal a bit of whom I was then and even who I am now. I have a lot of interests and hobbies … urban studies, urban planning, mountain biking, coffee roasting, starting businesses, community economic development, reading, traveling / exploring, etc.

That’s why I see church planting through the interpretive lens of doing what we’re interested in and passionate about. Meaning, if we’re hard-wired a certain way (and none of us chose our personalities or gifting) then why not run in them when church planting? What are you interested in? What are your hobbies and interests? If you cannot answer that outside of either “none” or they’re all ministry-related then this conversation is probably not for you. If you’re interested in gardening, quilting, roasting coffee, painting, advocacy work whether for the marginalized or for better mountain bike trails, reforestation projects, education, riparian restoration projects, photography, hospitality, or whatever … THIS IS HOW YOU PLANT A CHURCH.

Be you. Be the best version of you. You are uniquely wired and gifted a certain way … use it to see people discipled toward the Kingdom, for new churches planted, for tangible needs met, and more.

Ultimately, you are what you do. The question is … what do you do?