These days, it seems that we are offended by many things. On social media, it doesn’t take a whole lot to trigger a negative reaction; hence the phrase, “I’m triggered!” I’ve seen this phenomenon in action, nearly 10 years ago in a YouTube video. I felt sorry for the YouTuber because it clearly was not intentional. The poor soul got hit with a fiery storm of criticism.
You may think such severe reactions can’t possibly happen in a church. If so, you would be in for a shock. Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. I have been watching a couple of YouTube videos on the topic of offenses in the local church. I’d like to share my own perspective, as it may be of help to you. Yes, I’ve had moments where I could have reacted negatively to situations but chose a different path.
Have you ever asked your pastor, “How do you see me, in what God is doing with the church?” Over time, I have asked this question of a couple of different pastors. Each believer has a unique set of gifts and calling from Jesus. Because the pastor is often seen as one having spiritual authority; it is perfectly natural to expect them to have an answer.
Years ago, the Holy Spirit provided an incredible vision of what Jesus is calling me, to do. At the time, I was struggling with insecurity and didn’t know what to do. So, I asked my pastor. The wise old gentleman said “I do not know. However, I’d suggest you pray and seek God.” Warren rightly pointed me, in the correct direction. We need to begin by seeking God’s instruction; not man’s interpretation.
Yes, he could have taken a guess. However, it may not be what my Father is actually calling me into. Besides, I needed to learn the fine art of listening to the Holy Spirit and trusting in God’s guiding me. Though the pastor does have a role to play; it’s not one of control. If you are in such a position of church leadership, I’d encourage you to say, “I don’t know. But, let’s pray and seek God on this. Shall we?”
You may be saying, “Okay, I have been faithful with what Jesus has told me. However, it is outside the four walls of my local church. I wish they’d be supportive!” In a sense, Christianity Explained and formerly Inspiration Point are a type of ministry? It’s a ministry that exists not in the real world; rather it’s on the Internet.
Keep in mind, my calling didn’t happen in a vacuum. The idea of YouTube, audio podcasting and a blog didn’t happen in a sudden download. Rather, it started with a vision. As it’s been pointed out, I needed to spend time before the LORD and spend time before God. He is quite capable of directing you in the way to go.
What if you don’t have a vision? I know of many Christians who don’t have such things. Ever thought of volunteering at your church food pantry or helping out with the children’s ministry. Guess what? You don’t always have to know how to teach. You could also volunteer in a recovery ministry. Yes, there are many ways to serve.
Where am I going with this? How does it relate to the issue of church leaders not respecting your calling? For one thing, this tactic is a good way to find out what your gifts are. It can also serve as a way to discover your calling. The reverse is also true. This is just one reason to plant yourself in a church community.
Good church leadership can help you in finetuning this process of discovery. Of course, it will be done in the lens of the local body of believers. What about my ministry? It’s not like Christianity is your typical church ministry, it isn’t. I simply listened to a wise counsel given by a different elderly pastor of a Pentecostal church.
I needed to plant myself in a church community. By doing this, I can both receive nourishment from other believers and nourish my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am so glad that Mark was obedient to what the Holy Spirit told him, to say. Because I listened, I was blessed by helpful leaders in my current home church.
Does this mean everything was perfect? Encontrar mi capitan! Mistakes have been made and it’s perfectly okay! How can I be so relaxed? It’s because church leaders are wonderfully flawed human beings that are trying to do their best. Yes, we do blow it, sometimes. Yes, I am including myself; even though I’m not in church leadership.
In many ways, my home church has been quite helpful in terms of the inner healing ministries offered by Shore Life Church. It also helps to develop a relationship through participation in the prayer ministry. This ministry has proven helpful in many ways, both expected and unexpected. Do you recall the tip that I mentioned earlier? It’s the one about volunteering.
As for my personal calling, I am the only one responsible for it. It’s my responsibility to connect with the right people. I did not start out knowing how to create YouTube videos or write blog posts. I had to take the time and learn from knowledgeable sources. Yes, I had some unexpected circumstances happen; however, I needed to take responsibility for how I handle things.
Last year, a friend and pastor of my church gave an interesting prophetic word. I happened to be wearing a jacket with the name “Calvin Klein” on the back of it. My friend said “I am seeing the word, ‘Seriously’ written on the back of that jacket.” It is a true word and I can attest to it.
For when I took seriously the job of content creator; things began to move forward. As I took each step of faith, a growing sense of confidence came into my heart. Of course, I will make mistakes. Yes, I will learn and grow.
Were you expecting a traditional blog post about overcoming offense? I’ve a question for you. Do you think that I could have managed if I got easily offended? Do you suppose that I could have made such progress if I spent my time getting triggered by passing offenses? The obvious answer is “No”.
If I did feel hurt then I simply learned to forgive others and surrender the offense to God, Almighty. I have even gone so far as to ask for Jesus’ help in dealing with the offense. Sometimes, I felt prompted to go and talk to the offending party. Do not be afraid to ask Jesus for help with this!