What is That One Best Thing?
In 2000 I read a book titled Calling. Perhaps my greatest take-away from that reading was a question: If there were no obstacles or barriers in front of you what one thing would you be doing for God? In other words if there were no financial or geographical barriers, if you had no physical limitations and no time constraints, how would you spend your life serving God? It is a great question, isn’t it? I began asking it to people from that point on. So, let me ask you to consider it as well; If there were no barriers or obstacles in front of you, what is the one thing you would be doing for God?
In the book Reaching the Summit: Avoiding and Reversing Decline in the Church I reworded the question to assist churches in searching out the one thing their church could do better than anyone else. Like individuals, I believe every church has one thing they can do, one ministry they can engage in, better than the government, schools systems, better than any other civic or religious entity. In the book and working with churches I give some ideas on how to narrow the prospects down to one – what one thing can we do better than anyone else?
Working with various churches I have had churches begin partnerships with a particular school, people group, community ministry, community leaders or health professionals. In a recent meeting I had a member of a church (Reaching the Summit) health team state (after they had studied and discussed at length the possibilities); “We believe we can love others authentically.” That sounds pretty abstract and broad based so I followed with a question, as I often do. I asked the team from the church to explain that concept to me because I viewed it as very broad. I insisted that every person on the health team give me a reasonable support for how this was to be manifested and how they would be able to continue to lead and equip the entire church (today and future members) to live it and manifest it as the one best thing their church could do.
Somewhat surprisingly, the members shared of ongoing and one-time occasions where this was actually being manifested through their lives and the lives of others in their church. I began the last sentence with “Somewhat surprisingly” because we know the church is a friendly and loving church. However, every church I have ever been in believes they are a friendly church – and most are, at least among themselves.
This particular church is a young church with mostly young families and was located on the town square of about a 20,000 member community until November of last year when they moved out to a rural site about 7 miles north of the town. In that time they have doubled in size (not in the city but away from the populated area)). They were not a large church. They were not a wealthy church. But they are a loving church. They have decided the one thing they can do better than anyone else is Love Others Authentically. And they are proving they can. One way to see that this is being manifested is by the growing attendance in five months from averaging 55 in the city, to 107 in a rural setting.
In conversations with individuals and in meetings with church health teams, I ask a follow up question. When I ask the initial question’ If there were no barriers or obstacles in front of you, what is the one thing you would be doing for God? I wait for a response. After the person(s) respond, I ask, “Why aren’t you doing it? If God is as big as we say He is and as powerful as we say, Isn’t He capable of removing any barriers in our way?” God’s Calling on your life is to carry out His desire through the passion He has given you using the skills, gifts, and abilities with which you have been blessed. So what is that One Best Thing?