Standing in the gap instead of just filling one.
That's what it has been like serving since I have discovered my spritual gifts and matched them with skills and ministry passions. My ministry leader always talks about us standing in the gap, being intercessors, not just in prayer but being the flesh for Jesus' love to the people that come through our ministry doors. Our Church calls it serving in your sweet spot, and it is indeed very sweet.
Previously I served out of need and sometimes I was able to select where I served based on a perceived passion (not the same as a ministry passion), but I never felt like I was fulfilling MY purpose, I felt what I did anyone could do, I was just a plug filling a hole. I could have been a square peg in a round hole or a small plug for a large hole, but all that seemed to matter at the time was that I was a body in a place that a body needed to be.
I have never felt so burning with desire to give and give and give some more! I have really loved being a mentor/facilitator in our recovery courses we've offered (Changes That Heal & Boundaries), I hardly felt like I was the leader, I got so much out of the conversations with my group, but I also know my mentorship played a part because I was asked for further one-on-one advice (which is where I think I shine the most) and it just felt so amazing.
But this is just the beginning. After Sean took the spiritual gifts course as well we started talking, and boy are there a lot of areas we would like to serve in! Sean has already jumped in head first into serving in (and moving towards leading) the ministry of volunteer placement, including facilitating the spiritual gifts course. I think we may someday lean towards being marriage mentors, although I have a feeling Sean wants more years under the marriage belt before we do that. We both seem to have a heart for the ministry our Church is trying to grow in Shamattawa. And we both have a passion for financial ministry.
We both have a strong desire to help people who are struggling with financial basics, making the right decisions about money. We both feel Church is a great place to teach principles affecting finances, that stewardship is stressed in the Bible and learning what faithful stewardship looks like in our budgets is an important step in following Christ. I'm taking babysteps towards this even now, looking into material on the subject our Church already has, researching other Christian authors on the subject, etc. There may even be an opportunity to learn more by mentoring a table at a 12 step recovery program our Church hopes to launch (note: not create a program, launch one that already exists). That may seem like a strange route but the program focuses on more than just addictive behaviour, it also covers compulsive and dysfunctional behavior and is set up to address things such as finances as well.
So, God is certainly keeping us busy. "Purpose Driven Life" has never had more meaning to us than now, and purpose is something both of us have been bordering on desperate for. Our patience most certainly has been tested to get to this point, but now that we are here our ambition is soaring and the peace is beginning to pour in. Praise the Lord.