“I just can’t wait for the opportunity to show the world what I have to offer.”
As a staff member at one of the fastest growing churches in the country, Mill City Church, located in heart of a campus with 30,000 students at Colorado State University; I often cross paths with men and women discovering what means to be contributing young professionals.
At some point in our conversations, we’ll often land at some unique version of this aforementioned statement. And while the age of 25 undoubtedly classifies me as a “20-something,” I have been blessed enough to be heavily involved in a number of successful start-ups. Thus, frequently prompting some form of the question, “What did you do to get where you are today?”
I have since realized the root of this question is perhaps more interested in getting immediate answers that will catalyze the success of the world’s latest college graduate than it is interested in actually hearing my story. I feel it is necessary to disclose that although my discovery of such a realization does not upset me, it has led me to respond by clearly stating that I do not have any secret formula that will administer success to the next receptive learner.
That being said, I have spent time reflecting on some of the principles I was taught that aided my arrival of life as I know it today. While these principles are not in the form of a recipe, my hope is that these will be helpful tools in discovering our purposes together.
1. We don’t need permission to pursue opportunity.
For some reason we’ve been groomed to believe that we are not allowed to chase our dreams until someone has validated our credibility in the pursuit of a particular passion. What if I were to tell you that credibility and opportunity were less independent than we’ve come to believe? See, credibility is only given to those who have seized an opportunity; and opportunity is continually given to those who uphold credibility. Rather than perceiving their relationship as a linear chain of events, we must change our perspective to a circular motion that either progresses or regresses with momentum.
2. Titles do not define performance; performance defines a title.
Oftentimes we can find ourselves withholding performance outside of our clearly defined titles. I mentioned earlier that I am on staff at Mill City Church. My official title is Associate Worship Director and LIFE Director. I am currently in the process of becoming licensed as a pastor by Mill City. In my discussions with our lead pastor about being considered a pastor, I quickly realized my title is more determined by what I am already doing than what I am going to do. In other words, if I have to wait to pastor people until I am licensed as a pastor then I am hardly a pastor at all. Thus my decision to become licensed as a pastor stems from the fact that I am already pastoring people. Oh, and it looks better for the IRS ;)
Our titles are moot if our performance becomes dependent on them.
3. Talk less about what we have to offer and more about what we have yet to learn.
We all know what we’re good at but it is much harder for us to recognize our own deficiencies. I would strongly urge all of us to seek out wisdom from individuals who have been doing life longer than we have. By the same token, I would strongly recommend that our pursuit of wisdom does not transform into a narcissistic discussion of everything we are already capable of. There will always be more power in asking a question then there will ever be in giving a perfect answer.
Eugene Peterson said,
“All the persons of faith I know are sinners, doubters, uneven performers. We are secure not because we are sure of ourselves but because we trust that God is sure of us.”
At the end of the day all that we are, and all that we will become, is the result of God’s gracious love and purpose for our lives. Remember that we did nothing to earn His love for us; neither did we earn the right to be called His Sons and Daughters. Therefore nothing we succeed in or fail at will define our place in His heart.
Enjoy the ride.