Saturday, November 06, 2010

Using What God Has Given You

Several decades ago, author and humorist Grady Nutt wrote a book entitled God Don’t Make No Junk. As I remember, the premise of the book was that God has created each of us as unique beings endowed with certain innate abilities, strengths, and gifts. No one gets all the good stuff, but that’s not a problem. We should celebrate what God has done in us and use it wisely.

I think of Grady Nutt when I read Albert Winseman’s Growing an Engaged Church. Winseman is part of the Gallup Organization, a group that has done a great deal of research on helping people identify their strengths rather than their weaknesses (see, for example, Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, Now, Discover Your Strengths and Tom Rath, Strengths Based Leadership and Strengths Finder 2.0).

In Growing an Engaged Church, Winseman applies this approach to the local congregation. He writes, “The notion of focusing on discovery and maximizing natural talents tends to go against the conventional wisdom.” He points out that their research “has shown that individuals have the most room for growth in their areas of greatest talent.” He suggests that strengths-focused organizations should leverage that principle as much as possible.

This makes good sense to me. If we are already started down a path that God has honored, the best course would seem to be to continue to follow that path. On the other hand, if we are on the wrong road, we will eventually realize our error and try another one (or even stop and ask for directions!). Let’s look for ways to maximize the resources that God has already provided rather than yearning for something that is beyond our reach.

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