Maximizing Your Christian Impact

I recently achieved a goal that for years seemed unreachable and just a dream. On February 23, as I celebrated the anniversary of Guyana, the country of my birth, becoming a Republic, I released my first book. My book baby was delivered to the world. 

I am thankful to God for his inspiration, orchestration, and provision. I am grateful for my parents and extended family for their nurturing, love, and support. I thank my pastor for his mentorship, motivation, and the many opportunities he has given me to develop and shine. My publishing consultant was a gift and knowledgeable guide. I thank each of you for your kindness, encouragement, and acceptance. Mere words cannot fully elucidate the joy that I feel.

The book is entitled Maximizing Impact: Success Strategies for Dynamic Nonprofits. It is part memoir, part nonprofit guidebook, part leadership handbook. In keeping with the impact theme, I prepared this blog that I first share as a message to Ferguson Memorial Baptist Church, entitled, Maximizing Christian Impact.

1.KNOW YOURSELF: KNOW WHOSE YOU ARE

For you to maximize your Christian impact, you must first know who you are and whose you are. You were fearfully and wonderfully made. You were created in the image and likeness of God. You are a child of a king. You are royalty. You are an heir of God, and jointheir with Christ.

You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light (I Peter 2:9). 

You are the head and not the tail. You are above and not beneath. You are a survivor. You’ve got Holy Ghost power.  You were anointed and appointed by God.  You are destined for greatness.  

So, before you even think about maximizing your Christian impact, you must recognize who you are!

2.STRENGTHEN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

God is our father. When we accept his gift of salvation, we are acknowledging our relationship with him. As with some of our earthly relationship, we may fall out of fellowship. This can occur when we let other gods come in between us and him; be it work, play, other pursuits, other distractions. These other gods negatively affect the amount of our time, talent, and treasures we give to God. If and when this happens, we can’t ever give up. We must keep trying and do our best to get back on track. Remembering that His grace is sufficient for us. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. If we are to maximize our Christian impact, we must be deliberate about maintaining a healthy relationship with God. 

How do you strengthen and maintain a good relationship with God? I am glad you asked. Practically speaking, communication is key! How can you be in relationship with someone without communication? You must talk to him; check in with him about everything, about all aspects of our lives. Listening is also important for a balanced relationship. You must spend time in fellowship. Learning more about a person is also key to a good relationship.

We strengthen our relationship with God by spending time with him in prayer and reading and studying his word. There really is no getting around it! Reading devotionals, meditating on his word and listening to gospel songs also help me. 

Therefore, to Maximize your Christian Impact, you have to strengthen your relationship with God.

3.ENGAGE IN MINISTRY 

Pastor Heyliger taught me the best definition of ministry – ministry is meeting needs. Ministry is serving God through your service to mankind.  Ministry is not just inside the church walls, it is in the community. Ministry is not getting involved so that you can be seen, it includes a lot of work behind the scenes and can be very lonely.  Ministry is not being stuck up under the Pastor.  What I noticed in my early years is that the people who get involved in ministry just to be seen or to be up under the pastor, never last.  They are hot and heavy one minute and the next minute they are nowhere to be seen!

The scripture that comes to mind for this particular strategy is Luke 4:18-19.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 

We are anointed to do ministry, not to sit around and pontificate. I am so grateful that Pastor inspired me to engage in ministry. Like Paul stirred up gifts in Timothy, Pastor Heyliger stirred up gifts in me I never knew that I had which has been life transforming for me. He stirred up my gifts and trusted me with the opportunity to use them in this church and in the community through KISRA. 

I have had the opportunity of a lifetime to pursue my passion. The opportunity to engage in work that set my soul on fire, which led to my current career as a philanthropy leader. 

Our church’s theme (we serve that they may know Him) will be more or less successful depending on whether we as members engage in ministry.

Exodus 17: 11-13 reads:

And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 

12But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 

13And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 

Being the leader took effort by Moses.  Leadership is not easy.  It’s not a stroll in the park. When you see a leader out front or on a platform, don’t get envious and don’t wish you were that person unless you are willing to put in the effort.  You don’t know the sacrifices, the hard work, the self denial, the time away from family and all the effort that go into that leader being who he/she is.  

God has a role for each of us to play.  While Moses, Aaron and Hur supported his hands and Joshua fought.  What is your role?  Are you in the game or standing on the side lines?  Are you just showing up on Sundays expecting to receive?  Or are you showing up to help in ministry?  Are you giving a helping hand or are you always stretching your hand out to receive from the pastor or others?  How are you contributing to the ministry of the church of the lord here at Ferguson?

For those of you who are on a ministry leaders list, are you giving it your all or are you missing in action when it is your turn to serve?  Ministry is not glamorous.  Ministry is hard work and it takes effort!

To maximize your Christian impact, you have to engage in ministry!

4.MOTIVATE ONE ANOTHER

Hebrews 10:24 reads:

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

To motivate is to provide with a motive or motives; incite; impel.  When I think of motivate the “stirring up of the gift that is within us” comes to mind.  Stir up the gift that is within ourselves and stir up the gifts that are within your brothers and sisters.  You may see something in a brother or sister that he or she may not even see for self-esteem or other reason.  How about if you speak life into their lives and give them a reason to hope instead of pointing out their deficiencies?  Pointing out the negatives and the deficiencies is easy.  How about if we look deeply for a positive word of encouragement the next time?

It is good to have people around to motivate and energize you…isn’t it?  It is amazing how negative folks can bring you down and drain your energy.  Who wants to be around someone who is full of gloom and doom all the time?  I thank God that in my career, I have been blessed with some smart, motivating, thoughtful people around me.  People who are excited about the work and ministry in which we are engaged…People who are undaunted by challenges and complex situations.  Positive folks!  Optimistic folks!  Folks who are eager to say like Isaiah, Here I am Lord, send me!  I may not know the route by heart.  I may not have a GPS system.  My MapQuest may not find the destination, but Lord I am willing to follow you…Lord, you be the light unto my feet and the light unto my path!

If we look at verse 24 again, it says “motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”  Firstly, we should motivate one another to acts of love.  What is an act of love?  An act of love is lending a helping hand to someone in need…not turning your back.  An act of love is going the extra mile, even when you are tired and worn out and have had enough of those folks.  The best expression of love is time!

The scripture also says that we should “motivate one another to good works.”  The term good works is straightforward.  Good is doing the right things in the eyes of God.  Regardless of whether we’re young or old, we should only hang around friends who will incite you to do good works.  Be a leader, not a follower.  We can’t let anyone detour us from our destiny.  

Adults succumb to peer pressure as well.  We have to watch our company.  I am convinced that many adults still experience peer pressure, as they try to keep up with the Jones.  Your friend bought a new car, so you all of a sudden want a new car.  Your friend got a new phone, so you have to get a new phone.  Your friend wants to miss church, so you want to miss church.  

To maximize our Christian impact, we are to motivate one another to acts of love and good works!

5.SHOW UP

Hebrews 10:25 says…

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Looking around the sanctuary these days is concerning. Some folks appear to have just given up on church. You see them everywhere else but not here and I am concerned that many of them are not going to church anywhere. These are troubling times. 

This scripture is telling us that we should not neglect coming together, as we do on Sundays.  You see, there is something about getting together with people who believe in God like you do.  There is something about coming together with those who are dealing with similar challenges as you are.  There is a certain “espirit de corps” that develops when a group comes together and focuses on the same purpose and the same vision.  Oh what a fellowship…Oh what a joy divine!  It is encouraging to see folks next to you in the pew who are living testimonies.  It is good to see and talk to someone who has overcome what you are now going through.  It is like being in faith’s hall of fame!  This togetherness that we experience in our church is the breathing ground for spiritual capital development.  

In accounting there is a financial statement called a balance sheet.  A balance sheet has three categories – assets, liabilities and owner’s equity.  These three categories have a certain relationship, your assets must equal your liabilities + Owner’s equity, otherwise the balance sheet will be out of balance.  An asset is a useful and desirable thing or quality.  Your home is an asset.  The cash in your bank account is an asset.  Your stocks and bonds are assets.  Your business is an asset.  

A liability is something that you owe.  Credit card debt is a liability.  Loans in general are liabilities.  Any payments that you owe are liabilities.

The final component of the balance sheet is owners’ equity.  This equity is the capital that the owner puts into his/her business to start it up or to sustain it.  Again, for a balance sheet to be in balance, the assets must be equal to the sum of our liabilities plus the owner’s equity.  It is an equation, so the left side must be equal the right side.  Are you with me, say Amen!

Now let’s think about our spiritual balance sheet.  First of all, it should balance.  We all need balance in our lives.  I have learnt this the hard way.  There is a time for everything:  Time for God; Time for family; Time for friends; Time for work; Time to social activities.

In our spiritual balance sheet, there are spiritual assets on the left side of the equation.  Spiritual assets are useful and desirable gifts and qualities from God, the ultimate source of all that we are and all that we ever hope to be.  God has deposited assets into each of us for us to use in building up His kingdom here on earth.  Assets that are unique to you and me and make us who we are. 

Then there are our spiritual liabilities. A liability is something that holds you back, a handicap. Do you have some liabilities today that are holding you back, handicapping you and affecting your spiritual balance sheet?  Think on this for a moment, what is taking your attention away from spending time with God?  Is there anything that is coming between you and God?  Is that new job that you prayed for causing you to miss church on Sundays?  Are those new friends causing you to hang out too late on Saturday nights that you are too tired to wake up for church on Sunday morning?  Do a liability check.  Drop what needs to be dropped.  Your destiny is at stake.  Your spiritual balance sheet is at stake.  

The third component of the spiritual balance sheet is the capital that you put into your spiritual development.  The capital that starts accumulating when you get saved; The capital that you put in as you travel the road of sanctification; The capital that you put in when you spend time reading and studying the word of God; The capital that you put in when you talk to God; The capital that you put in when you give of your time, talents and treasures to God.  The capital that you put in when you engage in ministry to meet needs in the church and community.  

You see, when you don’t put your spiritual assets to good use, your spiritual balance sheet gets out of balance; when you miss church, your spiritual capital decreases and your spiritual balance sheet becomes out of balance.  When you let liabilities increase, your spiritual balance sheet gets out of balance. 

Therefore, maximize your Christian impact by showing up in church.

6. SHARE YOUR SPIRITUAL RESUME 

We are not all that we should be but thank God we are not what we used to be.  We must pull out our spiritual resumes and refresh our memories about the exploits that God has accomplished on our behalf.  Then we must share them. Tell our stories.

We cannot have spiritual amnesia or be bashful about sharing.  We must reflect on the record of God’s goodness to us and remember from whence we came.  Things haven’t always been bad.  Discouragement has a way of erasing our memory of all the good that God has done for us over the years.  Instead of wallowing in our present misery, we must make every effort to remember his past care and provision.

You could still be living in abject poverty, but for the grace of God!  You could still be on welfare, but for the grace of God.  You could still be in that abusive relationship, but for the grace of God.  That last heart attack could have taken you out, but for the grace of God.  You could have flunked out of school, but for the grace of God. That car accident could have sent you to an early grave, but for the grace of God.  You could still be strung out on drugs, but for the grace of God! Sharing your spiritual resume will inspire others in their walk and help you to make an impact.  

7.HANG ON TO HOPE

Hebrews 10:23 states…Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

The Greek origin of the word faith or hope is to anticipate with pleasure.  It also means expectation or confidence. I can’t say honestly that I always anticipate with pleasure everything, all the time.  I know that faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.  But I must admit that sometimes I feel hopeless.  While COVID-19 was raging, I felt hopeless.  When I consider the large number of my people in poverty, sometimes I feel hopeless.  When I think about racism and its implications, sometimes I feel hopeless.  Hopeless because I feel helpless.  

When I look around and I see parents doing the best that they can at providing for their child’s needs.  Parents who are actively involved in every aspect of their child’s life; Households with two parents and two incomes working together and still the children are flipping out and getting in trouble.  I have seen innocent, charming young men, active in the church; that just flipped out and end up in prison.  Young ladies, intelligent, full of promise, destined for greatness, flip out and end up addicted to drugs…Putting their destinies on pause!  

It is like a switch is flipped and then gets stuck in the off position.  Their lights are smothered.  They are on detour from their destiny.  In our society, we have more of our black men in prison than in college.  In fact, national incarceration rates show that 30% of Black males are likely to go to prison.  Yes…I feel helpless sometimes…..

But I must hang on to hope.  I must remain steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.  For God is not unrighteous to forget our work and labor of love in that we have ministered to the saints and do minister.  I must trust God to keep his promise.  I must remember that it is not how I start, but how I finish.  I must remember that weapons will form against us, but they will not prosper.  I must trust that weeping may endure only for a night, but joy will come in the morning.  Not only joy, but new mercies…Morning by morning new mercies I see.  I have to remember that despite what the data shows, despite what CNN and Fox and MSNBC report, God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we may ask or think according to the power that is working in us.

When we hang on to hope, we position ourselves to maximize our Christian impact!

In closing, I encourage you to go forth and maximize your Christian impact by: 

  1. Knowing yourself: who you are and whose you are
  2. Strengthening your relationship with God
  3. Engaging in ministry
  4. Motivating one another to good works
  5. Showing up in church
  6. Sharing your spiritual resume
  7. Hanging on to hope

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