You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:3
The simple/organic church lifestyle opens the door for every believer to step into his unique calling and recognize his unique ‘letter’ written on his heart by the Spirit of God. Every person has the privilege and responsibility of tuning into the process in which God shapes each one for his destiny. Part of that is recognizing the core message—the life message—that He has formed in us.
Tony Stoltzfus says that every Christian has “a special life message that’s a summary of their story—the place where their various life messages join together in one theme… That one-of-a-kind message is the heart of their call.”
There is power in recognizing and affirming our life message so that we are freely sharing this core of who we are with those around us. It fuels our spiritual passion and excitement. Often, it leads us into a clearer understanding of the Kingdom calling in our life.
Recently, as a group exercise, we looked at ways to identify our life message. We used three different methods which I share here. The idea is that you might be able to identify your life message using any one of these three methods.
(Note, that I adapted this from Tony Stoltzfus’ excellent book entitled ‘Leadership Coaching.’)
1. Finding Your Current Life Message by Looking at Your Suffering
Write down a key difficulty you suffered through that has significantly shaped you. Then, write down the core message that this experience built into you for others!
2. Finding Your Current Life Message by Looking at Your Soapbox
What are the themes you come back to over and over when you are helping or serving others? What are you always talking passionately about? What do you most yearn to impart to people? Write down the core message!
3. Finding Your Current Life Message by Looking at What Injustices You Want to Fight
What injustices make you want to rise up and fight for the good of all? What’s the injustice you see, where you have a compelling vision of the better future that could be? Write down the core message that you want others to hear!
I love the way that God shapes us uniquely and then uses that uniqueness for His glory!
On a personal note, it was a challenging season in my own life (which I describe in the first chapter of Simple/House Church Revolution) that led to a re-write of my life message twelve years ago. Out of this came an unexpected re-direction in life and ministry and the formation of Appleseed Ministry. The life message would be something like this: “It’s not structured church or religion that transforms people and nations, rather it’s all about the simple life of Jesus, flowing personally through his irreligious followers, leading to a lifestyle of loving and discipling others.”