Are you wasting your talent?

iStock_000011499226SmallOne of the cool things about my job is that I get to talk with leaders from a variety of churches.  In talking with a pastor last week, we got on the subject of high-performing members of his congregation.  These are folks with specialized skill-sets. Many of them either have their own business or are fairly high up in an organization.  They are CEOs, lawyers, bankers, doctors, police officers, mechanics, etc.  They also love their church and want to serve.


Now, you could assign them to greet at the front door or organize the bookstore.  Hopefully, they’re humble and wouldn’t object to serving wherever you asked.  However, is that really the best use of their talents?  God has given each of us certain abilities and we’re called to use them to serve His Kingdom.  We can and should use our talents in the workplace with honor and integrity to point our co-workers to Christ.  However, we can also leverage our talents for our local church.

Church leaders don’t always do a good job at leveraging those talents.   Sometimes the staff is insecure and afraid that a volunteer will “show them up”.  Other times these potential leaders haven’t spoken up to let you know what they could really offer the church.  We need to figure that out and start embracing the diverse talents we have right within our own congregation.

This pastor mentioned a mechanic in his congregation who has a few repair shops in the area.  The church organizes a free car repair day for those who can’t afford it and this mechanic brings his best employees out to fix vehicles. They also have an architect in the congregation who they’ve asked to review plans for a new building.  These individuals are using their gifts to serve their church and the community.  Can you imagine how fired up they are about these projects?  How rewarding it feels to combine their skills with their faith?  If you want fully engaged, all-in volunteers this is a great way to accomplish that objective.

Now, whom do you have in your church with specialized skill-sets who would love to use them to serve?  How can you find out?

#1: Ask

Whether it’s from the stage, in a bulletin, or in a mass email, ask your members to let you know about their talents.  If you have a specific project or need, then ask anyone with that skill-set to contact you.  You could save a lot of time and money just by asking for specific help from your members.

#2: Get to know people

Talk with your volunteers.  Ask where they work and what they do for a living.  You may have some hidden gems who would love to be asked to leverage their skills for the church.

#3: Get over yourself

If you’re feeling insecure and worried that a volunteer might do a better job than you, please deal with that issue ASAP.  God has given you specific talents that He expects you to use.  The same thing goes for volunteers.  A wise church staff member brings in volunteers who’re passionate about the vision of the church and have skills the staff doesn’t possess.  A strong leader isn’t afraid of bringing people on the team who’re strong where they’re weak.  That’s just smart.

Your challenge for this week is to start looking for these members with specialized skills.  Match up their talents with your church’s needs and watch as everyone benefits.

How have you identified and plugged in members who have specialized skills?  Share your experiences in the comments section.