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Summary: God has given you a unique personality. He has wired you with a unique personal style which he doesn’t necessarily want to change but to use for His kingdom work.

Finding Your Place

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Paul Fritz writes, One afternoon, one of my seminary students took me to the Jos Museum. He said, ``Sir, I want to show you something my father made!’’ Naive as I was in those early years of being in Africa, I thought he would show me a clay pot, a drum, or a sculpture his father had constructed. When we arrived at the Museum, he directed me to a special glass case where he pointed to a juju mask and proudly announced, ``My father made that mask which allowed him to assume the roles of the spirit of traveling.’’ When he told me this I thought. Oh, he is probably referring to traveling in a taxi or bus. But, the student went on to explain, ``After my father donned the mask, he would assume a new identity. He was instantly transformed into somebody else. He acquired new powers above and beyond those of a mere mortal man. At a moment’s notice, he could fly great distances between villages, appearing at special sacrificial ceremonies. People feared my father and gave him great respect when he wore his mask, but ignored most of the other times. However, when I became a Christian I knew that wearing the mask would be wrong, even though it would have been my right as the first born son. Still, I feel something missing. What can I get so as to gain the respect, power, and freedom that my father experienced with his mask.’’ And then he writes, The student was looking for something that he could use to transform himself! After I thought about that incident, it struck me that everyone looks for masks that can miraculously change their identities. Some are looking for masks to be able to hide their inner sense of inadequacies. Others are looking for masks that can make them into the cultural image of someone great. Still others are looking for identities that will make themselves acceptable in the eyes of their culture.

And some of us may bring the very same expectations to this whole topic of spiritual gifts, thinking that our spiritual gifts and passions might change our identities, hide our weaknesses or gain us greater acceptance from others. That is, until we get to today’s topic which is your personal style. God has given you a unique personality. He has wired you with a unique personal style which he doesn’t necessarily want to change but to use for His kingdom work. We are concluding a four-week series of messages from the Bible, entitled “A Servant’s Heart,” a series based on our firm conviction that it is possible for all of us to have fun and find fulfillment by serving others in the name of Christ. And the way to do that involves: • finding your passion, Passion is the God-given desire of the heart to make a difference somewhere, • finding your spiritual gifts, spiritual gifts are special abilities distributed by the Holy Spirit to every believer according to God’s design and grace and • finding your personal style. Personal style answers the question of how we are designed to serve.

There are two elements to your personal style. The first is how you are energized. This determines how you receive and focus your emotional energy and the way in which you prefer to interact with your environment. People fall into one of two categories: they are either task oriented or people oriented. Task oriented people are energized by doing things. They prefer to relate to people by sharing a commitment to working on a task together. Task oriented people are often uncomfortable with a lot of relational activities. They measure results by what they accomplish. Those who are people oriented are energized by interacting with people. They measure results in terms of relationships and often prefer to work with people in a team setting. That is not to say that people oriented folks are not concerned with task accomplishment or that task oriented people aren’t concerned with relationships. It’s more a matter of priority than approach. A people oriented person will spend more time visiting and getting to know someone before they start a task. The task oriented person on the other hand will start on the task and get to know the person afterward. Neither is right or wrong, it’s just a matter of preference. If you are task oriented, the primary content of your ministry should be accomplishing tasks that serve people. If you are people oriented, the primary content of your ministry should be relating to other people. Both value developing relationships, but each has a primary and secondary means of accomplishing them.

The second key element to your personal style is how you are organized. Some people are unstructured and prefer lots of options and flexibility. They tend to enjoy moving between a variety of activities. Unstructured people say, Pack the car, let’s go and then make plans after they arrive or even moment by moment. Structured people prefer to make plans and work within guidelines and clear directions. Structure people have to go to AAA, do research, find all the historical sights and recreational activities, make reservations and have everything planned out before they leave. If you are an unstructured person, you should have a ministry position generally described and have lots of spontaneity and flexibility. If you are a structured person, you need to have a ministry position clearly defined and have consistent relationships and responsibilities.

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