I get totally pumped up when people like Evan, Chris, Melissa and Keith who I recently coached at my church get PLACEd in many ministries at my church and start serving in ministries like There’s Hope for the Hungry that my church is affiliated with. It deeply fuels my passion when a tool and process like PLACE helps engage and involve people in the life and ministry of my church. BUT, since there are many and have always been many who are not W.A.R. when it comes to serving and as I have become consciously aware of this I have recommitted my passion to serve and love these people WHERE they are at this season in their lives. I have redoubled my efforts to encourage, come alongside and help these people because I believe Jesus would have us love people WHERE they are and not always even where they should be or He desires for them to be in life and ministry.
So here is a simple take away from this article. Evaluate your process in using PLACE. Take a look at what and how you are training you PLACE coaches to coach those who are not W.A.R. Also, instill in your coaches the possibility that when they encounter people who are not W.A.R. that they encourage those being coached to take the time (in God’s timing) needed to be W.A.R., and meet these individuals where they are and minister to them. Encourage your coaches that the process worked even when they discover those who are not W.A.R. when it comes to serving. Remember, PLACE is about people first, programs second. Helping people identify if they are not W.A.R. and ministering to them where they are can only serve to further equip them to be strong potential ministry servants in the future when they are Willing, Able and Ready (W.A.R.) to be plugged into ministry.
I believe many people need hope and that hope is not always fulfilled the way they or we desire, but maybe the way Jesus intended at a specific time and in a specific way.
And my hope is you will feel the same!
HOPE - Desire PLACE But Not W.A.R.
I believe the reason many, many individuals go through PLACE is they are looking for hope. Countless individuals have gone through PLACE over the years and been given enormous hope that has turned into reality in fulfilling life and ministry dreams and goals. Who doesn’t have the hope that there could be a tool, experience, or process that would help you be Willing, Able and Ready (W.A.R.) to serve? And maybe through assessments like PLACE or teaching principles like PLACE, these will provide what is needed to discover how God created you and give you a desire to be Willing, Able and Ready (W.A.R.) to serve? Yes, the PLACE assessments and teaching principles are helpful and will provide hope, but they will not automatically overcome W.A.R. when it comes to serving. Let me explain each one briefly.
Not Willing To Count The Cost
Jesus reminds us in Luke 14:25-34 that there is a cost to being His disciple and in order to be His disciple, we must be willing to count the cost and deny ourselves to follow Him. A well-known parable was told by Jesus in Matthew 13:1-23 called “Parable of the Sower”. Jesus reminds us that some seeds sown by hearing the word are choked out by “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth” (Matthew 13:23). Let’s just face it some people are just flat out “choked out” when it comes to serving and not Willing to give up their addictions to countless hours on social media, pursuing their own wealth or leisure or anything that does not bring pleasure to them.
Not Able To Serve
There are many people who go through the PLACE experience and I sit down with them one-on-one and hear their stories that I conclude are just not able to serve at this season in their lives. Years ago a person went through PLACE that in previous years had been VERY involved in our church, but for the last couple of years had not served at all or even attended church services regularly. She told me her story and how she had married a retired General that shortly after their marriage found out that he had cancer and unless God did a miracle was soon going to be with the Lord. This beautiful lady was an outgoing, bubbly “I” personality that in the PLACE demonstrated passion section had a passion for Performing (for the glory of God). After 30-40 minutes of listening, I told her I felt I knew exactly where God wanted her to serve/perform. I told her I believed God wanted her to continue to serve/perform for an audience of two (her husband and the Lord) that she had been doing for almost two years since they found out her husband had cancer. And I told her that I felt her PLACE at our church was to allow our church to minister and support her at this time in her life. She broke down sobbing when she heard these words.
I have sat down with many people who are going through incredible physical, emotional, financial and even spiritual challenges that are Willing to serve but at a particular season are not Able to serve. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:”. And yes “EVERYTHING” can include serving within the church!
Not Ready To Serve
Over the years I have met many who are Willing and Able but not Ready to serve for various reasons. They may not be Ready because they are not equipped and trained. They may not be Ready because they do not have the spiritual or emotional maturity. I was coaching a young man and asked him why he desired to go through PLACE. He immediately answered, “I want to be a PLACE Connection Coach.” I asked why and over the next 45 minutes I didn’t say a word except a few “tell me more”, “interesting”, “wow” comments. He went on and on about meeting, marrying and his divorce with his ex-wife. I realized that he wanted to be a PLACE Connection Coach to continue working on the emotional baggage he had with his ex-wife. He wasn’t Ready to serve in this capacity within our church. The happy ending to this story is I was able to get him into counseling and he was Ready to serve as a greeter at our church which he did a great job in this area of ministry.
2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season;...” and I Corinthians 9:25 says, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.” We are also told to in 2 Timothy 2:15 to study to show ourselves approved to God. Again, a person may be Willing and Able but these verses point toward the need to be Ready and it takes time and preparation to be Ready.
What Do I With People Who Are Not W.A.R. When It Comes To Serving?
I have watched over the years many churches and leaders who connect people into serving and honestly many who oversee an intentional process and strategy like PLACE give up PLACE or other tools and strategies like PLACE. Why? Whether they can articulate what I have laid out in this article or are even conscious (I wasn’t for years) of what I have laid out in this article they sense and feel it. Sadly, they often drop PLACE or whatever intentional tool or process they used and abandon engaging
those who are not Willing,Ableand Ready(W.A.R.) to serve.
Serving Him Together,
Volunteer recruitment often comes down to W.A.R. with those who are being recruited. Over the next couple of weeks, I will sit down one-on-one with about a dozen individuals from my church who recently completed five weeks of the PLACE experience. I will determine with them whether they are ready to serve through our church based on their own personal W.A.R.
The last couple of years I have come to realize an
incredible discovery from those who go through
an intentional process like PLACE to “discover
how God created them so they can be and do
what God created them for in life and ministry.”
I say, “have come to realize” because as I process
my new found discovery I have thought about
whether this has always been the case with using
intentional processes like PLACE, but I just didn’t
have the insight that I do now. The insight is
many who go through PLACE are not:
Willing to serve
Able to serve
Ready to serve
Since I have come to this conclusion I have asked myself repeatedly, “Why would many go through PLACE if they are not Willing, Able and Ready (W.A.R.) to serve?”