I've been thinking of the P's and D's in my life as it relates to serving and being in a faith community with others. I'm in transition right now - having been worshipping at a new church for about 5 months. As I have reflected on that journey some I've come up with 3 P's and a D.
Planner - The previous two churches that I have served at I became quickly involved in many ministry areas. I have the gift of helps so that is a natural occurrence for me. I was involved in youth ministry, praise band, worship planning, small groups....served as elder, worked on search teams, and generally tried to jump in to help as needed. In most areas that I served I became involved in some degree of planning, leading, and directing. I discovered that I generally experienced my most times of intimate worship with God in the developing and planning process and that when an actual event occurred I was unable to worship with the community. I was too caught up in the evaluating, coordinating, hoping, praying, thinking what's next, etc.
Performer - For much of my time on Sundays over the past 10 years I have played drums in a praise band. Again...many times the most intimate worship times for me occurred during rehearsal, thinking thru music, etc. Once Sunday rolled around my thoughts were usually tied to questions like, "What's the right tempo" "Are we together" "Do we repeat the chorus" "How do we end the song". With all of that rolling around in my head it was usually very difficult for me to worship while playing - at least on Sunday mornings. Yes, I "perform and play" my best for God, but on Sunday...with the added layer of responsibility of leading others in worship my focus becomes split. (It is very cool when you do totally engage and a whole community invites the Holy Spirit to inhabit their praises...but for me those moments are the exception rather than the rule.)
Participant - Here is where I have found myself the last few months. I am not involved in any formal ministry. I have simply been a participant. It has been joyful, refreshing, and challenging. It has helped me learn again how to focus my attention on worshipping - not planning or performing. It has been a blessing to worship in community with my family and friends - to dance alongside (in my awkward ways), raise my hands, bow down, be lifted up - together. It has helped me re-discover the joy or communal worship and to see and experience just a little slice of heaven.
Desire - But now what? That is the question that is haunting me as I try and best discern where and how God wants me to serve. I have come to see some of the gifts, challenges, and dangers of my three P's. My desire is to serve God in the ways He wants me to go and become the follower, man, husband, and father that He wants me to be. I can see Him building into me in new ways, with new experiences, and new relationships.
I pretty sure I'll never get a P = proficient. Nor would I want one as that sounds like an end point. I hope I am always a D student. One who is developing and becoming more like Jesus. Yeah....I'm striving for a D!
Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.