While traveling last summer, Kathy and I met up with a dear friend and supporter for lunch. As we sat down to eat, this friend looked at me and said, “I have just one question. What is it that you do?” This guy must have really trusted us to be supporting us even though he has little idea what we do!
Fast forward to January, 2014. While speaking at a nearby church, I was enjoying a conversation with another old friend in the church’s foyer. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when this fellow looked me in the eye and said, “You know, I get your newsletters and read them. And I have one question for you: Just what is it that you do?”
Well, not being quick on the uptake, it gradually occurred to me that maybe what is so crystal clear to me might not be so clear to others.
And I won’t even tell you about the glazed-eye look that I get when I encounter strangers who ask me, “What do you do for a living?” A bead of sweat appears on my upper lip, I shift my feet nervously, and my voice begins to quaver as I begin: “Er…um…I work with churches…” (I can see that they immediately regret asking the question; my eye twitches nervously) “…to mobilize them to use their resources more effectively…” (at this point, they gaze into the distance) “…to fulfill the Great Commission” (some suddenly remember an urgent meeting and excuse themselves while I collapse from sheer exhaustion. My shirt is drenched in sweat. I retreat to the secret place in my mind where all is well).
As I recover from another painful attempt to explain my vocation, it becomes apparent to me that I need to rethink my whole approach to telling people “what I do.” If my work is important, I surely need to be able to explain it clearly. So let’s see here…
Mobilize – the term seems very straightforward – “to assemble or marshal individuals or groups into active service.”
Church – “the body of Christian believers”
Resources – “available supplies that can be readily drawn upon when needed”
Great Commission – (No, the Great Commission is not 30%) “to make disciples of all ethnic groups”
So, what do I do? I marshal members of the body of Christian believers to draw upon all available supplies to make disciples of all ethnic groups.
Reading this seems so understandable that I am beginning to wonder if people are not so much confused by what a mobilizer does as by how mobilizing is done. How does one “marshal members of the body of Christian believers to draw upon all available supplies to make disciples of all ethnic groups”? Now there is an avenue for discussion.
How does one mobilize? By drawing on the available stash of supplies (time, energy, education, personal passion, knowledge, gifts network of contacts, relationships) to make disciples (teach, preach, one-on-one times, breakfasts, lunches, seminars, workshops, Sunday school and Perspectives classes) who will make disciples so that all ethnic groups may be discipled.
Sounds simple, right? So, the next time someone asks you “What does a mobilizer do?” – just look them boldly in the eye, confidently answer, and expect to hear them respond, “Ah! That makes perfectly good sense!” That’s how you do it!