Giving Yourself AwayDecember 21, 2007
Do you have an inner longing to impact your world? Today on the broadcast, Bill Wellons and Lloyd Reeb, authors of the book "Unlimited Partnerships," share what others have done to live above the norm and see lives impacted for Christ.
Do you have an inner longing to impact your world? Today on the broadcast, Bill Wellons and Lloyd Reeb, authors of the book "Unlimited Partnerships," share what others have done to live above the norm and see lives impacted for Christ.
Giving Yourself Away
Lloyd: To move from success to significance is going to involve giving myself away. So in order to that, I have to have extra – extra time, energy, money, emotional energy, and spiritual overflow in order to make an eternal impact in someone else's life. If I am spending all I have on me and my family, I have nothing to share with you. I can't really make that journey, and that's really one of the biggest challenges that men and women face at this season of life.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, December 21st. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. In this season of the year when giving is at the heart of the season, we're going to talk today about how giving can be at the heart of who you are. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us. You're having fun with this, aren't you?
Dennis: I am.
Bob: I remember one of the first conversations you and I had years ago, we were talking about – this was before we had launched FamilyLife Today. We were talking about the radio program and what it would do and I remember you saying "one of the things that excites me is when a layman wants to get involved in ministry." And that still today is one of those things that – when you hear about a layman who really begins to get involved in some way in ministry, you go home cheering, don't you?
Dennis: I do. In fact, the consummate compliment that anyone could give me on my ministry, my part of ministry here on FamilyLife, is a layman or a laywoman coming up and saying, "You know what? Somehow, through your ministry God touched my heart to want to get in the Kingdom battle and do battle according to what God has for my life. I want to be a Kingdom player, and God used you to get me on the field."
That, to me, I'd rather receive that compliment than any compliment about a book I've written, a speaking engagement, a broadcast, anything that takes place, because I think the future of the family is not here, it's not in another city. I believe the future of the family is in the neighborhoods of our nation.
And what FamilyLife want to do, long haul, is tap into that passion that's in laymen and women's lives and release laymen into ministry through our Hope for Orphans initiative that puts the ball in the hands of laymen and women to lead orphan care, foster care, and adoption ministries in and through their local church or through our Homebuilders Bible studies.
Bible studies led in individual homes and neighborhoods where a layman and his wife reach out to neighbors and invite them into their home and teach them the Scripture about how they can have a successful marriage and family.
Bob: Well, and we've heard about couples who are mentoring younger couples using FamilyLife resources to do that or couples who are working with engaged couples getting them ready for a marriage relationship.
Dennis: That's a great ministry.
Bob: There are just all kinds of ways that individuals or couples can get involved in Kingdom work, and that's really what our focus has been this week as we've been talking about this.
Dennis: It has been. We have the authors of "Unlimited Partnership" with us. Lloyd Reeb and Bill Wellons join us. Bill, Lloyd, welcome back.
Bill: Thank you.
Dennis: Bill Wellons is a pastor, has been a pastor for, now, more than 30 years, is a great friend. In fact, he and Carolyn, Bob, long before you joined FamilyLife, used to speak at the Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences all around the country.
Bob: We have some cassettes, I think, with you on them – or maybe it's eight-tracks, I'm not sure which.
Dennis: It does go back a while. Bill has been my pastor for a number of years, is a great friend. Lloyd Reeb is a new friend but one who is kindred spirit. He's a real estate developer, but he's a man who has a Kingdom mindset and wants to put those same lay players on the Kingdom battlefield making an impact for the imperishable work of God in individual lives and families, and I'm just thrilled you're both here.
Bill, I want to ask you a question because this book has two parts to it. One part is written to the layman or the laywoman who wants to find their purpose in life. Your part is written to pastors about how they can employ or engage these lay workers in God's work. If you were coaching a pastor at where he should start, what should he do?
Bill: Yeah, also, I wanted to point out, before I answer the question, Dennis, if you – I see that you have the book in your hands there, that the light side of the book is my side, and the dark side of the book is Lloyd's side. I just think that's an important thing to …
Bob: You're coming from the light side, and he's from the dark side, huh, all right.
Dennis: And Lloyd, do you have any comment about that? You're not saying anything. You're speechless.
Lloyd: I'm being gracious.
Bill: The place to begin – or the place I would begin is just with the whole process of identifying these folks in your church, and Lloyd and I like to just practice two real simple things. It's just look and listen. Look, from the standpoint of identifying folks who are in this age demographic. Those who are hitting the midlife space in their life and might be kind of pushing the pause button. Just start off by looking.
Dennis: And what is the age demographic?
Bill: Well, it's around 50 years old, not exclusively. I don't want to – we have a number of young men and women in our church who are very excited about investing their life in the future, but the journey that we're talking about is really in and around 50 years old, 45, 55, years old where people have lived a significant part of their life, and they are looking. They've kind of got that inner itch about maybe doing something different, more meaningful, more purposeful, in light of their life experience, in light of what they have learned. So I start off by looking.
Bob: Other than age, what are you looking for?
Bill: You're looking for somebody who – they'll say things like, "You know, I'm considering retirement and thinking about refocusing." Or they'll make a statement like, "I like what I do, but I want to do something more meaningful, and I don't know what it is, and I don't know how to go about it."
Let me give you an illustration. The first time I met Bill, he was standing on my driveway, and, in fact, he had come over with a small group of people, bless their hearts, to help Carolyn and I move after being in a home for 23 years, so that was the first time I got to meet Bill. And, over lunch, I asked him, I said, "Well, Bill, what do you do?"
And Bill said, "Well, I'm sort of retired," and that was my antenna.
Bob: That was your aha?
Bill: That was my aha moment right there, so I said, "Let's have lunch next week," and so we did, and I took him out to lunch and about two and a half, three hours later, I had heard is life story, his work story, I discovered that he was a pretty successful former VP of a national corporation, had hundred of people under his employ and had all these networking abilities, organizing skills and all that and, in fact, as he unraveled his story for me was kind of looking for the next thing.
So through a series of events, Bill began an interviewing process for that and kind of the providence of God, His heart, and Bill is having the time of his life, and all that came from just hearing one statement, "Well, I'm sort of retired."
Bob: So one of the things you would coach a pastor to do is have those antennae up. Most pastors are so focused on the ministry God has called them to that to have an antenna up about what God may be calling other people to, it kind of seems like a secondary assignment.
Bill: Yeah, and a lot of times where we have run into that, it is true, and I've been a pastor for 30 years, and I know how busy their world can be so oftentimes we'll say, "You know, you may have all that you can say grace over, so let's identify a halftime champion in the church and let's give them that assignment, let's let them play that role to benefit your church and the community, where you wouldn't have to have that responsibility."
Dennis: In other words, find a layman who can bear that burden in your church and be looking and listening.
Dennis: I would just add one additional question that I would listen to an answer to, and that is find out with the men that you interact with – and the women– what are they passionate about. What do they pound the table about? Where do you see a twinkle in their eyes and a fire light up? Lloyd, you're shaking your head. Do you really agree?
Lloyd: You know, I just think of stories because when I heard that I think of seeing that light up in someone's eyes. I was doing an event for 10 Asian-American couples in Vail, Colorado. They were from all over the country, all in midlife, all with this itch, as Bill said, for their life to count for something more, their second half to be significant, and Kenneth introduced himself by saying, "I'm Kenneth. I'm 57, I am a tea guy. I have an adopted daughter.
Bob: A tea guy – he's in the tea manufacturing business?
Dennis: T-e-a or T-e-e?
Lloyd: That's exactly what I wondered was – what does he mean? He just left it as – he said, "I'm a tea guy," and he said, "I'm passionate about orphans." So, like you, I said – when I was at break, I went up to him and said "Kenneth, what do you mean you're a tea guy?" And he said, "Well, I own a tea company, and it's become the premier ginseng tea in Hong Kong, and it's en route to becoming the premier brand for ginseng tea in China," but he didn't even take a breath. He just said, "If you've got a minute, I'd love to show you pictures of an orphanage I just built in China."
And he leaned down, he picked up this little dog-eared photo album, and he started leafing through it. He said, "Now, they're not all just regular orphans, these are all disable orphans." And he got to about page 7, and his face – this picture of Kenneth, his face was just beaming, and he was holding this little girl, and I stopped him because that is not a face that you see on a 57-year-old guy, not even the day his company sells.
And so I said, "Kenneth, why are you smiling? Why are you grinning like this? Who is this girl?" And he said, "Well, her name is so-and-so, and she's seven years old, and I just paid to have her heart transplanted."
Dennis: Oh, wow.
Lloyd: And without that, she would have been disposable. That just took my breath away, and whenever there was a break, I would hang out with Kenneth. I mean, to hang out with someone like that is incredible.
So here's what happened. At lunchtime I said to Kenneth, is there anything else that you're passionate about that you let go along the way?" And he thought for a moment, and he said, "Yeah, there is, actually. I was a professional grade photographer and 15 years ago I stopped because my company was growing, I had children at home."
At the end of the day, and this is to your point, Dennis, at the end of the day, the highlight of me for the day was to see Kenneth at the front of the room with flipchart pages up of his new life, life 2 for Kenneth Young, and he said, "You know, I came here thinking God might ask me to sell my company and go to seminary and become a pastor of a Chinese-American church. But I'm a tea guy. This is who I am. This is what I do, and I make a lot of money doing this. So instead I'm going to hire someone to take a lot of my responsibilities that I'm not so good at, and I'm going to go to China and capture the most compelling photographs of disabled orphans and package them on the back of every box of tea I sell around the world to drive people to a Web page to fund an endless supply of orphanages, and I'm going to go make sure they're run well."
And I thought to myself, that's the convergence of everything he's passionate about, and everything God has equipped him to do his entire life. And he is living out what he was created to do.
Bob: You have, in your book, some diagnostic tools, questions, I mean, the average pastor who says, "I don't know that I could come up with connecting the dots between orphanages and tea and photography. I don't know that I'm as intuitive as you gentlemen are."
You've put some tools in this book so that whether it's a layman or a pastor, you can help a person get to that convergence, right?
Bill: That's right, and for our listeners, a couple of good places to go would be successtosignificance.com and halftime.org. There are tons of tools, helpful resources to get at, the assessment piece that you mentioned, Bob, as well as other helpful tools, Bible studies, small group curriculums, things like that, that would be helpful to them.
Bob: And we've got a link on our website at FamilyLife.com to both of those websites, so if folks just want to come to our website, we can send you there, and you can take advantage of some of these resources that are available to help you figure out where you belong or help you figure out how to help other people figure out where they belong in the Kingdom work, right?
Dennis: No doubt about it. And, Lloyd, I want you to apply this to your life because you've done this – just take our listener into the experience of how you made that transition and what, for you, is kind of the fat part of the bat – it's the core for your life of how you want to see God use you for His purposes.
Lloyd: Well, one of the powerful things that "Unlimited Partnership" does is take you on a journey packed with stories of creating a personal mission statement and then defining a role that fits you in an organization.
Most ministry happens in an organization, which means that you need to know what cause or people group you want to serve, what difference you want to make in their lives, what role will you play in that organization, how much time, and for what duration? Well, that's pretty simple stuff, but once you've done it, once you've worked through that process, now you're equipped to go and sit down with two or three ministries and say to them, "Here is me. I'm good at this. I'm passionate at that. This is the role I best play in an organization. Here's how much time I have. What opportunities do you have that fit this?"
And there you've gone the distance in equipping them to find a good match for you, but without a mission statement, we are just drifting out in the middle of the sea of life.
Dennis: And so what's your mission statement?
Lloyd: Well, based on my gifts, which are to be a thought leader, that's my biggest contribution is helping people think differently, and what I'm passionate about is helping marketplace men and women pursue significance, find their place to make a difference, and what I want to happen in my life is for those people to make Kingdom impact.
So my mission statement combines all those into one simple statement, to be a thought leader mobilizing high-capacity marketplace leaders for Kingdom impact. And that how I measure my life. I measure it back against that mission statement, and it's coming out of having a life that's designed around how God's wired me up and knowing that He's put me on this earth to do something specific like Ephesians 2:10 says.
Bob: Bill, I'm imagining that a pastor would meet a guy like Lloyd who would say, "I've got a mission statement. I want to be a thought leader, and I want to leverage high-profile" – no – what is it? High impact – what is it?
Lloyd: High capacity.
Bob: High-capacity people for greater Kingdom impact, and the pastor would say, "Well, God bless you. I'll pray that the Lord will give you some opportunity to do that, and you let me know how that's going for you."
That's what I'm imagining would be the standard response.
Bill: I think that could happen, and that's one of the reasons, Bob, that we wrote "Unlimited Partnership," was to try and give both sides of that coin and give a feel from both perspectives about how that conversation might go.
Sometimes, though, I feel like pastors make this a lot more difficult than it needs to be. Really, what we're saying is you don't need to launch a program, you don't need to reorganize everything, let's just do one partnership at a time. Read the book, talk about it together, agree to partner without knowing all the answers. That's part of the adventure. Let's go figure this out together and, certainly, they can use the tools and stuff that are available.
And then celebrate those stories, tell those stories, kind of like we've been doing today – the stories of changed lives and people being used by God to have an eternal impact or what cast the greatest vision. So it's really that simple to me. But it starts with just starting one partnership.
Dennis: Bill, as you were talking about, I was thinking of some of the laymen who have championed rebuilding families in their community. This ministry, FamilyLife, its course was changed forever in the late '70s when, on a napkin – that's how anything significant in Campus Crusade for Christ ever got strategized or drawn – you drew it on a napkin over lunch.
But, over lunch, we designed a strategy where our conferences would be led by lay volunteers. And, basically, we determined, when we tried to get it done through the paid professionals, clergy, full-time missionaries, it didn't get done. They were already too busy. But when we put the ball in the hands of real estate brokers – I'm thinking of J.D. and Anne McCaslan in Dallas, Texas, who had almost 3,000 people come to one of our Weekend to Remember conferences at the Anatole Hotel there in Dallas back in 1986 – we basically tossed him the ball, and we got out of his way.
He knew that city better than we did. He owned it, he had passion, he was purposeful, and that gave birth to a whole line of leaders who have now led our Homebuilders Bible studies literally around the world in more than 100 countries. It really is the future of ministry and I believe the future of the family really is in the hands of laymen and women.
Some are going to be the high-capacity leaders from the marketplace who have extraordinary gifts. I think the mass majority are going to be moms and dads who care desperately about the legacy of the next generation; who do not want their children or their grandchildren to fail and are going to invest in the next generation.
Bill: Boy, I couldn't agree with you more, and just as you've done, Dennis, I feel the same way – just as passionately about my pastor friends who are listening. As you know, the Apostle Paul said a long time ago, he said basically our job was to equip the saints but for what? It was to do the work of ministry, and I would say that the greatest measure of the church of Jesus Christ will not be how many people we equip but how many people we release to do the ministry that God has placed in their hearts.
Dennis: And I just appreciate both you and Lloyd. I'm glad you've been with us this week on the broadcast, and I hope you'll come back and join us again and we can pound the table together, because we have an army to recruit. We need to get, literally, hundreds of thousands of lay volunteers on the playing field and making a difference for the Kingdom of God.
Bob: And those who are seeing Uncle Dennis pointing and saying, "I want you to join the army," you can go to our website at – in fact, we have a picture of Uncle Dennis on the website saying, "I want you to join the army."
We don't have any recruiting posters on our website at FamilyLife.com, but we do have information about the book that Lloyd and Bill have written that's called "Unlimited Partnerships," and that's a good first step for folks to take.
In fact, in addition to that book, there is an online questionnaire, a survey that you can take that is designed to help you think through what's the right next step for you to take. Go to FamilyLife.com, click the red "Go" button you see in the middle of the screen. That will take you to the area of the site where there is more information about the book we've talked about. There is a link there to the questionnaire that you can take.
Again, the website is FamilyLife.com, and you click the red "Go" button that you see in the middle of the screen, and that maybe the first step that you need to take on this adventure for Kingdom involvement.
Again, the website's FamilyLife.com, and I should also mention that on our website, if you're a last-minute Christmas shopper, and you're out of ideas, how about a gift certificate for an upcoming FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference. You can purchase the gift certificate at a discounted rate this week at FamilyLife.com. You can download a gift card so that you've got something that you can put under the tree or put in a stocking whether it's for your spouse or for your adult children, or for friends or relatives that you know, this is a great gift you can give to another person and, again, it's available this week at a discounted rate.
So go to the website, FamilyLife.com for more information about that or about the book we've talked about or the online questionnaire. You can also call us if you have questions or if you'd like to purchase the gift certificate over the phone – 1-800-FLTODAY is the number, 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.
You know, a we wrap things up here, I want you to try and remember for just a minute what it was like to be a child at Christmastime, when you were excited about everything that was going on, and about the gifts that were starting to appear under the tree.
Now, what if someone had come to you as a child and said, "This year at Christmas, every gift you receive, somebody is going to give you a second Christmas gift. You're going to get twice as many gifts this year as you did last year." Obviously, back when you were nine years old, you'd have gotten pretty excited about that.
Well, we have had something like that happen here at FamilyLife. We had some friends who came to us during the month of December and said, "We'd like to encourage your regular listeners to join with us and make a donation to FamilyLife Today," and so they have agreed that they will match every donation we receive during December on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to a total of $500,000.
So when you go online or call us and make a donation of $50, we get $50 from this other group, and it goes on that way all the way to $500,000. We are hoping we can take full advantage of this matching gift opportunity this month, but it that's going to happen, we need to hear from as many of you as possible with whatever kind of donation you can make here at the end of the year.
Keep in mind that donations are tax-deductible, and you can donate online at FamilyLife.com. You can call 1-800-FLTODAY, make a donation over the phone, and we do hope to hear from you, and we want you to know that we appreciate you thinking about us here at the end of 2007.
Well, I hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us on Monday when we're going to begin our top five countdown of the top five programs of 2007, but we only have four programs this year because we're not going to do one of our top five on Christmas Day. We've got something special planned for Christmas. We'll explain all of that next week. I hope you can be with us Monday when you'll hear what program number four is in our top four countdown.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back on Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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