Deep Imprints

Your Workplace is your Ministry

Category: View from the Pew (page 1 of 2)

These profiles are designed to help pastors get a view of who might be in their congregation on Sunday and see them in a new way.

What box do you fit in?

11741263_sYesterday I talked about self-identity. I’m thinking through this for a reason.

I highly suspect that:

  1. Just as we tend to change careers every 7 years, we also tend to need to redefine our boxes (which means teens aren’t the only ones working on self-identity).
  2. When we are solely defined by what others think of us, that impedes this process.
  3. Men have an easier time of finding their box than women.

This last one deserves some explanation.

Men tend to lead in hierarchies. They think in boxes. In fact, when you move up the hierarchy, you just move your box up. When they leave work, they move to a different hierarchy, and switch hats to dad, or coach, or etc.

Women tend to lead in more of a web. We see the connectedness of things. We self-define through the lens of multiple relationships at a time. Therefore, we don’t have just one box at a time. Neither do we wear one hat at a time.

It is not unusual to plan dinner, create a check list for next week, and council a teen while working on an extensive spreadsheet for next year’s budget. Everything runs into each other, so it is a lot harder to define our ‘place.’

I’ve been talking with friends lately about the lack of women in leadership. I hear from some friends that men would love to have more women in leadership, but when they look for them, they aren’t there.

Where are all the women? They are sitting in 3 boxes, wearing 6 hats, hoping someone will notice the skill set they are so fantastically demonstrating – if anyone could see the whole picture at once. But, when they use their skill set to marshal the entire PTA to raise funds for kids’ field trips, people see the soccer mom or school volunteer. When they navigate medical terminology and negotiate home health care contracts for their family members, they see a dutiful daughter.

I highly suspect that because women self-define several things at once, it appears they don’t have the space to fill an open slot. There is a business adage of this: if you want something done, ask a busy person.

What are we missing?

What would you add to help further this conversation?

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

A church full of missionaries

Wouldn’t it be great if your community knew that your church is the place that people get help? If your congregants were known on the job and in the neighborhoods as people to go to when you need help?

What if your computer genius was known for finding creative solutions to programs that made a difference? If your executive was known as a mentor throughout the business community?

What if your entire congregation thought of themselves as missionaries – and lived their lives accordingly?

I have friends that are missionaries. Many of them work in a secular job on the mission field and just love people as they are. They share their faith in a community that doesn’t know Jesus. They share their mental and emotional resources to be Christ’s hand to those who have only known judgement.

I think the answer starts on the pastoral team. I think that when we see our people as those we have to please, they become consumers. I think when we see them as missionaries, they become missional. It will change how we talk, how we preach, how we disciple and how we lead.

Most of us serve in older churches that don’t turn overnight. We think that change comes through changing programs, changing traditions. The real change comes inside us. What do our people need us to do to make them the best missionaries they can be?

The fresh wind of the Spirit doesn’t mean we have to upturn the apple cart – a lot of times, it just means that we look at the apple cart differently. Your (local) missionaries need a place to connect with each other. They need discipleship to build strong families and strong marriages. They need equipping so that they use their talents, personalities and strengths to make a difference in the world. They need to know God’s voice and His character.

There have been times when I saw the bottom line of my effectiveness in how many people were in the seats on Sundays. I still find value in knowing how many lives are touched – but the truth is that every body who comes on Sunday will touch a lot more people during the week. Those are the people on my heart. How can we reach them? How can we help our church attenders see themselves as missionaries?

I have a couple of ideas, but I am sure you can add many more:

  1. Change our language. Assume that every Christian has a ministry and talk about that from the pulpit. Instead of talking about being Christ’s representative (a very democratic word, I think) talk about finding out what God is doing in people’s lives and shining a light on it.
  2. Draw a parallel between missionaries on the field and missionaries at home. This might really be fun. What if we had a missionary that we support do a google hangout with our congregation on Sunday and talk about what daily life is like for them? How does setting up a household in a foreign land and setting up a household in our city parallel?

Now it is your turn. What are ways that you help your congregants love people who don’t know Jesus?

Leah is coming to your church this Sunday

Enjoy this guest post from the amazing Angela Craig:

Do you know Leah?

You may or may not notice Leah right away. She is reserved, melting into the background. Leah would consider herself a wall flower and a no-body.

It is no wonder Leah feels this way about herself. Her parents gave her a name that means, “wild-cow,” “weary,” and “tired.” She has worn negative labels all her life, including, unloved and unwanted.

Sitting in the shadows of her beautiful sister, Rachel, Leah has never known what it meant to be center-stage, or on the stage at all for that matter. Leah was always the one hidden behind the curtain.

Whereas the Leah of the bible was married to a man who never loved her and was tricked into marrying her; your Leah might wonder if anyone will ever love her, or if her husband (if she is married) really wants to leave.

Can you help Leah know and experience God’s unwavering love and acceptance for her?

Can you help her see herself the way God sees her?

Leah has never known what unconditional love is and will probably wonder about people’s motives are when they reach out. She finds it easy to compare herself to others and feels that she will never live up to the expectations of others. She is not only critical of herself but jealous of others. It will take a time investment in Leah’s life to help her understand the truth of God’s word about her life and the safe friendships that Christian community can bring.

One of the best ways to help Leah connect to community and begin to experience the unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus is by helping her realize her strengths in the body of Christ. Leah needs to know that regardless of what life looks like on the outside, God has a destiny for her to fulfill and a legacy for her to leave in the Kingdom of God!

Leah needs a community where she is accepted for her individual gifts that God has given her. When she finds this, she will be able to strip off the old tattered labels and replace them with what God’s word reveals about her.

Can you help Leah know and experience a Godly love and acceptance?

Will you help her replace the old labels of worthlessness with new labels of God’s word?

Can you help her build strong and trusting relationships in community?

Can you invest time in helping her discover and develop her strengths in the body of Christ so she can fulfill her destiny and leave a lasting legacy on God’s Kingdom?


The people in this “Coming to Your Church This Sunday” series aren’t real – even those who are designed from television characters. They are a compilation of people we have known, read about, heard of and heard from throughout the years. Their purpose is to help church leaders get to know those in their congregation and those who might walk through the door. If you see yourself in them, you just have a lot in common with the rest of the human race. 

Angela Craig is the Director of Women’s Ministry for the Northwest Ministry Network. She has just written a new bible study, called The Story of Leah: When Life Is Not What You Expected It To Be. You can buy it on Amazon, or get the free kindle version on November 19. To get to know Angela, visit her blog site:



Revolution is coming to your church today

Hopefully, real revolution will come to your church this Sunday. This revolution could be a new, dynamic and lasting dependence on God. A need for change is often triggered by a catastrophic event, much like the show Revolution.

There is a reason so many of our movies and TV shows are set in the post-apocalyptic genre. As much as a third of your church this Sunday will relate in some way to the characters on the new show Revolution.

In recently years a huge portion of Americans have had large transition events. They might have lost a job, lost their retirement savings, had a health event, just to name a few.

When the world suddenly changes, it is hard to keep your head up and  face forward. The only way that I know how is:

  1. Really trust that God is in control.
  2. Hold things lightly. Instead of depending on things to give us security, we have to be willing to lean on God. (This is what “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” means.)
  3. Find someone else to help.

The people on Revolution have been devastated by the loss of electricity to their world. One woman carries around an IPhone (now useless) because the only pictures she has of her children are in the phone. The story is about how people use power and relationships to survive a cataclysmic event.

Not all catastrophes are world wide. Some take place in a hospital room, or a car accident, or a bank account.

There are people who will be in your church on Sunday who have experienced life’s devastation this week.

Will you structure your service so that they will hear again the choruses that bring them to Christ’s throne?

Will you offer altar time so that they can lay their lives again before the only One who doesn’t change?

Will you bring the Word of Hope and Purpose?

Monday will come soon enough. These people need to be reminded of what is real – that God loves them, has called them, and has a purpose through all of life’s events.


The people in this “Coming to Your Church This Sunday” series aren’t real – even those who are designed from television characters. They are a compilation of people we have known, read about, heard of and heard from throughout the years. Their purpose is to help church leaders get to know those in their congregation and those who might walk through the door. If you see yourself in them, you just have a lot in common with the rest of the human race. 

Kate Beckett is coming to your church this Sunday

Image from Stana Katic’s Wikipedia page

Kate’s bio reads:

One of the youngest women to ever make homicide detective with the NYPD, Kate Beckett is a tough, smart, first-class investigator known for being a closer. She’s also gained a reputation as a detective who’s intrigued by the sort of cases that don’t fit neatly into a box. It’s a reflection of her ongoing quest for justice.

You might not recognize Kate right away, but you already have Kate Becketts in your congregation. Kate followed her heart and passion right into an occupation more traditionally held by men. She is tough and street wise, yet surprisingly vulnerable once you get below the surface.

Kate’s focus and passion is her work. She is driven by trauma (in her case, her mother’s murder) in your Kate’s case it might be a failed relationship, or something more devastating. The bottom line is that she has become convinced that the world is unsafe and she can only really depend on herself. Trust and friendship don’t come easily, and this is doubly so with her relationship with God.

When we learn to depend on ourselves to the exclusion of others, we tend to develop a cynicism.  It is easy to see other people through the lens of their detriments instead of focusing on their strengths. This helps keep people at arms length.

Can you help Kate realize the basics: We our powerless; God is powerful; We must let Him in and ask Him for His solution.

One of the best ways you can help Kate is to connect her to a few other strong, independent women who are the wage earners for their households. You’ll need a facilitator, because this group won’t gel easily, but once it does, it will be like glue. We learn from each others stories. One way to break down the cynicism is to lift the veil and help people see the heart of those they would otherwise judge.

If you connect Kate with a church project, realize that her professionalism will likely cause friction. She is used to dealing with people in her work world, and people in the church typically need a softer approach. Instead of removing her, find a connector person who can help those in the group understand Kate for her strengths, and help Kate see the people behind the functions.

Kate is likely single, because she tends to pick relationships that will fit her model of the world. She finds men undependable and irresponsible. The only way you can help her break this pattern is to help her rewrite her model through God’s perspective.

God created us for community. When we realize that we aren’t the only one (of whatever, it changes for each person), then we begin the trek to community and transformation. When you help Kate build relationships in the church, you are also helping her to strengthen those relationship muscles so she will be able to respond to God’s call for deeper relationship.

Kate needs people she can trust, and she needs to lower her guard and let God be in charge.

Can you show Kate that God is dependable and not capricious? 

Can you help her break down her walls and develop real relationships?

Can you show her God’s dependable model of the world so she can move forward into functional relationships?

Can you help Kate really know God and see herself the way God sees her?

Her future depends on it, and your church needs Kate’s strong, professional approach, and the world Kate lives in needs her to be dependent on God, not on herself so they can know Him too.


The people in this “Coming to Your Church This Sunday” series aren’t real – even those who are designed from television characters. They are a compilation of people we have known, read about, heard of and heard from throughout the years. Their purpose is to help church leaders get to know those in their congregation and those who might walk through the door. If you see yourself in them, you just have a lot in common with the rest of the human race. 

Richard Castle is coming to your church this Sunday

picture from the Richard Castle Wikipedia

Do you know Richard Castle?

Rick is a creative. He writes books. Now the television character is dripping with dough and good looks. Your Richard Castle might not have reached his stride just yet.

Richard’s creative side might not show up in a great ability to write. He might be an actor, a singer or an artist.

The latest science shows that when people are creative, they experience a reduction in critical thinking and long-term memory and as heightened emotionality.

Your Rick Castle is likely to live in his emotions more than some people, but this doesn’t mean he understands them. He probably doesn’t understand how his personality and his relationship with God mesh. Many creatives do no value themselves, and tend to see what is wrong instead of what is right.

You can help!

Take time to help your Rick connect with the strengths God gave him and learn to walk with freedom, compassion and joy.

Take time to listen to Rick. Many of our creatives in today’s culture are actually our prophets. They see life a bit differently than the rest of us, and much like the kings of old, we need to train ourselves to listen to see what God is really saying.

Create opportunities for Rick to use his gifts in worship and in ministry. Many people in your church express themselves through art. Do you have an opportunity for them to share their creations? Does your church allow for creative worship expressions? How do you train creatives to take part in worship through of their giftings?

Sometimes we think that if everyone would just follow, life would be easier. However, God isn’t really into us having our agenda. He wants us to be on His agenda. The creatives in your church are His gift to help you connect with God’s agenda.

Can you show them how much God values them?

Can you invite them to engage with God through their gifts?

Will you help them engage with the Body and share their talent for the benefit of God’s Kingdom?


The people in this “Coming to Your Church This Sunday” series aren’t real – even those who are designed from television characters. They are a compilation of people we have known, read about, heard of and heard from throughout the years. Their purpose is to help church leaders get to know those in their congregation and those who might walk through the door. If you see yourself in them, you just have a lot in common with the rest of the human race. 

Rachel Pirzad is coming to your church this Sunday

Photo from IMDB website

You won’t actually have a TV character in your church this Sunday, but you will probably have several people who identify with Rachel.

Rachel has the gift of hyper-focus. She can pay attention to minute details through one of the five senses at a time. She might look at something and zoom into the microscopic level, or hear something from rooms away. Rachel lives in the details of life.

Those with Rachel’s ability to focus on the details might miss the big picture at times. They might even feel like middle to late adapters as far as change, but it is because they are waiting to see if the details are taken care of. Listening to them is important.

Just like Rachel is a valuable member of the Alphas team, so are the detail people of your congregation.

However, they need your help. Detail people might get lost in the minutia of life. Part of that tendency is one for control. Detail people have a tendency to care about…well, the details – and those of us who glaze over the little things drive them nuts. This frustration might cause some to control projects to make sure things get done right.

Rachel has overcome this by learning to tune things out. She uses ear plugs, for example, to drown out the world and give herself mental space. In a similar way, many in your congregation need to learn to tune into God and let His voice direct them. Can you help your “Rachels” learn to trust God? When they see details that don’t work, teach them to take those issues to God and ask for His perspective.

Rachel might love ministry jobs such as organizing, cleaning or creative achievements. She is also probably quite compassionate and, in my experience, the detailed ladies are some of the best prayer warriors. Rachel is also a valuable part of the ministry team, bringing a perspective that others miss.

You might need to help her trust and respect those who aren’t so detailed (and vice-versa). A solid understanding of God’s use of people from all backgrounds can help each of us see our own strengths and weaknesses as part of the greater fabric of the Body of Christ, knit together into something much greater than ourselves.

Can you help Rachel, with her unique viewpoint, find her place in the Body of Christ?

Can you value her input and help her take her place in the fabric of your church? 

Can you help her tune into God and hear his voice above all the other noise?


The people in this “Coming to Your Church This Sunday” series aren’t real – even those who are designed from television characters. They are a compilation of people we have known, read about, heard of and heard from throughout the years. Their purpose is to help church leaders get to know those in their congregation and those who might walk through the door. If you see yourself in them, you just have a lot in common with the rest of the human race. 

Bill Harken is coming to your church this Sunday

Photo from Malik Yoba’s facebook page

Bill Harken is one of the characters on the television show Alphas.

No, I don’t think you are actually going to have someone with superpowers at your church, but there will definitely be some people in your church who understand and identify with Bill.

Will you be able to help Bill know God, see himself the way that God does, and have a new sense of purpose?

Bill has a rage problem. When he is faced with a threatening situation, his adrenals pump overtime, and he becomes a destruction machine.

Recently, in one of his rages, he completely lost himself. When he “woke up” he had destroyed most of a room.

The people in your church who understand Bill know what it is to be overrun by their body chemistry. Their problem might be anger, it might be dependencies like drugs or alcohol.

Samson was a man like Bill. He made decisions based on his cravings, and most of the time it wasn’t a good decision. Yet, God used him – just as he was. Samson messed up – repeatedly – and God used him anyway.

Peter was also known to be rash and violent – he even chopped of the ear of the servant in the Garden; yet God not only used him, but he was one of the trusted three best friends of Jesus.

God doesn’t look to see if we have it all together, and He doesn’t wait for us to get it right.

Bill will become a mighty leader, much like Peter. First, he must learn to wait on God to renew his strength. As he learns to hear God’s Spirit, he will find his own spirit being renewed. As his spirit is renewed, it will begin to change his mind, will and emotions. He will be strengthened from the inside. When we are changed from the inside out, even our bodies start to comply.

The flip side to having so much potential is the ability to feel so worthless. When Bill loses it, he feels completely powerless. His healing will begin when you help him acknowledge that he is, indeed truly powerless, but God is powerful – and has made him a man with a destiny.

Can you help Bill listen for God’s voice?

Can you help him get to know God and let God work on him from the inside out?

Can you teach him to listen like Peter and let God empower him to fulfill his purpose?

Will you give him the support and reassurance he needs to admit he is powerless and God is powerful? Can you walk him to the foot of the throne as he asks God to fix it?


The people in this “Coming to Your Church This Sunday” series aren’t real – even those who are designed from television characters. They are a compilation of people we have known, read about, heard of and heard from throughout the years. Their purpose is to help church leaders get to know those in their congregation and those who might walk through the door. If you see yourself in them, you just have a lot in common with the rest of the human race. 

Hannah is coming to your church this Sunday

Hannah is coming to your church this Sunday.

Until two weeks ago, Hannah lived at home. For the first time in her life, she is on her own and looking for stability.

Research shows that most of your college student visitors will be in the first three weeks of the school year. Are you ready for them?

Here is a sneak peak:

The college students that visit your church will either come because their mom/grandma nagged them, because they loved their youth group back home, or because a new friend invites them. Most that seek out a church have had some experience with church in the past.

College students are in a new situation. They are looking for ways to make their new life work. Those who have had faith in the past will reach out and try, at least once, to connect with God in a similar fashion.

These students need cheerleaders. They need opportunities to pour out their heart to God, and they need friends.

Hannah is going to be going to school full time, and working. She will live in the dorms, in an attempt to develop some independence and meet new friends.

Hannah is lonely and looking for a way to fit. If she comes to your church and no one talks to her, she isn’t likely to keep coming back.

Hannah and other kids who leave home for the first time have to figure out how to fill their off hours, fulfill their responsibilities, and find that “place” where they fit. A Christian group of friends can really help with this.

Here are a couple ideas:

Prepare a welcome pack for students. It should be something practical and fun, but also include online and in-person connection points. In Seattle, we might put together an kit with an umbrella, a travel mug, a pack of pens or a data drive, and coupons/gift cards to Starbucks, Jamba Juice and Panera Bread. In that pack we would also put an invite to the next hang out night, the next event, and a link to the online hangout spot (like the college Facebook page). This pack will cost you $10-25, but you are investing in the life of a young person who is going to change the world. Hannah is worth it.

DO NOT hand out the packets in service. Instead, take the opportunity to greet these new young people at the door (this means you’ll need to train your greeters on spotting new people) with a welcome packet and help them feel appreciated from the moment they walk in the door.

Also, plan a college-age event by the third week of school – something fun and unique. My first week in college, a bunch of guys took a bunch of Freshmen to the top of Gasworks Park hill in Seattle at about 10pm. This is a hill, on the edge of a lake, kind of in the heart of the city. What a unique experience to see the city from this perspective! All the lights were amazing. Then the leaders pointed out that each of those lights represented at least one person who needs to know Jesus. I think that moment defined my future as a city dweller. It also cemented me as part of a group of people. I was no longer alone.

Will you help Hannah connect?

Will you show her just how important she is?

Want more information on the kids coming to your university? Here are some sites to check out:

The Barna Group

College Ministry Thoughts

Hannah needs you to know she is there this week. She needs you to show her that she is significant, and that God really understands transitions. Will you take the time to help her connect? The friends we make in college are often our friends for life. You will be impacting Hannah for decades if you help her feel loved and valued today.


The people in this “Coming to Your Church This Sunday” series aren’t real. They are a compilation of people we have known, read about, heard of and heard from throughout the years. If you see yourself in them, you just have a lot in common with the rest of the human race. 

Trina is coming to your church this Sunday

Trina is in a situation that is of her own making – at least she thinks so.

You see, last Tuesday she got home a bit late from work and didn’t get dinner done on time. The kids were cranky, and the tension in the house boiled to the point that her husband blew a gasket.

Later, after the kids were in bed, she tried to talk to him, and in his humiliation, frustration and inebriated state, he lashed out at her, smacking her across the face.

Why does she think she caused the situation? Because she married this man. She knows it isn’t right to hit, but she feels trapped in this codependent relationship.

1 in 4 women in the US has experienced domestic violence in her life time. 74% or three in four people in your congregation know or have known someone who has experienced domestic violence. (Source)

Trina is trapped in a place of poverty. Not just a physical poverty, but a poverty of spirit. She doesn’t have enough strength on the inside to stand up for her family and build a different future for her kids.

According to the World Health Organization, worldwide domestic abuse (or “intimate partner and sexual violence”) risk factors include:

  • lower levels of education (perpetrators and victims);
  • exposure to child maltreatment (perpetrators and victims);
  • witnessing parental violence (perpetrators and victims);
  • antisocial personality disorder (perpetrators);
  • harmful use of alcohol (perpetrators and victims);
  • males who have multiple partners or are suspected by their partners of infidelity (perpetrators); and
  • attitudes that are accepting of violence (perpetrators and victims).

Trina is going to show up Sunday at church (bruises hidden) because she wants desperately to belong. She hopes that an outside influence will somehow change her children’s future. It just might.

How can you help Trina?

Deep down in the ocean, is a place where the pressure is so great that even submarines will get squished. Yet, down there in this deep dark place, fish live. How do these fish live at such great depth? The fish that live down there have a pressure inside of them that is equal to the pressure on the outside. Therefore, they are able to survive.

Trina and her family are in a high-pressure situation. Trina is currently being squashed by her situation, and is unable to get out. If you were to convince Trina to leave, chances are high she would return and the violence would escalate. In fact. on average, a woman who leaves a domestic abuse situation will return 4 or 5 times before leaving for good. Even more women who leave this sort of situation jump right into a similar or worse situation.

Trina needs you to introduce her to God’s grace, forgiveness, peace and joy. She needs to know that God loves her, even in her situation, and that He has a plan for her life. She also needs to know that God doesn’t just love her, but He loves her husband too. God has a plan to bring this family to wholeness.

Can you help her understand the indwelling Spirit of God?

Can you teach her to hear God’s voice?

As God infuses her with His Spirit, she will develop strength for her situation. Obviously, this situation is not healthy. Trina needs God’s answer so that she will have the strength to bring God’s healing answer to her family.

Here are some things you can do to help Trina:

  1. Have a women’s group that is safe, private (what is said here, stays here) and prayerful.
  2. Know at least two options for women in abuse situations. What shelters are available? What would it be like for a woman with children to go to one of those shelters?
  3. Have a secure prayer request system – either online, via phone, or a drop box – that will allow people in desperate situations to reach out anonymously. Telling someone that you are in a bad situation is the first step to recovery. Sometimes the first baby step is to do so anonymously.
  4. Recognize from the pulpit that the many of the people in your congregation are being or have been affected by some sort of domestic abuse – either in their family of origin, perhaps a boyfriend or girlfriend, or their current living situation. This experience puts them more at risk for perpetuating the dysfunction. We all need our minds renewed by God’s Spirit. We need God’s perspective so that we can live as people of grace, peace and joy even in hard times. Let your people know the only real choices they have in life is whether to believe Jesus and whether to act or react in any situation.

Please pray for the Trina’s in your congregation. Women aren’t the only ones abused – there is a growing trend where women are the abusers. Not only do the abused need support and grace, but those who are making the bad decisions of violence are precious people to God as well. Pray for those whose anger is ruining their lives.

Let’s help Trina build a home of faith and peace. It will make a secure and different future for her children, and eventually, her grandchildren.


The people in this “Coming to Your Church This Sunday” series aren’t real. They are a compilation of people we have known, read about, heard of and heard from throughout the years. If you see yourself in them, you just have a lot in common with the rest of the human race. 
If you, or someone you know is suffering in an abusive situation, you can call:
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Staffed 24 hours a day by trained counselors who can provide crisis assistance and information about shelters, legal advocacy, health care centers, and counseling.

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TDD)


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