fbpx
Demystifying Mentoring

Demystifying Mentoring

Mentoring is a word that has been getting a lot of attention, yet It seems to be shrouded in mystery and confusion. Most have an understanding that mentoring involves an experienced individual willing to advise or support someone less experienced in a particular aspect of life. But then the questions arise: How do I engage in mentoring? Am I capable of being a mentor? Is this something I should pursue? And, of course, Where can I find a mentor?

Historically, church mentoring programs have focused on the Titus 2 ministry as a role designated for older women mentoring younger women. However, as we look more closely at Scripture, we see that it is not exclusive to women. It is a broader concept.

 

The Biblical Example of Mentoring

There are many Old Testament examples of mentoring for guidance and support. Jethro mentored his son-in-law Moses, showcasing how mentoring can have a familial dimension. Moses, in turn, mentored Joshua, who went on to mentor the other army leaders. Mentoring is an integral facet of good leadership. Eli mentored Samuel, who in turn mentored Saul and David. Eventually, David became the king of Israel and extended his mentorship to Solomon. Mordecai mentored Esther, who God used to save his people. These are just a few Old Testament examples that show the transformative power of mentoring. Similarly, the New Testament is rich with mentoring examples, especially from the disciples and early church members, from which our present-day discipleship and spiritual formation classes come.

Ordinary people see a need and answer the call to make a difference in the lives of others. A succession of mentoring relationships can have a domino effect. Mentoring changes lives, and not just the life of the one being mentored; it can have a profound impact across generations. 

Mentoring is a call for spiritually mature men and women to journey with those younger in their faith and pour into them. While it can take the form of a structured program, it certainly doesn’t have to. Mentoring is doing and sharing life with those God has placed in your path. Some of the best mentoring happens in simple moments over a cup of tea or a casual conversation in the midst of everyday life. It is becoming the person you needed when you were younger. Sometimes our mentors may be years ahead of us, other times they may be just a step ahead. This is a call for every age. A younger person can be a mentor to an older person.

 

We All Need a Mentor

No matter how put together we are or think we are, we are all broken, and broken people do hurtful, stupid, and sinful things. We are all in need of a Savior in Jesus, as well as at least one faithful friend and a mentor. What does mentoring look like in your life? It might be helpful to reflect on the influence mentors have had on you. Whether we realize it or not, we have all experienced the impact of mentors, and we have all served as mentors in some way. Sometimes it can be a friend willing to ask the hard questions or someone less connected to us who shows us another viewpoint from their life experience.

I am profoundly grateful for those who looked at the messy, younger me and chose to pour into me anyway. While they could have chosen to gossip or criticize me, some chose to roll up their sleeves and walk alongside me, helping me become the woman I was called and created to be. I honestly do not believe I would be who I am today without these dear souls. 

One example is an older woman who poured into me by teaching me the value of studying the word of God for myself. She took me to my first Bible conference. We had many cups of tea together as I grew spiritually. In many ways she was my spiritual mom. She is now home with Jesus and I often wish I would have asked her why she was willing to spend so much time with me. The shape of her life now intertwines with mine. Her mark on my life is evidenced in so many ways: my love of studying the word of God, joy in teaching others, gardening, and even enjoying a good game of baseball.

Sometimes mentoring isn’t about Bible study, but sharing practical information.  A woman heard that I wanted to learn to make jelly. While this might not seem important to some, it was a big deal to me. One day she showed up at my door with grape juice, jars, and all the things necessary to make jelly. That afternoon, as I learned a new skill, we talked about parenting. She measured, and I talked. I poured the jelly into jars, I listened. When she left, I had a dozen jars of jelly, a desire fulfilled, a new skill, and so much more.  

These are just two examples of women who have poured into me over the years. Women who made me feel loved and valued. Some have been in my life to teach me a single concept, while others became lifelong friends.

 

A Change of View

Being mentored has also shaped how I view other women. Now I see them as mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends. If we look through that lens, there is no room for competition, judging, or gossiping. It leaves space for growing together in community. We talk about wanting to leave a legacy, and mentoring offers a fresh avenue to do that, all in the name of Jesus.  

One might wonder if they have what it takes to be a good mentor, if they have anything of value to offer others, or if they are spiritually ready. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to mentoring. God has uniquely shaped each of us for the individuals he intends for us to mentor. 

For the believer, having a faith walk and an ongoing prayer life are essential. Without these foundational disciplines, we might attempt to rely on our own strength. And that “strength” can lead to issues such as pride that are not God-honoring.

 

Called to Mentor

While mentoring is a call for everyone, there are specific requirements. The first step is simply to respond to the need. The second is to have an open heart that is willing to listen—really listen—to others before speaking. Listening is so important and is a great way to begin mentoring. Too often, we jump in with advice or throw around Bible verses before we know someone’s story.  

Another essential skill in successful mentoring relationships is a willingness to be vulnerable with others, vulnerable enough to share your story when appropriate. Men and women are waiting for us to be willing to show up and be there for them, and each of us have life experiences that uniquely shape us to pour into the lives of others. A good mentor sees what someone needs and is willing and available to accompany them through life. 

 

An Unlikely Pair

Trying to find a mentor or finding someone to mentor can feel overwhelming because of our tendency to overcomplicate things. Go where the people are! If we are praying and show up, God will direct the right people to our path—those whom we are to mentor or those who are to mentor us. 

In the movie Four Feathers, a British soldier goes through a devastatingly hard time, leaving England in disgrace. In hopes of regaining his honor he goes to the Sudan. A desert prince finds him and is instrumental in helping him put the pieces of his life back together. An unlikely pair. When the soldier is ready to go back to England, more healed and whole, he asks the prince, “Why did you help me?” His response sums up mentoring so beautifully, “Because God put you in my way. I had no choice.” An unlikely pair that only God could put together. The beauty of mentoring is that God puts unlikely people in our path, to help grow them, grow us, and ultimately glorify himself.               

If you want to be mentored, begin with prayer. Then, when you find a brother or sister you want to learn from, be vulnerable enough to ask. Asking doesn’t mean they will say yes, and even if they agree, the relationship might not always flourish. If it doesn’t, keep trying and trust that God has the right people walking with you at just the right time.

 

Mentoring Boundaries         

Being a mentor does not mean being someone’s everything. Rarely will you teach/mentor someone in all areas of their life. Each of my mentors brought something different into my life, influencing me in specific ways or areas of life. 

Healthy boundaries also need to be part of any mentoring relationship. A healthy boundary could be as simple as no calls after a certain time. Boundaries help foster a respectful attitude toward each other’s time, and this part of healthy mentoring is a two-way street. While one might be the mentor and another is being mentored, we need to remember that there is wisdom to be gained from each other. Younger individuals grow and stretch us in ways our peers might not.  

When I was a younger woman, I longed for older women to encourage, guide, and come alongside me. God was gracious and answered those prayers. Are you willing to let God use you as an answer to someone’s prayer? 

That is what a mentor is—an answer to someone’s prayer.      

How to REALLY Give the Benefit of the Doubt

How to REALLY Give the Benefit of the Doubt

In 1860, Dr. Thomas Inman recommended that his fellow medical professionals not prescribe a medicine for a cure if they weren’t sure it would work. Dr. Inman encouraged his colleagues to “give the patient the benefit of our doubts.”

We hear this phrase and think that all it means is that we should stop being so critical, minimize our differences, and assume the best in people. In one sense that is true. But giving someone the benefit of the doubt has more to do with the one giving the benefit than the one receiving it. When we give someone the benefit of the doubt, we tend to think that it is tantamount to saying “They are probably just having a bad day” or “I’m sure she didn’t mean that” or “He must not really understand everything that he’s saying.” When I say these things to myself, even in all sincerity, I am still placing the onus of the problem on the other person. I am still claiming that the reason there is tension or division is because of a deficiency of some kind in the other person, not me. The problem is due to something lacking in them, not me.

To truly give someone the benefit of our doubts is to assume the humble posture and perspective that says “There may be something I am not seeing correctly” or “Perhaps I don’t have my facts straight.” To really give someone the benefit of the doubt implies that we have some level of epistemic humility as we hold our viewpoints and opinions in dialogue with others. It also means that we own up and admit as much to the other person when we recognize this to be the case.

This is in part what the apostle Paul means in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians when he writes…

1 Corinthians 13:4–7
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

One of the ways we display the kindness and patience of love with others is by bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring all things. That list of “all things” that Paul mentions is a way of saying that love gives the benefit of our doubts to others. How can we increase our love for others and decrease our resentment of others? By properly giving others the benefit of our doubts.

So how do we do that?

A major prerequisite for really giving someone the benefit of our doubts is knowing the functional distinction between convictions, persuasions, and opinions. This is imperative because it is rather common to find these three things being used interchangeably and synonymously in conversations in our culture. But there is a world of difference between a conviction and an opinion. And as such, there is a world of difference between how you should hold, view, and communicate a conviction in comparison to an opinion.

Let’s briefly look at each of these so that we know what we are talking about and how to more genuinely give others the benefit of our doubts.

Conviction-something you hold to be true without question or concern. “I am willing to die for this.”

Persuasion-something you are inclined to believe but you are open to be challenged on. “I am willing to fight for this.”

Opinion-something you are drawn to but you could take it or leave it. “I am willing to let go of this.”

This is not an exact science, nor are these categories meant to be static. As we grow, learn, struggle, and experience things throughout our lives we should expect to see persuasions move to convictions and convictions move all the way down to opinions. And perhaps we might expect something to move into a fourth category that Dr. Martin Luther King referred to as “pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities.” Things that no one should care about because no one else cares about them.

Simply having a clear and functional understanding of these categories can help us tremendously as we engage in conversation and debate with people. But we must do the hard work of clarifying and admitting to ourselves and to others which category this subject falls into for us.

Problems arise in relationships and conversations when we hold opinions as strongly as we do convictions and vice versa. Additionally, we find tensions develop when we miscategorize other people’s convictions, persuasions, and opinions. It might be a worthwhile exercise in your next heated conversation with a co-worker or family member to simply ask them what category this subject falls into for them? You may find that framing the discussion in the proper category may mitigate a great deal of unnecessary tension and conflict.

So as we think about giving people the benefit of our doubts, one key way we can do that is to first admit to ourselves that we just might be expressing an opinion disguised as a conviction. This reminds me of that great scene in the Pixar movie Inside Out where a box of opinions and a box of facts spill over and get mixed up. And the character Joy says “All these facts and opinions look the same. I can’t tell them apart.” This happens so often in conversation.

If we are to grow in genuine love for others then we must learn how to genuinely give the benefit of our doubts. And that requires knowing the difference between our convictions, persuasions, and opinions.

But knowing is half the battle. The other half is found in communicating each of those categories with grace, humility, and slowness.

As the New Testament writer James so convincingly declares…

James 1:19
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean you must share it. Think through if what you want to share needs to be shared. And if it needs to be shared you should ask yourself if now is the time. And do you have all of the information you need in order to speak up?

There is timeless wisdom in the book of Proverbs on this subject. Here are just a few nuggets of stinging insight.

Proverbs 18:13
If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.

Proverbs 18:17
The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.

Proverbs 18:2
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.

Proverbs 17:28
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

My paraphrase of that last proverb goes like this. “If you aren’t smart, try shutting up.”

In a day and age when convictions are held like opinions and opinions are shouted as if they were convictions we could stand to learn a great deal about the loving practice of really giving people the benefit of our doubts. But that’s just my opinion.

A Skeptic Goes to Church

A Skeptic Goes to Church

By Colman Murphey


I wasn’t raised in a church, but I decided to attend a year ago, and here I am a year later, still attending. I’ll try to sum up the reasons for that decision as concisely as I can, because I really could write a thousand-plus words about it.

Back in my college days, I listened to a lot of Jordan Peterson’s podcasts (I can maybe feel some eyes roll at this statement). He cracked the defenses I’d built up in my ignorant youth against all that is traditional. Suddenly, I became aware that the stories in the Bible contained powerful truths that pertain to the lives of all people, religious or secular. 

My memory isn’t perfect (probably due to the undergraduate alcohol culture) but I think it was after hearing many things that Jordan Peterson had to say that I started to notice a light emanating from the people of faith I encountered in random places. By light, I mean that their behavior resonated positively with me in some way. I did not literally see light around them.

I remember I felt particularly good when a stranger at the financial aid office said “God bless you” as thanks when I directed him to some other administrative office he was trying to find. I remember Anna and Nick, who were fellow counselors at the summer camp where I worked. They did not keep their faith a secret, and it seemed they were working with children for all the right reasons. I remember George, a history major studying at CUNY Hunter College in Manhattan whose coptic faith seemed to animate his passion for history. I felt these people were particularly admirable and I would remember them years later. 

During the pandemic, I moved to Kansas City and I had to start rebuilding my social life. I made a few friends through work, but I was also ready to try new things. Over the years, I had consumed a great deal of media produced by public intellectuals like Jordan Peterson and Glenn Loury. I found myself not as comfortable sharing my thoughts or being myself around the people I usually associated with through school and work. I hate confrontation, and I can be very timid when it comes to sharing contrarian views, so politics and religion were off the table most of the time, even though I was deeply interested in those topics. 

At the time, I was doing an online church with some friends back home, and I remember how those sermons empowered me to face the challenges of my job when other activities didn’t. They also provided me with validation for certain beliefs. The thought crossed my mind that maybe going to church in person would be a good idea.

Weirdly enough, I found a link to the Gospel Coalition’s website through a math pedagogy page I was exploring for work. 

I typed in my zip code and Christ Community’s Downtown Campus was the closest church to pop up. I emailed one of the pastors, who suggested we get coffee. When we met, I was relieved by his understanding demeanor. It made me feel relaxed, and I felt comfortable talking openly around him. He invited me to church on Sunday. 

Upon arrival at my first Sunday service, I was warmly greeted by a stranger my age who introduced me to his friends who were similarly welcoming. This receptive environment and the relationships I began to form kept me coming back. I eventually joined the men’s group where I got to meet and converse with guys from all walks of life about topics of masculinity and faith. This environment of a unified group which also contained so many diverse opinions was such a welcome change from others I inhabited in university and at work. Many of the people I met at church were admirable like those other Christians I’d encountered, which didn’t feel like a coincidence. Church has felt like an answer for a deep yearning for community and meaning that I sometimes forgot I had. 

While I’ve found community at church, I wouldn’t consider myself Christian in the colloquial sense. I’m not yet willing to concede that the miracles in the New Testament are historical or more than symbolic. After watching many hours of debates about the resurrection of Jesus on YouTube, I came to the conclusion that if I were to someday believe that Jesus really did rise from the dead, my belief wouldn’t come from rational arguments. Maybe rational arguments would play some role, but the belief would mostly come from something more akin to a feeling powerful enough to fend off the disbelief. 

That isn’t to say that scholarship on the historicity of the gospels hasn’t altered my views. It was interesting to learn from the Wikipedia page on the historicity of the gospels that John’s baptism of Jesus, and Jesus’ crucifixion at Calvary, are held to be historical facts. John’s baptism is supported by something called the criterion of embarrassment which essentially just says early Christians wouldn’t have made up that story since it might have been used to argue that John was in authority above Jesus. The writings of first century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus make reference to Jesus’s crucifixion at Calvary and therefore serve as strong evidence for the historicity of that event. Now that I’ve seen how some aspects of the gospels stand on historically solid ground, I am more open to the possibility that the gospels as a whole may be historically true. 

I also have yet to satisfy many questions before I’m willing to take next steps with Christ. There are other spiritual practices outside of Christianity that seem to produce positive changes in people. How is Christianity reconciled with cognitive behavioral therapy, Buddhist meditations, or reports of positive changes in behavior from therapy involving psychedelic drugs? What about the positive effects that MDMA therapy has reportedly had on people experiencing PTSD? How is Christianity reconciled with the findings of research where cancer patients had their death anxiety alleviated by doses of psilocybin? I want to understand how Christianity can incorporate these findings, and I feel confident there’s a way. I still have a lot of exploring to do, and, in the meantime, I’ll keep attending church.

Does The Local Church Really Matter?

Does The Local Church Really Matter?

We may only be at the beginning of a major health crisis. But it may not be for the reasons that first come to mind. This is what two Harvard researchers are saying in our cultural moment. Tyler VanderWeele, professor of Epidemiology and director of the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University and his associate director, Brendan Case, recently published an article entitled Empty Pews Are An American Health Crisis.  Noting the continuing decline in church attendance in our country, these two Harvard researchers point to a sizable body of research that speaks to how participation in a faith community strongly promotes health and wellness.  Here is what these researchers say. “…Americans’ growing disaffection with organized religion isn’t just bad news for churches; it also represents a public health crisis, one that has been largely ignored but the effects of which are likely to increase in coming years.”  The Harvard researchers offer this conclusion.  “Something about the communal religious experience seems to matter. Something powerful takes place there, something that enhances well being; and it is something very different than what comes from solitary spirituality.…The data are clear, going to church remains central to human flourishing.” 

A bold assertion about the importance of going to church coming from university professors and not from pastors or theologians may be surprising. However the idea that human flourishing and human belonging go hand in hand is anything but a new idea. The Bible tells us God designed the family and the local church to be the primary sustaining institutions for human flourishing. Jesus pointed to his called out community when he said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” 

Jesus makes the case that real faith not only rightly believes; it also deeply belongs. A primary metaphor of the local church in the New Testament is a body. The New Testament writers paint a beautiful picture of the body of Christ with its diversity, unity, interdependence and commitment to one another. As apprentices of Jesus our calling is not to just show up at church–that is an essential part–the goal is to truly belong to a local faith community. Martyred German pastor Dietrich Bonheoffer speaks of Christian faith as a belonging faith. “We are members of a body, not only when we choose to be, but in our whole existence. Every member serves the whole body, either to its health or its destruction. This is no mere theory; it is a spiritual reality” (Life Together, pg. 100). 

We are not only called to Christ; we are called to each other. We simply cannot grow to spiritual maturity, become whole, or truly flourish without embracing a belonging faith. While Sunday morning attendance is very important for a belonging faith, finding a smaller group of Christ Community brothers and sisters in Christ is also very important if we are truly going to flourish and help others flourish.

Do we have a small handful of other Christ Community members who we are doing life with? Are we taking the initiative to know others and be known by others, to share our stories more fully and truly? Who in our faith community knows our joys, hardships, heartaches, burdens, questions, doubts, dreams, and hopes? Who do we know is praying for us? Doing life together in spiritual community unleashes joy in our lives, but it can also be messy, hard and at times disillusioning. We are all broken with flaws and failings. We all look through a mirror dimly and we may see a good number of things differently. We must remember life together now in local church community is not the New Heavens and New Earth that await us in eternity. Embracing with both head and heart a daily kind of hopeful realism is the order of the day. As yoked apprentices walking in the Spirit, let us prayerfully exhibit sacrificial love, a ton of grace and lots of patience with our dear fellow brothers and sisters in our multi-site church family. Truly loving one another in word and deed forges a belonging faith and is the most compelling witness we have to a watching world. 

In this season of Advent let us not only thank God for the gift of the incarnate Son, but also the gift of our local church family. From both the realms of empirical research and biblical revelation we are reminded how much the church really matters in the world. If you have not yet truly embraced a belonging faith and made Christ Community your home, I would encourage you to do so. Reach out to one of our staff about some small group possibilities that are available at your campus. I also believe it is fair to conclude that one of the best ways to love your neighbor is to prayerfully invite them to join you at church. Advent would be a great time to take that loving step. 

 

 

   

 

 

 

   

 

‘He Shall Be Called…’: Introducing the Names of God

‘He Shall Be Called…’: Introducing the Names of God

What’s in a name? You can learn a great deal about someone based on their name. This is nowhere more true than when it comes to the names of God.

The Importance of Names

In western culture, names are a way to conveniently refer to a specific person. This does not mean that names are always arbitrary — often great thought goes into choosing a name that feels right. But in most of our day to day experiences, names are simply a way to refer to someone lest we become stuck in endless conversations trying to identify “Who’s on first?” How difficult and confusing the world would be without names!

However, in the biblical world, names go deeper than simply what something is called, but also communicate something of the nature of the thing or person. In the Bible, names are a window into the essence of who someone is.

This is tremendously important as we consider the names of God. When it comes to God, we don’t want just to know what to call this divine being we worship; we want to know who He is, what He is like, and why He is worthy of worship. The names of God reveal God to us.

Unless God reveals Himself to us, how will we properly identify who “God” is? Left to ourselves, “God” is merely whoever we conceive Him to be. But as Christians, we believe in so much more. In the book 3 2 1: The Story of God, author Glen Scrivener puts it this way: 

“Confessing ‘belief in some kind of god’ is about as appealing as marrying ‘some kind of carbon-based life form’. Who cares about ‘spouses in general’; it’s my Emma who has won my heart. In the same way, who cares about ‘God’? ‘Which god?’ is always the question.”

We don’t just want to believe in some idea of God. We want to believe in the true, personal God, and we want to know that person’s name.

The Names of God and Human Experience

The names of God revealed to us in Scripture — or more precisely, the characteristics of God that the names reveal to us — have enormous implications for our everyday experience. Though it is now largely a relic of the past, many family names demonstrate something of who our ancestors were — Go to Mr. Potter for a new set of dishes, see Mr. Carpenter about a new coffee table, and pick up some flour from Mrs. Miller—and so on.

In a similar way, if we know who God is, we know what we can depend on Him for. We know how to relate to Him. We know how He is able to meet our needs. When we are anxious, we need God to comfort us, and when we are afraid, we need to know that God will protect us. The good news is that God has revealed Himself in ways that speak to the unique needs of our experience, and He has done this so that we may know what sort of relationship we can have and what we can expect from Him. What a comfort and joy it is to know to Whom we belong, why He is worthy of our worship, and what we can expect from Him!

Advent is a fitting season to remember and reflect upon these truths. As the image of God, Jesus is the perfect embodiment of every one of God’s names. More than anywhere else, when we look to Jesus, we see and understand exactly who this God is and what He is like. Just as importantly, as we look to Jesus, we see better than ever how God meets us in our time of need, what sort of relationship we can have with Him, and why Jesus is worthy of our worship. In Jesus, God became man, and the divine nature meets human experience.

As we look back to how God has revealed himself in Jesus, we remember who God is and who He is for us. We are reminded that Jesus is exactly who we need in our experience and why He is worthy of our worship. As we learn together about the names of God, may we grow together in our understanding of who our God is, and see and worship Him foremost as He is revealed in the person of the Lord Jesus.

A Liturgy Against Shame Before Creating

A Liturgy Against Shame Before Creating

The greatest enemy to creativity isn’t lack of time, money, tools, or training. The greatest enemy of creativity and productivity is shame. More than distraction or busyness, shame steals the energy and courage required to create. And even more disastrously, shame disrupts the relationships that are necessary for creating and producing together. Even creative tasks that are undertaken alone are always done in dialogue with other minds, in conversation with other image-bearers. Shame disrupts creativity and productivity causing us to hide from one another. Shame breathes lies. Shame lies and says:

You’re an idiot. You have no business doing this work. You’re going to fail. You always fail. You’re never good enough. You never will be good enough. You’re a fraud. This is so derivative, so unoriginal. Nobody will care about this work. Nobody should care about this work. It’s trash. People will laugh at you. People will steal your work. People will think what you are doing is dumb. 

The louder the voice of shame, the more energy it takes to overcome it and create something good and beautiful. It robs us of energy we could otherwise use to create. This is a major theme in Curt Thompson’s work. Curt is a Christian psychologist and author who writes on the themes of shame and creativity, andt Christ Community recently had the privilege of hosting him for an evening conversation. You can watch his talk HERE and read more in his books The Soul of Shame and The Soul of Desire.

All of us are creating even if we aren’t professional graphic artists or creative writers. Making dinner is a creative act. Building a presentation slide deck and building a deck on your house are creative acts. Putting together spreadsheets and spreading fresh sheets on the bed are creative acts. 

And wherever there is the potential for creativity and ushering goodness and beauty into the world, shame is lurking — seeking at all costs to choke and strangle that creativity. I want to offer you a practice for combating shame when you’re preparing to create. This is a liturgy, a prayer, for combating shame that you can use when you begin a creative endeavor. 

Liturgy Against Shame Before Creating 

All:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
You are the Creator and Sustainer
of everyone and everything,
You uphold the universe by the Word of Your Power.

Leader:
You have made us creative collaborators in your image;
Male and female you have created us. 

Created us to be creative.
Created us to draw out all the fulness and beauty
of the world you have lovingly formed and fashioned.

Yet now as we stand on the precipice of this creative endeavor,
the threshold of this good work,
this good work, O Lord, which you have prepared for us to do,
we find ourselves haunted by shame.

In the face of this shame,
we shrink back, we hide;
we grow suspicious of others,
contemptuous of ourselves.

King Jesus, who for the joy set before You despised the shame of the cross,
teach us now to despise this shame.
Against the lie of shame which says, I am worthless.
We speak the truth of Your voice:

We are fearfully and
wonderfully made.

Against the lie of shame which says, I have nothing to offer.
We speak the truth of Your voice:

We are God’s handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which You prepared in advance for us to do.

Against the lie of shame which says, They can’t be trusted, they will hurt you.
We speak the truth of your voice:

We are all baptized by one Spirit into one body,
we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, defend us now
from all the assaults of shame.
And shepherd us into the green pastures of your goodness and beauty.

Amen.