I am planning a large event.
Large events, of course, are really made up of small ideas that need to be executed: buy the food, buy the platters, reserve the tables, don’t forget tablecloths, buy Sharpie markers, send a note to the caterer, give University facilities a heads-up… You get the idea. Big things happen as a result of innumerable small, practical acts.
But it has surprised me how many people had resources that I was unaware of until after the fact. Even something as simple as buying a pack of Sharpie markers has resulted in a colleague blinking and saying, “Oh, I wish I’d known you needed those! I have a pack at home I’m never going to use!”
That’s why I smiled when I read recently about the concept of “the resource party.” The idea is to bring people together, have them write down their dreams/goals, and then see who in the group has the resources to help with what. The idea is that, through community, we can accomplish a lot when we pool our resources together. So if you want to, say, run a marathon, maybe at a resource party you’ll discover a marathon runner who has training tips. If you want to adopt a kitten, you might meet someone with an extra litter box, and so on and so forth.
I love this idea, and I love it even more for believers.
I have watched so many ministry dreams die for lack of support or simply because the dreamer didn’t know who to ask. I just need a little money to make these birthday boxes for foster kids, sighs a mother of two, not knowing that the elderly man five pews away is thinking, I sure wish I could donate some money to kids who need it. Someone who wants to plan a major ministry event thinks wow, I don’t have the know-how to pull this off while an event planner sings right beside her in church.
Here’s the truth: everyone has a surplus of something. That something might be time or money or Sharpie markers, a skill or an ability or some wisdom. And someone else probably needs to borrow from that surplus! As a church, we often base our ministry ideas and visions on a combination of things: what our local community needs, what regional and national ministry trends are, our budgets, our history. But I can’t help but wonder what might happen if we got everyone in our congregations together and asked them two questions:
What do you have in surplus to give/offer?
What God dream do you have, and what do you need to make it happen?
I can’t help but think that answering those two honestly would result in a lot of surprising connections, a lot of opportunities, and a surprising increase in growth and in our church relationships. And while it might be burdensome or too much of an ask to organize a Christian resource party, it might well be worth keeping your eyes open for those dreams-in-process and figuring out where your surplus might be able to enable them.
When we give to each other, wonderful things happen. When we give to each other to accomplish dreams for God, the impact will be inestimable.
What’s your surplus, and where can it go?