America’s got talent, but what talent?

I have seen the show “America’s Got Talent,” primarily because it comes on during the summer and there’s not a whole lot to challenge it. If you’ve never seen it before, the gist is a bunch of individuals or groups get up on stage to dance, juggle, sing, wiggle their pecs (some dudes did this last year to the tune of Dueling Banjos), etc., to display their talent. Then some judges including David Hasselhoff and Ozzy Osbourne’s wife get to judge the performance.

Toward the end of April, my wife and I went to our denomination’s church planting assessment center. While we didn’t juggle, sing or wiggle, we were being evaluated for talent in the area of church planting. It was a fairly intense week of scrutiny through a number of avenues: discussing case studies, informal times during meals, preaching and presentations.

However our Hasselhoffs and Osbournes primarily used extensive evaluations previously filled out by two mentors/overseers, two peers and two disciples. From all of these resources, they seek to confirm those with special gifts in church planting, direct those who need to apprentice first, and encourage others to seek a different direction.

One evening I expressed my frustration with the artificiality of having my every move watched like Jim Carey in “The Truman Show.” But one of the evaluators told me, “Geoff, you’re a talented guy; God has something for you.” When I heard that, it really changed my perspective.

Whether church planting was in my future or not, I realized God had something for me. If you are a believer in Christ, you have been given a gift for the purpose of building up and growing a local church. You’ve been given the “talent”; that’s not the question. The question is where to use it.

It may be teaching, it may be overseeing or serving in the nursery, it may be hospitality, greeting, working with youth or seniors. Believers have talent, but often neglect to seek or even listen to evaluation. Thus they can often end up in places that don’t fit their talent. A few simple questions like, “Where do you think I fit best?” or “Do you think I would better at overseeing the nursery, serving with the youth, or more regularly opening my home?”

If you already know the answer to the question “Do I have talent?” and the only issue is “what talent?’ ” Then evaluation will become a far more welcomed house guest.

Geoff Henderson, associate pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church, 4455 30th St. E., Bradenton, can be reached at 727-3408.