You have gifts and are a gift: Compass episode 81

You have gifts and you are a gift to the world around you.

Don Everts is a pastor who had a startling realization while dealing with the ups and downs of pastoral and personal life: everyone is a gift. Including that vocal parishioner. Including that strange relative. Including himself.

Including you, too.

Don is the senior pastor of First & Calvary Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Missouri, and is a writer for Lutheran Hour Ministries and the Hopeful Neighborhood Project. Don has spent almost three decades helping people on college campuses and in the local church become good stewards of their God-given gifts. His many books include The Reluctant Witness, The The Hopeful Neighborhood, and, most recently, Discover Your Gifts: Celebrating How God Made You and Everyone You Know… all of which feature original research from Barna and biblical insights for our everyday lives.

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Ryan Dunn (00:05):

This is the compass podcast, where we disrupt the every day with experiences of the divine. In this episode, we're on a mission. It's a mission of understanding. We hope by the end of this episode, you understand this, you have gifts and you are a gift to the world around you. My name is Ryan Dunn. In this episode, I spoke with Don Everts. Don is a pastor who had a startling realization while dealing with the ups and downs of pastoral and personal life. Everyone is a gift that was the realization, including that vocal parishioner, including that strange relative, including himself and including you two. It was a gift for me to speak with Don and get some affirmation. And it's gonna be a gift to you too. So let's get to meeting Don Everts. He is the senior pastor of first in Calvary Presbyterian church in Springfield, Missouri, and is a writer for Luther, our ministries and the hopeful neighborhood project.

Ryan Dunn (01:08):

Don has spent almost three decades helping people on college campuses and in the local church become good stewards of their God. Giving gifts. His many books include the reluctant witness, the hopeful, and most recently discover your gifts, celebrating how God made you and everyone, you know, all of which feature research from Barna and biblical insights for everyday lives. Hey, so just a little note. Technology is amazing. Technology allowed Don and Ida connect over well, thousands of miles. However, you know, technology is not without its glitches. We had one of those glitches at the first part of our conversation with Don Evers, where I had asked him about somebody he wrote about in his book named buzz buzz to sum all this up was Don's stepfather. And unsurprisingly Don was not really thrilled about having buzz in his life to begin with. Not only just because he was a stepfather, but also because buzz was a unique individual.

Ryan Dunn (02:16):

Don was having a hard time recognizing the gifts that Don brought into the world. He had his own eccentricities, so to speak. He was heavily tattooed a motorcyclist. He spoke strangely to Don and he was just a little wary about having him so close to his family. So it was even more surprising when buzz and Don's mother had to move into Don's house. And Don had to make way for this person in his life. It was through a slow process of observation that Don began to observe some really redeeming behaviors, surprisingly nice and pleasant behaviors out of buzz. He realized that his perception of buzz from the get go had been misgiving. That buzz was a gift to the world who had gifts. And there was one key point where Don was listening to buzz, read his son a story and keeping him so entertained at that. It was very, very endearing. So with that background knowledge in mind, we're gonna jump into our conversation with Don Everts about gift and giftedness. So a lot of times when we move in with people that can kind of be a catalyst for things going in the wrong direction, right. So I've had plenty of friends that were great friends and then we lived together for a while and decided a okay, we're, we're better as you know, friends than roommates kind of deal.

Don Everts (03:42):

Right. <laugh> that's right. That's right. That's

Ryan Dunn (03:44):

Right. So is, did something like this happen with Buzz or did it flip the other way? Both

Don Everts (03:49):

<Laugh> so, so like initially and buzz had had a lot of brain damage in his life actually. That's where his being paralyzed came from. He had had, I don't know, a couple dozen brain surgeries and all, so to live with someone who kind of had some challenges and some barriers and kind of how they related with people and how they related to the world and communicated and all that was like constantly frustrating. And it felt Ryan like, you know how you go on a mission trip? And you're like, I am stretched. Like, everything about me is stretched right now <affirmative> boy, but God can meet me in that. It felt like waking up to a mission trip every day, like just being stretched and needing to rely on God. So there was, there were lots of frustrating parts to it and it flipped the other way because I, I, over time, all I saw Ryan, all I saw were his deficiencies and what was frustrating about him.

Don Everts (04:44):

And then I would get these little windows in time, these little moments when I saw his dignity and his beauty and how God had made him. And the gifts that he had, that was the shocker to me was like seeing him, he was sitting, reading a book with my, and initially I was frustrated cuz he was not reading the book. He wasn't reading any of the words on the page. He was like looking at the pictures and like, adlibing some crazy story. Well, here's the deal. Like I judged him initially, but then it was like, my son thinks this is hilarious and he loves it. And he wants to sit with grandpa buzz and I realized like he has these communi gifts and these gifts of comedy and, and relating with other people. So it was like little moment after little moment of seeing beyond my frustration, beyond my initial assessment.

Don Everts (05:35):

Like here's this person with very little gifts, who's mostly represents liability and realizing he's like beautiful and he's delightful. And he has considerable gifts for me, Ryan. That was a huge change of vision and change of heart and kind of in a way, a rebuke from the Lord <laugh> in terms of look at people, how I look at them and it kind of created this moment in my own journey to reevaluate, how does God see people and how is that like, or different how I see people and how does that affect how I treat people and, and on and on. So it, it was a painful and wonderful object lesson <laugh>

Ryan Dunn (06:28):

Yeah, yeah. So often that happens, doesn't it? Where in experience that is wonderful right. Brings a little pain along with it, for sure. Are there ways now that now that you've kind of had this transformation vision, so to speak that you're able to stay grounded in the way in which God might see other people cuz I'm sure that there have been a few other people who have come into your life that you find just a, a little bit annoying or you're struggling to see through the right lens. Yeah,

Don Everts (06:58):

Absolutely. And I'm sure we'll get into the research and the biblical work and all that, but kind of was on a journey for a couple years of kind of going knee deep and like what does the scripture say about this? So the experience with buds was huge and made me pause big time in terms of how I see people kind of like the person who is, I, most of Smiths to his hardest, for me to love, like being able to see, oh, they are fearfully and wonderfully made mm-hmm <affirmative> wow. And they have huge gifts. Like that became for me a kind of, it gave me pause more so than before, and that has stuck with me big time. And then that journey through the scriptures. And what does the research tell us about people's gift in this and how God has made people? How do you help people discover their gifts that has only fueled or maybe like prepared me to see people better and to see people more clearly for who God has made them to be. So it it's, I have not recovered from living with buzz yet. <Laugh> it still affects me.

Ryan Dunn (08:01):

We can all probably think of somebody who we relate to in the way that you initially related to buzz in our lives. Yeah. But a lot of times also we bring that kind of criticism to ourselves where we look at ourselves and think, God, I don't have any gifts. You know, I don't know what my place is. How might we begin to shift that self perception?

Don Everts (08:22):

Great question. You know, I really suffered from severe self hatred as a kid growing up, not just like low self-esteem at times or doubting myself, which are normal parts of, you know, coming of age and all that sort of thing. Pretty severe self hatred and believed some very dark things about, about myself and my own journey. Ryan was that like having a relationship with a live God, he just kept confronting that. Right. And his love for me and how he saw me and what his, his spirit, you know, you know, Paul says that the love of God is poured into our hearts through the gift of the holy spirit. And some of us like fend that off, like God is right. And he's just, and he loves the world, but not, not, not me. And so there's, for me, there's something about having a relationship with a living God and with his spirit that his love for me and what his scripture says about me.

Don Everts (09:22):

It just kind of kept chiseling away over the years. And so in a similar way, like some of us are quick to judge others and see them as like, you know, who, who are they? And some of us are quick to look in the mirror and say, ah, who, who is he? And so a beautiful heartbeat from the scriptures that says God has made every single human being fearfully and wonderfully as a gift to the people around them. And he's given them gifts to use for good in the world. That message. There's a lot of things that keep us from really believe believing that sometimes we have a hard time believing it about ourselves because of how we view ourselves. Sometimes we have a hard time believing it about others because we think they're jerks. And so we're like, well, you know, most people are fearfully and wonderfully made, but you know, I don't know about, you know, so it's kind of wonderful how the biblical message about creation.

Don Everts (10:16):

And I'm not even to talking about salvation yet. Right. Which is even more beautiful and more amazing. But like even just what the Bible tells us about that God created the heavens and the earth and God created human beings, fearfully and wonderfully. Just that reality. If we pay attention to it has the ability to like overcome our low self-esteem has the ability to help us overcome how we, you know, show partiality, which is the biblical language for thinking that some people are jerks and looking at people differently, the biblical language is like show no partiality. Don't look at some people differently than you look at other people don't, you know, and James is like, don't read a rich man this way and a poor man this way. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> it's cuz we look with partiality and if we could see with God's eyes and see the rich man and the poor man are both beautifully fearfully and wonderfully made, they both, they're both gifts with gifts to share, you know, especially in our divisive age and in an age when a lot of people struggle with anxiety or self-esteem stuff for me, it's kind of like this has been in our Bibles all along and like if we would pay more attention to this.

Don Everts (11:25):

And the only reason I did was cuz of research, I was a part of but, but if we would only pay attention to what is, is so clearly in the Bible and has been clearly passed down even through the confessions and creeds and if we would pay attention to it, it has this power to overcome a lot of divisiveness, a lot of our own ways that we see ourselves, not like God sees us.

Ryan Dunn (11:49):

Hmm. And tell me about this research. Were you trying to kind of overcome some cultural assumptions or what was driving that?

Don Everts (11:56):

Yeah, I, I mean, I didn't initiate the research project. I was a part of a team that was doing it. And so, so the idea was to do research about how do Christians and how do churches think about the people around them? How do they think about gifts in general? And so it, it was an innocent enough approach, right? Like how do Christians think about gifts and their own giftedness? How aware are they of their own giftedness? How, how do churches talk about gifts that people have? What do preachers and what do pastors say about people's gifts? And so it was a nationwide research pro project done between the Lutheran, our ministries organization and the Barna group. So nationwide, all demographics, all generations. And it was fascinating to take a look. I mean it taught us so many things. Gotta give you one little example.

Don Everts (12:50):

Yeah. So one little example, which we didn't expect to find, cuz I, every time you do research, you have hypotheses about what you're gonna find and you're a writer wrong or whatever. And then there's things that you're like, oh yeah, we didn't see that coming at all. So one of the questions that we would ask people is on a scale of zero to 10, how gifted would you say you are? And in the research, we, you know, we made it clear what we meant by gifted, right? The wonderful nerds at Barner are very good at made sure people understand the questions and one fascinating thing, you know, and it was interesting finding out, like for example, that the average Christian in the United States rates themselves in terms of their gift in this a little higher than the average non-Christian. Oh really?

Ryan Dunn (13:29):

Okay.

Don Everts (13:30):

Interesting. Just a little bit, but you know men tend to see, see themselves as more gifted than women. Okay. So all these are little data points that make you ask questions, but here's a really big one that we've found. There was a subgroup of people who put zero and it was a small enough group that we couldn't do like a way intense like mathematical breakdown. But we were able to analyze and say the people who, who think they have no gifts, right? So this is the no gift group. Like think about what, you know, what that would take for you to go zero to 10. How gifted am I? Zero. And then through other questions, because Barna asked a whole suite of questions so we can get to know people and all that. We found out that the one thing they had in common with each other, these kind of no gift people was how disconnected they were from people around them, including from churches. So, so these are people who they weren't connected to their neighbors. They didn't have a lot of friends and they weren't connected with a local church. That's interesting. Yeah. We can't prove causality. Do they not have of all these connections because of how they see themselves or is it the fact that they see themselves a certain way because they don't have these connections. So there were some fascinating connections between people wanting to discover their gifts interested in, even non-Christian saying I'd be willing to have a church help me discover my gifts. Isn't that fascinating.

Ryan Dunn (14:59):

Yeah.

Don Everts (15:00):

Of all the things that with distrust and how Christians don't wanna have anything to do with the church on this topic, they were like, I would be open like a significant, the majority of all non-Christians would be open to a church, helping them discover their giftedness. Yeah. So there's a huge hunger among people that we found to have help discovering their gifts, discovering how God has made them and, and, and then growing those and learning how to use them. So that's, that's a little bit, we can talk more about the research, but those are some of the initial like, huh, whoa. Kinds of things that we found.

Ryan Dunn (15:33):

Yeah. Well anecdotally and I think about my own life when I kind of made a turn towards a community of faith, I was just graduated from college and you know, had this degree and no job and going through that whole period of questioning like, oh man, have I just been, you know, a waste of resource and what am I doing now? And it was a faith community. It was my parents' church that said, Hey, what you have, we want, you know, you have some gifts. Yeah. Why don't you come and do some things with us? You know, just see what we can develop though. I was encouraged in that way. Are there ways then that, I guess looking from a personal standpoint that we cultivate a recognition of our own gifts.

Don Everts (16:15):

Yeah, absolutely. So one of the things that we found Ryan was that churches and pastors, when they're talking about gifts, they narrowly focus on spiritual gifts. Yeah.

Ryan Dunn (16:26):

Okay.

Don Everts (16:27):

And, and spiritual gifts are really important, right? I mean, Paul Paul was like, I don't, you shouldn't be uninformed. I want you to know about spiritual gifts. They, and you have 'em the holy spirit gives them two believers. So really, really, really, really important. But the Bible also teaches that God created all humans and made them fearfully and wonderfully and gave them what you could think of, not as spiritual gifts, but common gifts, common in the sense that like everyone has them, not just believers, right? Everyone has them or recreational gifts like everyone has those Christians have a harder time identifying those. So we actually develop a, a thing called the every gift inventory. So it's an inventory that people can take totally free that helps them hold up a mirror and kind of look at, and just through answering some different questions, we look at these 12 different gift types kind of creation gifts that people don't necessarily think about.

Don Everts (17:21):

Right. And so we're, we're talking about like certain technical gifts or interpersonal gifts, entrepreneurial gifts, financial gifts, critical thinking gifts, 12 different types. Kind of that based on research are part of the common gifts that everyone has has. And so an inventory is a way that people can discover more of their gifts. Community is a huge way that people discover their gifts. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> because often kinda like with you in that church, often the things we're gifted in come easier to us. And so we don't, we kind of take 'em for granted and we think, well, this is easy for everyone to do this. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> it must be like this for everyone. It takes other people around us to go, no, you don't understand. I hate doing that. Or like, I'm no good at that. When you do that, like the results are disproportionate.

Don Everts (18:08):

Like you, you, I think you have a gift in that. So community is a huge part of that, which is why this is a huge opportunity for churches and pastors, I believe. And, and then there's, you know, there's coaching and mentoring that people can pursue too. You know, there's like life coaches and career coaches. And so there are some ways like just through reading or interacting with people's specifically who know more about giftedness there's ways, obviously that that can help people discover gifts as well. But ever gift inventory is free. Having community in one sense is free, but you do have to let people know you <laugh> and get to know you more. And that's what we cover in the book as well is we kind of outline through different stories and through different examples, people can discover more of their gifts at how Christian leaders and how churches and small group leaders and friends can help others see their gifts too.

Don Everts (19:01):

And it's important to recognize not to harp on the research, but some people have a harder time discovering their gifts. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> the research tells us that women have a harder time discovering their gifts. And again, now why is that? Well, there are some fascinat that leads to some fascinating conversations. It, it is certainly not because they don't know how to discover their gifts and it's not because they don't have gifts. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, that's not the reason at all. So another thing generationally younger people <affirmative> are more interested in discovering their gifts on average than people in their older generations. And there's no easy explanation for that either, but it could be that like some people who are a little older in life, they maybe need a little more help, more help from their friends are being pushed by their friends. Like, have you even noticed this about yourself? What you're good at? So various ways that we can try to discover over time, some of the gifts God has given us, which is actually important because part of the biblical work we did tells us that God gave us gifts for this shocking reason. He wants us to use them <laugh> so it's kind of good to discover them.

Ryan Dunn (20:13):

Absolutely. In talking about the research you, you mentioned that you had kind of this sliding scale, one to 10, where people were, were rating themselves. Some people saying, Hey, I'm a zero, which is troubling to hear overall, how aware are it sounds like this, this focus group was Americans. So overall how a aware are, are Americans of their giftedness?

Don Everts (20:39):

Yeah, it, it varies. So it varies widely. I mean, the average is in the mid sixties in terms, you know, people kind of self-evaluating mm-hmm <affirmative> and, and, but the interesting thing too is we asked a lot of questions about how did you discover your gifts? Who has helped you work on them and develop them over time, et cetera. And, and we noticed some differences there too. Interestingly. So interestingly in the African American church, the findings are higher in terms of someone in my church, recognize my gifts. Mm. And, and encourage me in them and help me grow in them. So, so there are some different pockets. The higher someone goes in the educational system, the more likely it is that they've had other people point out their gifts and encourage them to grow in their gifts. Okay. So there's some variation, but one of the common themes is that people usually have help discovering their gifts and then nurturing those over time.

Don Everts (21:36):

So I would say there's a lot of room for improvement. Mm-Hmm, <affirmative>, <laugh> in terms of exploring our giftedness and in particular, in the church, that's one of the things that we found is that pastors and I, and I am a pastor, right. I can critique the Guild. Right. we, we, pastors tend to be a very focused on spiritual gifts and B very focused on people using whatever their gifts are for the ministries of the church. And so a broader view of people's gifted this, like what are, you know, entrepreneurial gifts, right. Non-Spiritual gifts. We just don't do as well at. And, and part of that leads to like a, I think, a incomplete understanding of vocation, how God calls us all the vocation, there's a richness there that we're missing. And then our focus and I get it. I get why we pastor are interested in people discovering their gifts and using them for the church.

Don Everts (22:33):

Like I get that, I understand that. And it's beautiful because the church is one of our vocations. Right. But it's not the only one. And so again, there's a lot we're missing there in terms of how can you use your gifts in your household? How can you use your gifts in your neighborhood, in the community that you're in? How can you use your gifts for society as a whole? And, you know, Christians already are kind of tempted to kind of be in a holy huddle. And, and so we kind of, we hoard our gifts even. And so, so there's, there's lots of different ways that the research revealed that we could be doing better or tapping more into our gifts, using them in more robust ways. And part of the side benefit of that is the more we're using our gifts as believers outside of the church, the more opportunity there is for building relationship with people who don't know the Lord. And that can only be good.

Ryan Dunn (23:30):

Yeah. For sure. You've made a delineate between spiritual gifts and yes. The kind of gifts that we're talking about. Yeah. Can you tell us about what the difference is?

Don Everts (23:41):

Yeah. So what the Bible teaches about common gifts is that God, in his creation, God only knows how to create well, right? And so God creates humans. Well, you know, it's like David, I I'm fearfully and wonderfully made that God creates people with dignity, right? So he creates them as gifts, but then he entrusts them with gifts. And so whether you think of it as temperament or some of the things are brought out in our environment, et cetera, but, but we all have gifts. Some people are more gifted, interpersonally. Some people are gifted when it comes to technical things. Some people are gifted when it comes to thinking about relationships and, and social interactions gotcha. Gives those to every single human being, every Buddhist, every Muslim on the face of this earth. And this is what our Bible tells us was created by God. And they were created as a gift with gifts to share.

Don Everts (24:38):

And so those are gifts that God gives to everyone. Now that the Bible, if you turn to the new Testament, when you have a redeemed people who are filled with a holy spirit, the spirit gives special empowerments to believers like spiritual gift of teaching or spiritual gift of faith or spiritual gifts of healing. Spiritual gifts of administration is one of the ones mentioned. So these are spiritual gifts that are special empowerments given by the holy. And Paul's pretty clear. God gives spiritual gifts to everyone and he apportions them as he will. He has, he has an idea of how to do that. So as believers, we're like doubly blessed <laugh> because we are created by God with certain common gifts. And then we have certain spiritual gifts given to us by the holy spirit, both are important. It's just that in the church, we tend to only focus on spiritual gifts.

Ryan Dunn (25:36):

Hmm. You've used the word vocation. That's a word that we often toss around kind of in church world, so to speak. Yes. I'm not sure. We always define it though. Is it what might be your working definition of vocation?

Don Everts (25:48):

Yeah. Wonderful. So my working definit, which I'm borrowing heavily from Martin Luther and other friends of mine from Luther. Now our ministries is your vocation are the different roles and relationships in your life that God has called you to. Okay. So don't think vocation equals job. And that can be a way the word vocation is used. Yes. The way I'm using it is in this broader way that we have vocation plural, because we have different roles and relationships that God calls us to. And he calls us to be faithful. You know, Paul's writing Corinthians. And he says, he, he says, I want everyone to, to be faithful in the life that I have assigned them and called them to, those are powerful verbs for Paul to, to assign them and call them to, but Paul's talking about like everyday things. So for example, any anyone, and, and in the book, we, we developed a vocational map to kind of help people kind of, well, what are my vocations?

Don Everts (26:47):

What are the different roles and relationships I'm in? And we kind of have four buckets. So I'm called to my family. So I have vocations in my family, being a dad is a vocation. How do I be faithful? How do I use my gift being a son? You know, being a, so those are important vocations for me, there's vocations in the church, right? Which not just pastors like me, have everyone has a vocation in the church, right? God wants to use you. You're a part of the body. We all have vocations at work, right. Or not everyone, not everyone has a job, but those of us who do, that's a vocation, and we need to be faithful on that. And then in those locations, in society, more generally, whether that's your neighborhood, your community, you know, working with an organization that cares for people in the community.

Don Everts (27:31):

So it's, those four buckets are just a way to help people kind of think through what are the different roles in relationships. And this is, you know, when Luther kind of helped everyone return, helped believers turn to the biblical teaching on vocation. It changed history. Remember, prior to that, there was kind of in the church, this sense of like, well, there's the spiritual cast priests and nuns and monks, et cetera, who have spiritual vocation. And then there's everyone else <affirmative> and we need milkmaids because we need milk. Mm. And, and we need postmen because we need the mail delivered, but it was kind of looked down on and it was Luther who said, let's return ad Funta to the, to the foundation. And, and let's read the Bible and what it has to say, that that God calls all of us to use our gifts in everyday life.

Don Everts (28:30):

And those are really important vocations. And it like brought, it brings dignity to us in our job, no matter what the job is, it's a vocation, and God can use you in, in that, in that place. God uses our vocations to help answer prayers for people. I mean, he works through us. Luther talked about our vocation were the mask of God. So like, someone may like, pray like, God, we just need, would you help feed us today? Well, he answers that prayer through a farmer, through a baker and through someone who donated bread, you know what I mean? Like all those vocations. So I've may given you more than you wanted Ryan, but it's that richer, biblical sense of vocation that I think is important because some people may say, oh, well, if vocation is just your job, or if vocation is just being a pastor in a church, how would my technical skills as a, you know, car mechanic? How would those be helpful? Yeah. Well, when you start looking at all these different vocations, boy, the, just the light bulbs start going off. And it, it becomes really

Ryan Dunn (29:34):

Powerful. Yeah. And so you can invest in, I guess, uncovering vocation without necessarily messing up your career track. It might, but <laugh>

Speaker 3 (29:43):

Yeah. You know? Yeah, that's right.

Don Everts (29:45):

That's totally right. That that's totally right. And it be, and that's why we have this map to kind of help people think through. And for me, Ryan personally, you know, to even like to return to buzz, right? Like buzz not only was a gift build the dignity <affirmative> he had gifts and God had given him humor and God had given him technical skills and God had given him social skills. And I write in the book about when we, like, we had this concert one day in my church for buzz. And, you know, at one point early on, I was embarrassed about buzz in my church, you know, like, oh yeah, that's my stepdad. And, you know, and then we got to a place where it was like he used to share gifts. And because he has these musical gifts and we had a big concert for him to be able to bless people using his gifts. And so it's just this huge reminder for me that all of us, none of us are created to just be recipients of other people's gifts to just be served by others. God gives us the dignity of purpose. And what a powerful thing to tap in the,

Ryan Dunn (30:50):

In talking about gifts, we've believed that we are created with gifts and there might be a mindset that then like, these are things that were given when we're born and they're, they're, imutable <laugh> in any way can, can gift speed developed. Yeah,

Don Everts (31:05):

Absolutely. That's another thing we found in our research was maybe there's a seed or a kernel or a proclivity or, or a temperament or whatever that God has put into us, but it needs to be cultivated. It needs to be grown. It needs to be exercised. I mean, there's the rare people who are like born, I don't know, able to play piano or whatever, but yeah. You know, ordinarily we have we're, we're given these gifts and then, you know, God calls us to like, we use them and we develop them and we nurture them. I mean, the idea of a mentoring relationship, where we are like iron sharpening iron, where we're trying to help each other grow and develop each other's gifts. We see examples of that all throughout the scripture, you know, these, these kind of mentoring relationships, it's not just mentor about like, like a discipleship relationship.

Don Everts (31:50):

That's about, I wanna help you grow in your faith or with sin management or whatever. But in the scripture, we also see these mentoring throughout the scripture is always part like living life, but then also part vocation and having someone else like model and help us grow in our gear gifts. And the really cool thing is the church is like a perfect place for that one. One of the things our research showed us is that people are very open to having not only discover gifts, but finding a place where those gifts will be mentored and developed. And you know, there's no pill you take that happens as we use them. And as people give us feedback and as we, I knew things and as we <inaudible> and go, oh, because my job I'd only done this kind of stuff. But then in my church, this whole area, and it turns out, you know, over here, I'm, I'm a milkman, but it turns out I have all these gifts. As a, as a teacher in my church, I was mentored by an older teacher and he developed me. So growing our gifts, I think is something God expects us to do. And he's excited about it. And that developmental outlook on life, like I all always wanna be growing, always want to be seeing new things. Lifelong learner is just healthy and is something actually, people are hungry.

Ryan Dunn (33:07):

Don, your book is developing your gifts. And what's your hope for the reader in writing that book?

Don Everts (33:12):

You know, the, the hope for the reader is that they encounter the biblical teaching about how God sees people and, and, and the researcher helps us see that, right? I mean, the research helps us go, oh, oh, you know, we don't all see ourselves that way. Or I don't see myself that way. So my deepest hope is that people now do a double take when they look in the mirror or they do a double take when they look at other people. And, and in the book, we, we, I outline about 12 beautiful implications of the biblical material. And some of it has to do with like, having a healthier sense of self-esteem. Some of it has to do with like helping us see people better and having less divisiveness, because I'm actually getting the habit of seeing people as gifts. And some of it has to do with like using our gifts and, and our churches having connections to their community and having a new way of interacting with people.

Don Everts (34:06):

So there's a lot of beautiful implications, but most of it starts brother, as, as people through the book are just kind of brought face to face with what does the scripture say about God as a creator and how he has created people. And we tend to read over, you know, take the a is creed, you know, the first article of the apostles creed, I believe in God, the father almighty maker of heaven and earth. And usually we blow right by that. We say that in one breath, and then we're onto Jesus and the spirit in the church and all the other things, just for people to pause in the first article doctrines that we have in the scripture about God as a creator. I think that Ryan is like an amazing epic in history, socially and personally for people to return to those first article truths. And I, I think it has the opportunity to help heal us more and to help give us empower us more and help us regain trust as believers with our society. So that's my hope.

Ryan Dunn (35:10):

<Laugh> well, thanks for sharing that with us. Thanks for sharing the book with us too. It's very readable.

Don Everts (35:14):

Absolutely appreci it.

Ryan Dunn (35:15):

Appreciate it. Appreciate your time.

Don Everts (35:17):

Thanks for talking with me, Ryan.

Ryan Dunn (35:19):

Again, Reverend Don Evert's book is Discovering Your Gifts. That was an uplifting conversation. Wasn't it? You can learn more about compass and check out other episodes, atc.org/compass. Some episodes you might appreciate include fierce love with Jacqui Lewis. And we got into self care and healthy perspective development in that episode. Also disrupting trends of loneliness with Luke Edwards is another episode that might help you push towards seeing the true gift that you are.

I'm so glad to have this time with you. Again, my name is Ryan dun purest strike is in the middle of a job change and move and hopes to be back on the next episode I give thanks to United Methodist communications for resourcing this podcast, and as always, thanks to re Gaines for editing. I'll talk to you soon. Peace.