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A few years ago, I had the privilege of sitting in an important meeting of our national leaders, district leaders and other key members of our movement. NextGen representatives, missions representatives, district administrators, supervisors, pastors and NCO staff were all allowed to discuss topics that generally might not be in their areas of oversight. The term used at this meeting was “seeing through everyone’s lenses.” This was a very big deal to me, and it stuck.

I was reminded of the last time I needed new glasses. The optometrist checked different lenses to see which were the best fit. I heard over and over again: “This one? Or this one?” And then it hit me: I wasn’t the one writing the prescription, but my opinion mattered to the one who was.

I couldn’t have written my prescription, but, without me, the doctor couldn’t have written a correct one. We needed each other. As a primary leader in a thriving ministry, I was challenged to begin to take stock of my “prescription writing.”

First Cor. 12 has a great deal to say about the gifts, talents and abilities of others. In verses 4-6, Paul wrote: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us” (NLT). Paul acknowledged that all are valued, all are accepted, and all are crucial to the operation of the body.

I was great at articulating vision and getting others to see things my way. But God was calling me to begin appreciating the input from people with diverse gifts. My role was to incorporate the various “lenses” so that we all might see Christ better and become better at presenting Him to others.

As I began to celebrate the diversity of all those who are different from me, I saw far more clearly than ever before. The ministry and my role in it took on a whole new meaning. But it didn’t stop there.

As I strived to see the diversity in the gifts, I began to see the beauty of the view through others’ lenses. People from other generations, ethnicities and genders—even people who are broken and lost—all view life through lenses that can enlighten our thinking, our ways of doing things.

Layers of lenses give better sight; layers of diversity give better insight. Seeing the gospel through the lenses of the nations, the generations, men, women, the lost, the learning and the leading is absolutely essential if we are to write an accurate “prescription” that will enable people to have a clear view of Christ.

By the way, I’ve got a great pair of glasses now. Sometimes they give me a slight headache, but I can see things that I never knew were there. I hope the same thing happens to us all.

How You Can Pray

Do you welcome the insight of others for your ministry? Ask God to give you opportunities to share and to hear from others, and to provide wisdom through the exchange of opinions and ideas.

Praying with us? Include what you are praying for in a comment below.

is NextGen pastor at New Life (Canby Foursquare Church) in Canby, Ore.