Posts Tagged ‘you have not because you ask not’

There’s a verse in the Bible that says “you have not, because you ask not…” Now there is more to the verse, and the context is a little different, but for people in the church who want to serve, especially if your gift or talent is somewhat different from the usual “offerings,” asking is a huge part of the equation.

Think about it. There are some things every church knows they’re going to need, and filling those roles will always be first and foremost on the minds of the leadership. If you have something different to offer, it might not even be on their radar, especially if your gift would be something completely new. If you wait to be asked, barring divine intervention, the invite is not likely to come. Instead, you’re going to have to be the one to walk up to your church leadership and say, “Hey, what if we tried…?”

Now if this is the case, and it is, how you ask is going to be critical. The leadership person in question is not likely to know what to do with your idea. For this reason, you can’t give them a half-formed, half-baked idea. The more you have worked out in advance of the ask, the better. Going to the leadership with a complete, well thought out idea will make things a lot easier on both of you. Do your homework.

How much will it cost? This is going to be a question in nearly every church, because we all have budgets to deal with. The more inexpensive initially, the better. In the ideal world, low risk, high reward projects are the most likely to get the “green light.” Build your idea for growth where possible, realizing that success brings investment. How can you get the best bang for your buck.

Be humble. The leader in question may have a lot of questions. This should be understandable. Their credibility is on the line and in ministry credibility is huge. They may suggest changes. They may give you reasons why your idea won’t fit at the present time. They may have a similar but smaller way to try your idea. Accept these and go back to the drawing board. One of the things that is crucial in using our gifts to serve is coming under authority. Many people don’t do that well, but we all answer to someone.

Be faithful. When you get the go ahead, bring your best work to the table, deliver on time. Demonstrating faithfulness is a big part of this that cannot be overlooked. There was a reason Jesus, in the parable of the talents said “you have been faithful in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things.”

Be flexible. Very rarely in life do we get everything we asked for all the time. Be grateful for what you get and move forward, even if you didn’t get everything you wanted.

One day, hopefully your dream and your vision will be fully realized, but it usually, it all starts with “the ask.”

There is another way to learn technique and it’s really simple, as long as the artist you admire is still among the living… Just ask. I know artists have a reputation and lets not kid ourselves, there are a few who work hard at earning it, but the majority of us are pretty nice, humble people who don’t mind sharing a tip or a trick here or there.

In the internet age, most artists have websites and most of them can be contacted at least via email. When you contact them, ask your question intelligently, professionally and respectfully/ Don’t harrass the artist. Realize he or she is probably quite busy and wait patiently. Remember, for the most part you’re not the only one who likes his or her work and as such he or she probably has quite a few demands on his or her time.

When you hear back, follow-up questions are okay, but don’t misuse the privilege by bombarding them. Get permission before you publish the response, etc. Be professional and respectful. The most valuable thing any of us have, aside from our relationship with God, is our time. When someone shares his or her time with you, it is a blessing to be handled with care.

Usually the best way to learn something is to ask a question. The Bible says “You have not because you ask not” and while I know that passage in context applies to prayer and asking God, I happen to also believe it works with other people. People don’t know you have a need until you express it. So ask, what’s the worst that can happen? They ignore you and you keep striving until you learn it for yourself. That’s what’s going to happen if you don’t ask anyway, right?

Just ask. You never know what will happen!

By the way, this also applies to me, so if you have a question for me, just ask. You can reach me here or in the comments.