On Saturday at 7:30 a.m., the last day of The Gospel Coalition’s 2022 Women’s Conference, I sat at a table with some ladies I’d just met. We and the women surrounding us had decided to forgo extra sleep to cram an auxiliary session into our already-packed schedules because we had something in common. We were creative types—artists, poets, musicians, writers—who desired to use our gifts for the kingdom.
In our culture, the path to success for creatives so often seems to be building a platform, amassing followers, and finding a way to monetize content creation. And there’s a place for that.
But as I listened to the panelists share ideas about the topic “Create for God’s Glory and the Common Good,” something one speaker shared stood out to me. She didn’t write until a woman in her local church asked her to. Then as she began writing, and later interviewing people on a podcast, her creative gifts emerged.
Huh, that’s interesting, I thought. The local church.
Sharing My Story
My story is a little different, but it also began in the local church. God had ministered to me through his Word in a difficult season of motherhood, and my senior pastor’s wife asked if I’d consider talking to some of the other moms in my church about trusting God in trials. I later turned that message—birthed with agonizing tears as I relived the painful parts of my story and recalled God’s faithfulness—into an article about suffering in motherhood.
My burden for women walking hard roads related to motherhood had extended from my local church to the broader church, and along the way, the Lord allowed me to hone a writing gift. That combination resulted in my new book, God Is Still Good: Gospel Hope and Comfort for the Unexpected Sorrows of Motherhood, which many people prayed for—including several friends in my local church.
It’s About Stewardship
We don’t necessarily need a platform to use our gifts for the kingdom.
Do you remember the parable of the talents? Jesus told the story of a rich man who left his servants in charge while he traveled. He gave five talents to one, two talents to another, and one to the third. His first two servants invested their talents so that their amounts doubled, but the third servant hid his. When the master returned, he praised his first two servants saying to each of them, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21, 23). But he rebuked the third servant.
A couple of years ago, I remember thinking, Even if I’m just a one- or two-talent writer, this is about stewardship. I didn’t want to be like the servant who hid his talent. Jesus said, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48). But even if we’ve only been given a little, we ought to be “faithful in a very little” (Luke 16:10) and invest our gifts in what will last.
What will last? Well, for one thing, the church. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The world as we know it will pass away, but one day we will “rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).
Stepping out to share my story and open God’s Word with moms in my church did more than encourage me to use my gifts. It affected those sisters, and I witnessed the Lord encourage their hearts and grow their faith. Even if that experience hadn’t led me to write a book, it would’ve been worthwhile because it bore spiritual fruit. When we invest our gifts in our churches, we devote ourselves to what will last.
Serve Your Church Family
So if you have gifts or abilities you want to hone and share with others, you don’t have to start by trying to build a social media platform. Explore using your gifts in your church first.
When we invest our gifts in our churches, we devote ourselves to what will last.
Let your Christian brothers and sisters help you discern if it’s a good time to employ a gift or seek to use it on a broader scale. And listen when they tell you to reserve some of your best time, energy, and resources for your own people in real time.
As the Lord reminded me at the conference, we don’t necessarily need a platform to use our gifts for the kingdom. We can start by serving our church families, see what God does, and go from there.
Read more from Katie Faris in her new book, God Is Still Good: Gospel Hope and Comfort for the Unexpected Sorrows of Motherhood (TGC/Crossway, January 2023).