Hey! My name is Mary Ann but, like most of us, I come with many other names. I’m a wife, a sister, a mom, a daughter, a dog-lover, chainsaw enthusiast, chocolate (dark of course) partaker, travel dreamer, foodie and the one who cooks the food, cheerleader for the local church and a ninja when it comes to coaching leaders.
My passion is seeing people win! From competing in sports to games at home to achieving a goal, there is something about cheering the team, the person who has trained, studied and put in the time and wins. I love the stories on America’s Got Talent, the Olympics and in our own communities, about the one who everyone else rejected, marginalized, counted out or not even considered, perseveres, shows up for their passion and win. You will find me jumping up and cheering every time!
I especially love seeing people win in the small, daily wins. Where God amplifies his grace in the people he loves. When God’s ridiculous generosity is displayed through a smile, a fist bump, a colorful kid bandage or an opportunity to pray for someone. Winning is my favorite!
I guess you can say that winning can be traced, in part, to living in the “as is” bin, a half-breed, a label which came from “church people.”
I love seeing people win because I know what it feels like to lose.
After forty years, I met Jesus and I know that the best wins are in and through the local church!
And it was there where I discovered my purpose and passion; helping the local church build a volunteer ministry that disciples one another – to take what we do and learn on Sunday into the world Monday through Saturday. But here’s the thing about finding and maintaining a passion for anything. It takes time. It takes many defeats. And it requires taking risks.
I had no idea that today, I would spend my days thinking, reading, brainstorming and talking all things about God and his people. I knew I was good as building “things” or departments or people but it was always in the realm of profitability.
All I knew was that there was a goal to be met. For example, turn around a losing portfolio from 80% of the customers paying late over 180 days to 90% paying within 30 days. Or, develop a U.S. accounting department that would enable monthly financial reports to the president within the first ten days of the month. Seems daunting when I write it out even now, but it all came down to people.
Who was in their lane doing what they were best at doing? And did they know it?
What kind of clarity with boundaries and consequences were in place or not? And did everyone know them?
God was training me. Building up my relationship muscles to eventually engage people in the local church to point them to Jesus.
I did not grow up or attend church until I was invited for the first time when I was 40 years old! I know, right? But when I met Jesus, I realized I was put on this planet to point people to Jesus. And all I knew was I could do this through serving Him.
The biggest challenge for me was learning to get out of the way and really, really, (I’m not kidding – really!) relinquish control. Once I surrendered to the reality that it’s not about me, God swooped in to grow the ministry, not only in numbers but in the depth of the volunteer’s love to know God better and to carry that love into our neighborhoods, workplaces, groceries stores and families.
If you are sitting there, wondering how to discover or even put feet on your passion and purpose, the best advice I could give you is to have a deep, vulnerable talk with God and with someone who loves God. Spend time in the bible to seek God, not for what you think you want or need, just to know Him better. Then be willing to ask one or two people what they see in you.
I actually did that. I built an inner circle of advisors to keep me accountable, pray for me and share the vision of the ministry. They called themselves The Justice League. We had Wonder Woman, she asked ALL the good questions, aka: “I wonder….” ☺ There was the Batman, quiet and 20 years younger than me. The Flash was always first to our monthly meetings and Aquaman, being bald and proud of it, claimed the flowing hair of this hero.
When I got really stuck, I directed The Justice League to come prepared for our next meeting to answer two questions.
What am I doing that I should do more of – what am I best at?
What am I doing that I should stop doing – where am I getting in the way?
Breakfast was ordered, I got out my notebook, a pen and said, “Go!”.
I had forgotten what good I was doing. I was tired, burned out, believing the lie that I was not good at anything anymore. They encouraged and surprised me. And they were all on the same page with my strengths and gifts.
And I didn’t get defensive about questions number two. Trust me, I had all the thoughts and explanations but I kept silent and took notes.
Years later, what a joy that I get to encourage and cheer church leaders to get healthy in order to build healthy volunteers teams – just as the Justice League described. I get to walk beside leaders, in their environment, and be the fresh eyes with hard fought battles of my own and see them WIN for the Kingdom. What an honor.
Ministry is hard enough and the enemy is on mission to get us off our game. He is lulling us into accepting “good enough” and compromising the rich reward of reaching people or perhaps to simply burn us out doing the good work we are called to do.
We are called to be in unity and community and I’m passionate to help make Sunday the easiest day of your week!
You can do it and I’m cheering you on! Mary Ann
If you'd like to share your story about living on purpose or learn more about how I can help you live a life full of Passion & Purpose you can find me at www.pathwaycoaching.net When you visit, make sure to schedule a complimentary discovery session!