OneThing: Comparison is a killer

In our OneThing series, members of the Advance network share their top tip for sharing the gospel. Sarah Hockley shares.

One thing I wish I knew when I started preaching the gospel…

…is that comparison can be a ministry killer.

I really began to take preaching the gospel seriously while working for an amazing organisation filled with incredible gifted and talented people. I remember thinking at the time how it was such an honour just to be serving alongside so many incredible people. They were seasoned pros in my eyes, amazing communicators and just generally brilliant evangelists all round! I felt that when I was next to them I was such an underdog and nowhere near good enough for the task when compared to them. There were so many different types of communicator represented: the deep Bible teacher, the storyteller and the comedian to name a few, and they always had amazing stories of lives being transformed through the gospel. So, inspired yet fearful of my ability, I thought that I would try and be like one of the preachers I worked with. So I gave it a go, and in one talk I tried to tell true stories that echoed the message of the gospel, in another talked I tried really hard to make people laugh. But it never felt right, it was awkward and uncomfortable, I was trying to be someone I’m not. The reality is I need to be who God has created me to be, and crucially, to seek to be more like Jesus every day – on stage and off.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law… Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other… – Galatians 5:16-18

I never needed to fear my ability because, having called me to preach the gospel, God has and will continue to give me all that I need to continue to share his amazing love. I continue to be inspired by others but instead of desperately trying to emulate their style (and envy their gifting and success), I now stand affirmed in the gifting and character God has given me for the purpose of preaching the gospel. Now I have a better understanding of what my gifts are, and even though I can tell a story or make a joke as part of a talk, I don’t need to rely on those aspects of communication, or attempt to be someone I’m not to see the gospel work. I know that God has called me to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ with the gifts, skills and personality he has blessed me with, and to trust in his power alone to bring salvation to those who hear.

Sarah Hockley is one of the course leaders for The Message Academy, a missional training gap year from The Message Trust, and is also part of the development team for the Higher Tour, a huge missional outreach to young people across the UK.