Everybody’s Got Something to Offer

By Deacon Sunni Richardson, Director for Leadership Development

One of my favorite Dakota Road Music songs is “Everybody’s Got Something to Offer”. It is so Lutheran and brings to life Martin Luther’s doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Luther did not actually use the term “priesthood of all believers”, but he was a strong advocate for the priesthood, that’s us, to assume responsibility for joining in the work of ministering to and with others.

Dakota Road Music is providing our music for Synod Assembly 2022. Let’s hope this song is on their playlist. The song, by Larry Olson, has an easy-to-catch, lively tune that sticks in your head which is a very good thing. The song invites us all to use our gifts, our God-given gifts, and it sends an “everybody with no exceptions” message.

People are quick to offer excuses and we are quick to accept. You’ve heard them, in fact, you have probably used a few of them. “I’m too old”, “I am not old enough”, “I don’t know how to do that”,”‘that’s not my gift”, “someone else could do it better”,”‘I’ve taken my turn” or (add your own here).  Sometimes we need to say no to an invitation and our reasons need to be honored. Other times our replies are simply excuses grounded in fear, a need for training, or a lack of confidence.

What we offer may change due to age, schedules, health, learning opportunities, and interest. Standing on a ladder to clean the top of the kitchen cupboards or hanging the Christmas lights may not be a good option for a 90-year-old or someone with bad knees. A five-year-old in the busy kitchen may not be safe but they can help set the tables and are great name tag makers. Assisting ministers may be a faithful way for some to serve while others may be called to serve by preparing for holy communion and baptisms in the sacristy.

Dreamers, detail planners, and worker bees are all needed. Teams always work better than solo assignments because you can tap the gifts and resources of others and share the workload. When working on a project/program/ministry start by naming who needs to be at the table. What gifts and expertise are required to make this idea come to life?

Serving in the church means getting the job done but it also means growing as a disciple. Too often we focus on the task and neglect the opportunity for faith-filled conversation, prayer and learning. Emmaus: Lifelong Learning offers a variety of courses to support theological learning, faith formation, spiritual formation, and practical congregation how-to lessons. Synod staff people are curators of resources with network connections and expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and training to help you grow.

Everybody’s got something to offer in the name of the Lord. Sing it. Do it. Live it.

You can find lyrics and recording for “Everybody’s Got Something to Offer”on the “All Are Welcome” album at at Dakota Road Music’s web site.