Remember Why You Do What You Do

Remember Why You Do What You Do


Note: Hi Friends! I’m still on vacation (back next week!). I asked a couple of friends to write for me while I’m gone. This week you’ll be hearing from T.J. Putman, the Executive Director of Interfaith Hospitality Network in Salem, Oregon. He understands how important it is to know what your vision is and how to spread it.
-  Cesie

Remember Why You Do What You Do

T.J. Putman

Do you remember what it was like when you felt called to a life of ministry?

I’ll never forget the feeling when God called me to a life of service. I was on a short-term house building mission trip with my church youth group. Our team was completely exhausted after a week of sleeping in a tent, more dirt than you can imagine, bucket showers, and house building.  We were in prayer as we looked at the most beautiful, picturesque sunset over the lake. I don’t think I’ve ever felt closer to God or been more assured of the call for my life. 

Then I got home.

I shared this revelation, this “call,” with my parents and girlfriend and for a moment it felt like I had horns growing out of my head. (It didn’t fit with my degree in business or dreams to work in finance.) Thankfully, I had a different response when I shared it with my church, my friends, and the organization that helped me discern the call.

Within two weeks, I was able to raise my first year of support. It seemed that the call to ministry was the right call after all.

I’ve had the opportunity to raise support through multiple positions either through my life as a missionary in Mexico, through my time with Young Life, or my time working as Director of Interfaith Hospitality Network.  Financially, there were times that were pretty lean and others that were more fruitful.

My discovery was that the mission didn’t go away when times were lean, I just wasn’t sharing it. I was either too busy, sucked into the day-to-day of ministry or painfully uninspired. 
Fortunately, once I shared the mission, money followed.

Here are three important things I learned:

Have a vision. What’s your vision?  Is it shared in your newsletters?  In conversations when you meet with members in your congregation or organization?  We get so busy running the day-to-day in church and in our organizations, that we miss out on the exciting ministry we’re called to be a part of. You have to keep vision at the forefront. 

Make the meeting. Most of us need our morning coffee and need to eat lunch. What a great opportunity to invite a member or organizational partner to go with you. Share what can be accomplished! How are you making a difference, growing, moving or building?  It’s okay to be honest about why you’re meeting, “I would love a time to talk specifically about the vision of the church and what that looks like in the year. I want to see what you think and how we can make it a reality.” 
Evaluate your progress.  One way is to look back on a month and see how many appointments (face to face) with your members have actually come to fruition. When you have the meeting, you should have materials ready that support the vision. I’ll be the first to tell you that I have scheduled meetings, shared a great cup of coffee or lunch, and didn’t make “the ask.”  It happens. But all was not lost. A good appointment can be defined as going over your understanding of God’s call and inviting the person to join in that call. There doesn’t always have to be a financial ask. God builds through our time, talents and treasure.
What can you do tomorrow?
  • Develop materials to help communicate the vision. It can be done by someone from your congregation or do it online. I recently spent $20 and used to produce a quick whiteboard video that tells a little about my current ministry at Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network. It’s a tad cheesy and in draft form but you can view it right here.
  • Schedule a meeting with someone next week. It could be anything – a lunch, a walk, a coffee talk. Plan ahead!
  • Who can you remember from your past to say hello to, thank, or re-connect with? People you know can easily get lost in the noise and chaos of our world. People want to be a part of what’s happening at the church or in your organization. Make a list and reach out to these people.
So, I do remember what it was like when I felt called to a life of ministry. And, I work to keep that call at the forefront of my life. May the vision you have for your ministry continue to propel you to do great things in your community as well.
T.J. Putman is the Executive Director of Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network, a faith-based emergency shelter program for homeless families with children. Salem IHN is comprised of 36 congregations and leads the Salem area in volunteerism and various initiatives around homelessness. T.J. has 17 years of non-profit experience with both church and para-church organizations. In that time, he has helped over 1,500 families move into homes.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at or on Facebook at
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann

Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.

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