How far can words of encouragement take you? What can true engagement mean in your life? The truth is, both encouragement and engagement can change a person’s life.
Chae Mims was a law student clerking for the Georgia Supreme Court when a review completed by a staff attorney radically changed the way she viewed herself and her capabilities. Chae was in her late twenties when she heard God tell her to go to law school. She already had a degree in international relations, but was not working in her field. In fact, she had worked in two very different positions that had nothing to do with her degree, but was listening to God and working where she felt that He placed her. She was at a conference for work when she heard a speaker talk about practicing law. It was during that speech that God told her that she would practice law as well. Chae did not question this but took the steps necessary to enroll in law school.
What Chae did question was herself. Chae spent her early childhood in Korea and moved with her family to the Johns Creek area when she was in elementary school. She grew up in an exclusively Korean environment until she went to college. Due to both her culture and her upbringing, Chae was raised with a strong sense of deference and humility. She describes it this way: “For some Koreans, this culture and upbringing can result in a default to dismiss yourself – a default of false humility, a default of not being confident.”
This upbringing has informed Chae’s life. She has consistently and continuously obeyed the call of God. When she was in college she felt that there was more to experience outside of her Korean community. Her search led her to investigate other Korean and American churches and, eventually, she found her way to Victory. “In my spirit, I felt such a ‘yes’ and I knew that [Victory] was where I needed to be.”
Chae got plugged in to the Fusion Young Adult Ministry right away, joining a small group. Eventually, she was asked to become a small group leader herself. Although she had never seen herself as a leader she said yes, but not without initially dismissing herself. In fact, it was her hunger for God and His community that allowed her to accept the opportunity. She felt encouraged that someone else saw more inside of her. Chae says, “It is helpful when someone in a leadership role can spot other people and invite them to lead.”
Chae believes it is important to be present in the moment. By being present, you open yourself up to opportunities to lead. This is how Chae came to create and then lead the Korean Translation Ministry at Victory. She saw a need and spoke with the Guest Experience Department about offering Korean translation. She was empowered to move forward and Chae began recruiting volunteers. Within a year, the ministry was serving the church’s Korean community. Chae believes that it was a combination of her availability, gifting, and her willingness that allowed her to lead.
Serving at church helped Chae to think about the bigger picture. She learned how to think of the Body—not the individual. Chae has benefited from serving in church, and those benefits translate to the marketplace. Leadership in the church taught her to become a servant leader. In the marketplace, many people are shocked at the things that she is willing to do even though she is an attorney. She engages with her coworkers, regardless of their job title or their position.
Being task-oriented by nature, Chae has to be intentional about making herself available and engaging those around her. “The important thing,” she says, “is not your title or your platform; it’s whether or not you are a servant. Are you loving people around you in the capacity that you have?” On the flipside, the skills that you employ in your job can be useful when you are leading in the church.
If you would like to lead, it’s important to be a good steward. According to Chae, we should all strive to be good, wise, and responsible stewards of the moment. Are you available? Are you present? By being a good steward in the moment, you will be able to see things that you otherwise wouldn’t see—to lend a hand and help somebody. By being present, you make yourself available to do things that the Holy Spirit leads you to do—things you might have missed otherwise. Being a good steward, even when you are not serving or leading, sets you up to serve when it is time.
Chae has made great strides and grown on her leadership journey. So, what was in that review that changed her life; that allowed her to overcome the default humility? In a few words, it was this: “Chae is good at what she does. She just needs to believe in herself.”
This review helped Chae to understand that she has what it takes. God is the One who placed her in that place. She learned that she doesn’t have to say no or to say yes with a disclaimer when an opportunity arises. Chae is able to pass that knowledge along to those she encounters who are also looking to model Christ-led leadership.