What’s in a Name? A lot! A name sets the tone for who we are and what we do. We are called by our name multiple times each day. What’s your name and what does it have to do with your calling?
In July 1983, God called me as a missionary and a minister of the gospel at a summer camp near Everett, Washington. It was during an evening chapel service at a Church Camp called Cedar Springs. The speaker called those kids who felt God’s call into missions to go to the front of the chapel. God spoke to me then that I was ‘called to be a missionary, but a different type of missionary’. So he made it clear to me that I wasn’t supposed to go forward.
What did that ‘different type of missionary’ mean? Although I wanted to go right to Bible school after college, I knew that he really wanted me to go to a secular University. So I went to the University of Washington in Seattle and graduated in 1990. After graduation, I went immediately to Japan. Literally, the next day. I did my initial Bible schooling through a combination of Assemblies of God coursework and Rhema Bible Training center teacher Bob Yandian.
As I look back at how God has led me I have found that He knew exactly what my gifting and my talents were back on that day in 1983. He knew how I could be more effective as a minister and that by 2001 (when I went in to ministry full-time) that I could minister to everyone from beggar to business professional. God knew that traditional missionaries and ministers are sometimes limited to certain social classes of people, but that by the year 2000 we would need people who minister to and encourage people in business, entrepreneurs and community leaders that are usually neglected by missionaries for the financially struggling.
On a Saturday (February 17, 2007) I was praying in my church as I was preparing to minister on Sunday. God spoke to me, that He was going to answer my prayer to make a bigger mark on this world for Him. To be a history-maker, a dispenser of the love and the joy inexpressible that He has for everyone who will accept and also learn to walk in His power and authority that He has for them. He spoke that as I was to call myself Spencer as a reminder of how He wanted me to be a blessing to those around me and help them to stand up and receive what He has for them.
I have to admit that I was a bit shy about any changes to my name. Afterall, my name had been with me for almost 40 years at the time. I tried to push the whole idea under the carpet. But on another Saturday in October God reminded me of what I was supposed to do. So that next day (Sunday) I shared the vision with my church family. Everyone at Victory was excited to hear about God’s plan for me, but also that God had a plan for them as well. Of course, we’ve got to remember that all our plans vary for each person based on our gifts and callings.
As I began to do what He said and act on His promise to me, I see God’s vision manifesting for me. Opportunities began to open up to reach more people as I had acted on God’s word. TV companies calling, people stopping me on the street saying “hey, are you that guy?”. God has called us here to make a difference. Not to be the same thing. As Spencer Patrick, I am so proud to be a child of our Father God. Every time I hear my name, I am reminded of His goodness, His plan, and His purpose for me. Spencer means ‘distributor’ or ‘dispenser of the provisions’. Patrick means ‘noble one’ related to the patrician class of nobility in the Roman empire. It is clear God sees me as His distributor of
-the power of the Holy Spirit
-the message of how to enter in abundant life He promised in John 10:10
-the love to the lost and dying of our nation and any nation we minister in
-the hope that only came come through Jesus our Messiah
What’s in a name? A lot, and every time you hear your name, let it be a reminder of God’s plan for you, His plan to prosper you, His plan to give you hope and a future that will not end until you decide you are ready to go home and be with Him.
I am going long, and I am going strong! What about you? God is AWESOME!